Friday, February 27, 2009

All Economics are local

Here in Kitinda there is a large fish processing plant. ( On a normal day two or more container loads of Lake Victoria fish would make their way up to Kampala road on their way to foreign customers. Today at St. Fausta's we learned that they are having massive lay-offs as the foreign orders have dried up. Offices with eight people now have one. The trucks aren't rolling out.

This is great news for the fish and fish populations of Lake Victoria that have been threatened by over-fishing. For fishermen, plant workers and others who earn a living from the fish plant is very bad news. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be trying to evaluate haow this turn of events will affect the ability of parents to pay school fees.

Along the same vein; In other St. Fausta's new today I was informed that an organization who sponsors half the school fees for all my boarding students is not going to live up to their end of the deal. For us, the students, parents, teachers, faculty and staff this is a somewhat more perilious development. Still working on that one

Peace, John

Check back for more...

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Last weekend and this the boarding students went fishing. So far the score is rocks 8 hooks, fish unknown, students 0 fish. We are including lessons in our outings. Safety, biology, and fluid dynamics.  

They, the students, started building an oven. The design incorporates both the Cajun microwave and the Rocket stove.

Photos of both events will be uploaded as bandwidth allows.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wow what happened

As I was coming back from Entebbe today I found a nice gentleman up the powerpole installing a new wire to the house! Electricity has returned to my house, now to get it to St. Fausta's

More soon

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A little rain is a good thing

Students are arriving; we have enrolled about 44 students thus far. Of these 20 are boarding students. Unfortunately the Ugandan custom is to bring new students over the initial few weeks of a school year and to pay minimum tuition when dropping off the students. This leaves a gap where the school must fend for itself in terms of food, salaries, books and equipment.
There are still beds for another 20 students and space for 85 day students.
And the garden grows. Someone passed by today who had heard that we had extra cabbage and carrot seedlings for sale. We do, why not?
Construction is on pause while we wait for school fees to come in.
My landlord has issues with the Ugandan electric company so today my house was plunged into darkness. And life goes on.

Eventful days, check back soon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Garden Sprouts!!!

Big things for three weeks:

It has been just three weeks since the go-ahead was given to start physical work on the school and what a difference! The contractor showed up and his electricians went to work installing switches, outlets and “bulb holders” in every room. (no outlets in the dormitories) Outside they installed sockets for security lights. Then concrete guys followed installing doors and windows then finishing the walls and putting in smooth concrete floors over the red dirt. The gate that the founder had constructed has been moved back to its original position and is now supported by two concrete columns. Through all this Fausta has been cooking for the workers and the garden is sprouting with fresh vegetables. One man working tirelessly is digging the cistern/ grey water treatment pond/ fish pond, for a price. Teachers have been coming and helping when and wherever they can until… Last Sunday our first two students arrived for boarding school. Monday a few more came to join. And they tell me that more are coming. The community is supportive, often times stopping me on the road to offer thanks. And fifteen minutes ago water flowed from the newly installed water line.

Then there are the disappointments. The bank takes the ATM card, deducts money from the account and fails to deliver any cash. The next ATM down the line confirms the funds are missing and does not allow further transaction as the limit has been reached.
The former headmaster has leased another school, renaming it St. Fausta. He then goes into the villages and tells people that he is remodeling St. Fausta’s and the other campus is just a temporary arrangement. Parents who are coming expecting him and his school find a pleasant surprise.

What next? It is now time to look for sponsors. People who can help a child by paying their fees, A photovoltaic (solar electric) system as there is no way to run computers on the poor quality electricity that we have now. School and library books are needed. A fresh coat of paint for the outside of the buildings would be nice. In the kitchen we are making a rocket type stove/oven and looking for a gas refrigerator. And the bathroom facilities including showers and composting toilets must be finished. Can’t forget the treated mosquito nets!

The school has come a long way in the past few weeks, but there is much left to do. Soon it will serve as an example of sustainable infrastructure for a healthy learning atmosphere. And of course good grades from healthy students will be the proof.

More updates, keep in touch.

Lower Building

Kitchen electricity

Fixing window openings for windows

The crew rolls in

Electrician making paths through the bricks