Keeping the school eco friendly is sometimes a battle

Finally after 7 and a half  years, one class room at a time!,  in August the Eco-Friendly Milgis Nursery and Primary School will be completed!!.. Its been a loooong road of ups and downs including many wild discussions with the local people at Ilgwe Eldome, who sometimes did not agree to the Eco -friendly side!!  But after all the Milgis’ approach resided and a beautiful show piece of a School, that is as natural as possible will be ready in August!!   We  gratefully THANK all the people ( mentioned below) who have helped us along the way, and now in its final stages, to VOSS foundation, and the Bergum family from Norway who have in memory of their Daughter Lene Maria, funded the last classroom, teachers house, revamped the water system, and given us enough funds to really make the school smart!!..

The roof taken off the Nursary school, because the termites had unfortunately done too much damage

The roof taken off the Nursary school, because the termites had unfortunately done too much damage

 

 

The roof going on to the Nursary school

The roof going on to the Nursary school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately here our enemy was the termite.. They silently climbed up into the roof of the Nursery school, and made a serious dent before it was picked up.. maybe the kids were making so much noise nobody heard them eating away!!.. Actually I think it was unfortunately the teachers who also were trying to prove a point that corrugated Iron was the right thing!! We have now employed a young man who’s duty is to make sure this does not happen again!

All the class rooms will have nice crazy paving natural flat stone floors, and new wire mess on the windows..

All the class rooms will  now have flat stone floors

All the class rooms will now have flat stone floors

All the class rooms will be fitted with this new netting to break the wind abit..

All the class rooms will be fitted with this new netting to break the wind a bit..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had many  meetings to discuss things in detail and to explain the good and the bad of doing things the Eco way…  Some were very heated, with an ultimatum, if you want to go the NON-ECO friendly way then do not ask the Milgis for help any more.. Considering the difficult and humble beginnings of this school, I don’t think they wanted that option!, plus most of the people who have given funds to build the school are Wild Frontiers safari guests, and they certainly would not want to be part of ruining this beautiful remote part of Kenya, with blocks, and corrugated Iron!..  Most importantly if the the school is built in local materials then the community would benefit..  They could collect the posts from the Luggas, the flat stones from the hills, make the Makuti( palm Thatch) etc etc..The biggest issue was the roofs.. They wanted corrugated Iron sheets instead of Makuti.. We just could not make head or tail of their thoughts here.. They have not what we have done to our world, but we have… including  all the children trying to study in boiling hot class rooms, all shinning so bright it blinds them as they walk to school.. PLUS we get very high winds here and the danger of Iron sheets (mabati) flying across the school compound is a night mare senario.. To me the only advantage was that the mabati  would catch water, but it hardly ever rains there and when it does its minimal!.. Also they are getting water from the well piped to the school!..  ANYWAY You can see we HAVE OUR WAY and the school work is racing along!! Although i have had to make a promise to the community that we will help them with the maintenance, over the years.. TAKE NOTE TRUSTEES!!, just in case I’m not around to keep this promise!..

A huge huge THANK YOU to all the people below for your support to the Milgis Trust School since the beginning!

Sue Jones and Quintin Wyvernbat for getting it started in 2007

Susanne Garrison,  Richard Clise and Wanaduma childrens project

Toto Trust, Maeve Murray Smith, Jonathan and Gillian Knowles

Franzi Krummel

Samburu County Council

C.D.F

And many other donations, and school books, pens, Footballs  etc from Wild frontier safari guests

and then finally to finish it off the Bergums in Memory of Lena Maria through VOSS foundation..

posts collected from the dry river beds, for the new kitchen, class room and teachers house..

posts collected from the dry river beds, for the new kitchen, class room and teachers house..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heres all the posts and the Makuti for the three new buildings..  All collected from the dry river beds they have matured well, and will not be touched by termites.. The Makuti all make locally by the women down on the Milgis Lugga where it is plentiful..

The Makuti, palm thatch comes from down on the Milgis Lugga..

The Makuti, palm thatch comes from down on the Milgis Lugga..

 

Starting work on the new Kitchen, digging thew holes for the posts..

Starting work on the new Kitchen, digging thew holes for the posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now to the saga of the water after five attempts to find a place that we could find fresh water.. One  salty  well after the other was dug!!. It has taken us about 3 years now!!.. Funny there was talk that some elders had put a spell on the water, as they had not been paid for some work that they did,  and as soon as we paid them their dues, we found pure water!..

This was the 3rd well dug for the school.. turned out to be dry

This was the 2nd well dug for the school.. turned out to be dry

this guy had the patience to dig 3 wells by himself to find fresh water that one could drink.. He's about 13 feet down and still determined!

Well no 4 this guy had the patience to dig 3 wells by himself to find fresh water that one could drink.. He’s about 13 feet down and still determined!

one chip at a time!! This guy is incredible how he can put up with the heat down in the hole..

one chip at a time!! This guy is incredible how he can put up with the heat down in the hole..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally on the fifth attempt he found crystal clear drinking water..

5 wells later! We finally have fresh water!

5 wells later! We finally have fresh water!

The sleeve for the well, to stop the sides falling in

The sleeve for the well, to stop the sides falling in

The well sleeve fitted snuggley, then rocks are put round the side to hold it in place..

The well sleeve fitted snuggley, then rocks are put round the side to hold it in place..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

caitlin from VOSS testing the water! Its perfect!

caitlin from VOSS testing the water! Its perfect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then its plain sailing.. or sort of!,  now a string of pictures with finally the water arriving at the school!

 

The well, ready to go..!

The well, ready to go..!

Next to sorting out the panels and the watchmans house! We have learn’t the hard way.. Even in such a remote place you have to have somebody looking after the panels, a very valuable and useful asset for people who live in the bush!

Welding the frames together

Welding the frames together

Working on the frames for the solar panels.. behind watchmans house coming along..

Working on the frames for the solar panels.. behind watchmans house coming along..

concreting the solar panels solidly into the ground

concreting the solar panels solidly into the ground

Welding the solars into the frames so that they can't be stolen, very delicate  operation

Welding the solars into the frames so that they can’t be stolen, very delicate operation

getting the complicated wiring confligaration right!

getting the complicated wiring confligaration right!

finally the solars in place! Watchmans house ready..

finally the solars in place! Watchmans house ready..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

next the pipe line… Which we have had many problems with.. It was our first water project put in 6 years ago and unfortunately  we were wrongly advised to use a slightly thiner pipe for the 5 kms.. We have learn’t alot since then!!.. Also because the pipe was dry for at least 2 years the rubbers on the joints had dried up! Any way problems mainly solved and finally the water gets to the school amoungst great cheers!!

Now to the 5 km pipe line to the school! Oh dear a problem!

Now to the 5 km pipe line to the school! Oh dear a problem!

Sorting out the leaks.. some caused by people putting his spear through the pipe to see if theres any water!

Sorting out the leaks.. some caused by people putting his spear through the pipe to see if theres any water!

Fixed!

Fixed!

5 kms away the water finally arrives at the school!! Hoooray

5 kms away the water finally arrives at the school!! Hoooray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heres a very happy little girl.. full of fresh pure water and rushing off home!!

Heres a very happy little girl.. a bottle  full of fresh pure water and rushing off home!!

A few years back the government decided that every school should have a tree growing programme.. This school with a very chequered  history of water over the last few years including the original well suddenly becoming so salty that nobody could drink it nor could they put it on the trees, pushing the head teacher at the time to bring water by donkey for the trees!.. the second well was flooded in a freak flood!, then thirdly the solar panels were stolen!! yes its true!.. Anyway against all odds the Milgis School was no 1 in this programme, with most trees kept alive..

And by the way this is how the Milgis School started!!

The Beginning!!  Nov 2006

The Beginning!! Nov 2006

 

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4 thoughts on “Keeping the school eco friendly is sometimes a battle

  1. Helen, this is remarkable. Congratulations to everyone for perseverance and hard work. What a huge achievement, which will benefit the local community for decades. You really are the most amazing people. Will any of the water be used for the animals? Thank you so much for the regular posts, which I thoroughly enjoy reading – imagining myself back there in that beautiful, addictive scenery. I have not given up on the idea of a return trip – just need the money! Love Jane

  2. Well done all of you, you really have persevered and fantastic that you have this wonderful clear water at the school. Well done that men digging the holes, what a star and a great story.
    Sue xxx

  3. Fantastic!! My favorite school, my favorite place on earth…
    exciting to be there in the beginning and enjoy seeing what people from around the world can bring together as one…
    thank you Helen and Pete!

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