The district of Olemoncho lies some 7kms from the town of Aitong, the main hub for the area. Aitong is also the last main town before you enter the Maasai Mara Game Park at the north western corner.
We first visited the Olemoncho school in 2004 when their was really just one classroom of 'very basic' conditions. We had been invited by our good maasai freind Joseph, as the school was having its end of year graduation day, and one of his children was attending. (he had advised us of this before we left Nairobi, so we had a chance to pick up a few books, pencils and rulers etc). Apparently Joseph told the school that we were coming to the graduation, so they organised a song and dance that the children did on the day. It was a very small affair, with all the parents there watching on, however, the children who were seated around us were just happy they were able to touch us; many times we have seen great facination when they touch our skin and hair........... Bobs beard and bald head is real treat for them.!!
From that day on, we have vowed to help them, and have watched the school quietly grow over the years. At last count in the 2011 enrolments, there were nearly 250 students. During 2007, they had a timber classroom built with the money we had raised, with the help of the Moomba men with whom Bob works. We Had managed to raise around $2000- which meant they could get the room built and include a nice cement floor and blackboard. Naturally we took along some ABC & times tables posters to put on the walls. (their abc is written in chalk on the walls.)
During our visit in 2011 the school had grown so much, they needed new rooms urgently, so they wouldn't lose more students, so they put a divider up in one of the rooms, we see this was a problem so before we left, we donated a extra $650- so they could at least put up a new tempory building.... but within a month of our return home, we had learnt that , with our money, the money raised by the community, & a donation from the conservancy,.. a council MP had pledged to give the remaining money needed to build a new 'permanant' classroom, which my friend told me last night, that the building is currently being erected as a write this, and will now house 3 sets of classrooms, making a new total of 10 classrooms.
Aside from the classrooms, the biggest asset they have just gained is the solar power we have just installed, again, thanks to the help of the Moomba guys. The teachers have to live on site in their one room accom. where they have to cook,sleep and grade papers at night. Now, they each have a light in their room plus power points. It truely is these small things that make life, just that little bit easier. (talking from experience, as we live in a tent or the mud hut each time we stay there). It is good to see that the students are given a meal each day, although i cant say that the corn mash looked all that appealing, but some days they get porridge or beans. We also donated 100 trees to the school which each of the older students are responsible for. They have to fetch the water and make sure that their tree is properly maintained. A large enclosure / fence made out of thorny branches, has been erected around the trees to keep the elephants out & stop stealing the trees. Living in the rural landscape certainly brings it's own challenges, elephants just being one of them.!