# 3 A visual Tour of SFG

# 3 A visual Tour of SFG                                                                           June 12, 2015

As I was perusing my 6000+ photos this morning I ran across some Google Earth shots of SFG and the surrounding area.  It occurred to me that it might be helpful to my readers to see what it looks like.

2015-03 google earth view schoolOur school buildings are the red-roofed ones in the upper part.  The buildings below are Upendo Village, which is a health center run by a congregation of nuns.  You can see the main highway which connects Nairobi (upper left) to Nakuru (lower left) and Naivasha?  The quadrangle is the administration block, and the classrooms.  The T-shaped building is the dining hall and below that the 2 longer of the parallel buildings are the dorms, with the third being staff housing.  The small connector is the matron’s house.  The large green area is the soccer field and cow pasture.  There are now 4 cows, 2 breeding and 2 1-year olds.  The heifer will be kept for milk and breeding, while the male will be dinner for some weeks, after he grows up.  Ruth Kahiga, principal, tells me that 4 milking cows can supply all the needs for the school.

Next to the longer of the 2 dorms is a large garden, which Ruth toured with me yesterday.  The new gardener, along with the ag teacher and Mr. Muchero, a teacher who loves the garden, keep it growing well.  Students also work in the garden.  Many come from cities and have never seen where their food originates.  Seeing the maize, greens (traditional name is sukumu wikia), chard, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, beets, carrots, butternut squash [known here as pumpkin], is a wonderful revelation for them.  She says they love the garden and love the idea of growing one’s own food.

Anything not eaten by the students is fed to the cows or rabbits, which in turn, feed the students.  It’s not quite a closed system, but Ruth says they have bought no onions, greens or carrots the last few terms.

This shot was taken during the rainy season, but I have a shot taken during the dry season showing all brown.  Since the drilling of the bore hole (well) our land will show up as the green oasis in that vast brown area.

My dream is that one day the owners of the farm to the right in the picture will want to sell their land and that we can purchase it to greatly expand the school, the pasture and the food growing areas.  They would love to have chickens, but right now space is lacking.  Land here is appreciating very fast, so it’s a BIG dream, but then the school, itself was once just a dream.  Who knows which dreams can become a reality!

You can’t see from the picture, but the windmills are next to the dining hall, right where the drive curves around toward the dorms.  The solar panels are atop the dining hall.  Our green system is attracting quite a bit of attention, with visitors coming fairly often to view it and think how they, too, could transform their own facilities.  Just wait until we get our biogas conversion system set up!  Then we’ll really be green.

Actually, I now know of 2 possibilities.  The bio-gas takes all waste, extracts the methane for cooking and treats the solid material so it can be used for fertilizer, even on food crops.  I wrote about that in 2013 (I think) when I visited such a facility at St. Luke’s hospital.  We’re still working on it, but I’ve just learned of a company that is eager to get into the Naivasha area, so might give us a very good price.

The second possibility is something I’ve learned from Fiona, Menlo Park girl, one of Rebecca Bloom’s wonderful group, who is volunteering right in Naivasha with a program to install toilets in private homes.  They remove the waste and convert it to briquettes which can be burned in jikos* instead of charcoal.  Both ideas have many environmental benefits—reducing the cutting of trees, reducing air pollution and cutting costs, while eliminating waste disposal problems.  I love the idea of teaching our girls about the necessity of caring for the planet, as well as their bodies and minds.  In the 70’s I belonged to an organization whose motto was “We Are One”.  That idea has resonated with me since then and has guided my own life as well.

I hope I haven’t grossed anyone out with this.  To me a complete recycling system is so beautiful, I don’t think of it as yukky.  If you’re not there yet, my apologies, but probably those folks have quite reading by now.  Sorry!

*Jikos are very small charcoal burning stoves, which must be used outside because they emit carbon monoxide.  That’s a big problem during rainy times for people who’ve never heard of CO and don’t know it can damage the brain and even kill.  Making charcoal is illegal here, but many people make it and pay off the authorities.  It’s this kind of dilemma that faces all emerging societies, cooking food vs saving the environment.  So far it looks like the environment is losing, but hope springs eternal!





Leave a Reply