Katesh is a small town on the World Food Programme circuit; it is also home to a Girl’s Centre sponsored in good measure by Canadians.      

Canadian Harambee Centre – Katesh
The flowers spell ‘Welcome’

Joy, from Langley BC and two students.
(Great name for a volunteer)

High school girls with satisfactory grades but little opportunity are sponsored for the four final years to graduation. Without Harambee they would not be able to finish school. They come from the surrounding farming communities, live in this centre and go to the local Katesh High School on week days. The centre is safe and attractive and home. The girls tend an immaculate garden and, what is so sweet, an area is thoughtfully set aside where they can cook on an open fire of a Saturday evening, as they would at home. Unlike home, there is electricity to study and to shower. There is some vital extra training offered: sewing (I watched as one girl pressed her clothes with an iron filled with hot coals.), how to work in local small businesses, English.  This is important because once they finish school, without further training there is little in the way of employment outside  returning to help on their small family farms or…

When in the field we stay in simple motels and eat in small bar-restaurants.  Without skills and job opportunities, young women work these establishments.  While some girls are offered schooling by donation, others go cheap and temporarily to the rich. (To have change in your pocket is to be rich. To have a watch and gold teeth and leather boots is to be rich.) I’ve watched these women as early as 8 am as they quite literally drown beer after sad beer, not bothering to look up from their cell phones when the men, tricked again, drive off.  Sunday morning bottles lined up like Saturday night clients.  How else to keep going.

Bananas planted by the students

A school year’s supply of quality maize drying prior to storing. This corn, just harvested, was purchased locally, when prices are depressed. Relying entirely on donations, Harambee must count every penny in order to feed students throughout the year.                                                                                                    Yet the World Food Programme is helping farmers in Katesh to aggregate and store their crop in order to sell later at a premium.

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4 Responses to www.canadianharambee.ca

  1. loumdel says:

    So glad you were able to make it to the Girl’s Centre which you had heard about. I went to their website and found it very interesting, maybe one day I will find myself in such a place helping out. I know there are things we can do now.. gets the mind going
    Thanks for another morsel of enlightenment.

  2. wadawson says:

    Yes, it is a good place Louise. There were only a few students when I visited as I think it the end of term. I am hoping to go back toward the end of the month because The Food Programme takes me there. If there is time I’ll try to stop by and learn more. Will let you know. xxT

  3. wadawson says:

    Such daring feats some monkeys have to perform to satisfy their hunger needs for bananas. That is some traffic!
    Like the idea of the Girls’ school being established and sponsored by Canada. Designing
    programmes of education to have the natives establish ways to become self-sufficient is the way to empower the people. Are there boys’ schools as well?
    Sad ending to the hopeful quail population explosion. Not one survived, due to the unfortunate pitfall of the nest. I believed that if the mother quail chose her nest, she knew what was best for her brood. Unfortunately, the plant pot in which she nested was set within a larger decorative container and when the first 3 eggs hatched on the 26th day of brooding, the chicks scrambled about and dropped below into the larger container and the mother and father were overcome with despair and abandoned the nest leaving 10 unhatched eggs. When I discovered what had happened, and when the quails had left (I hoped temporarily), I gently lifted the nesting pot out of the container, replaced the 3 uninjured young in the nest and spent a very sleepless night watching for the female’s return. She never did return unfortunately. Must say that after 26 days their presence was sorely missed. Only now can I write about it. I have noticed that many quail are pairing up and mating again. Thank goodness.
    Continue to enjoy your informative blogs.

    Courtsey of Grace and Peter Schofield

  4. wadawson says:

    Oh dear, I’m always torn apart over such things as your quail which is why I stood anxiously watching the monkeys. It was incredible to see them know they faced DANGER with all the traffic. I was out for a last of the day’s sun at 6pm Sunday and just stood and watched two monkeys who
    were safely up in a tree on the right side of the traffic; I think it’s just before their bedtime.

    From the Harambee website, girls are singled out because the boys get first chance at going to school yet often the girls make the difference later in life. With next to no money in a family the boy gets the opportunity of school and the girl doesn’t. Hence Harambee. You are perceptive as there is also the danger that the males get left untrained and scarcely employable when much of the overseas aid is directed at, generally, the more responsible women. Then another problem gets compounded. Difficult to win especially with short fund$.


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