Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Potomac Classroom Project : Day Two

At the Red Rose School, we believe that all children deserve a chance to realize their potential in an educational environment that is fun, challenging, and loving. Supported by the local community and friends from around the world, Red Rose teachers strive to provide a quality education for all the children it can accommodate. This generous gift of a new fully-furnished classroom from the children of the Potomac School will help the children and teachers of Red Rose to achieve their learning goals for many years.The gate of the school (above) and the little courtyard for playing and morning parade (below).
The outer walls of the new Potomac Classroom Project on the morning of day two of construction.
The classroom floor begins to take shape. A mix of rocks, stones, bricks, and earth. The earth is red volcanic soil and common in the central highlands of Kenya and some black African cotton clay. This mix of materials is pounded to create a flat solid base which will be finished off with a layer of concrete and cement.
The old wooden and corrugated iron sheet fence was constructed on a framework of untreated timber pillars and struts. After years of termite damage, the fence was disintegrating and losing its structural value. The paint too was pretty much gone. Time to refurbish it all. The take down of the fence to be repaired. Not all houses in Kibera are made of earth walls and tin roofs. A small number of government planned housing projects from the 1960's and 1970's still survive in parts of Kibera such as Olympic Estate, where Red Rose School is located. The main house was converted into classrooms and a kitchen for the school. The rest of the compound has been used for additional classrooms constructed in affordable local style that is basic yet functional for Kibera, but far from ideal when compared to regular schools. The houses next to Red Rose are people's homes. It would cost about $30,000 (Kshs 2.1 million) to buy one of the neighboring homes and convert it into more space for the school without paying rent ever again.
New pressure-treated and termite-resistant timber poles and struts are set up to provide the structural backbone of the newly repaired fence that should last much longer.
The children enjoy recess and regular school activities as the roof and ceiling beams (above) and the window frames (below) are installed. Take a look at the blue sky and white clouds above. June and July are traditionally the coldest months in Nairobi (winter in Kenya) with average temperatures about 21 Celsius in the day and 17 Celsius at night.
The curious children take a break to observe the construction workers doing their jobs. Here the door to the new classroom is being fixed. I can't wait to see more photos of the progress tomorrow. Please CLICK HERE to see how everything looked on day one of the project!

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