This is a quick note to update you all on what’s happening in East Africa and what part Grand Circle Foundation is playing. The end of March is near, and the year is running away.

To date, the Foundation has invested 157, 000$ in various projects throughout East Africa.

Here’s a quick recap.

Last week I drove 1400kms over a 5 day period checking in at all our 6 schools in Kenya.

1st stop was the Maasai Mara (an 11/12 hour drive door to door) where almost 100% of all travelers with OAT visit. We have adopted 2 new schools not far from the gate and whilst we had delivered much needed school supplies last year, this visit was all about meeting a contractor and signing an agreement to build much needed toilets at both schools for both kids and teachers.

As you can see from the photo, this is an urgent matter!! Work starts this week.

Next it was an overnight in Nairobi where I meet my spine surgeon and discuss possible dates to carry out back surgery and give me a pain free life. Looking at June for surgery. Colin is back for good from South Sudan which was the best gift I could have and both our girls are settled in UK with really great jobs (and boyfriends !!)

Onwards to Amboseli where the horrendous drought persists. To be frank, I am not sure I know how this community is going to survive. The drought persists and even if rain arrives, it will be 6 weeks till there is a glimmer of recovery. There are no cows left in the region which means no blood for the warriors and milk for kids…or even for anyone. A lack of grass also means goats milk is nonexistent. The community has burnt most of the carcasses littering the region to ward off unsavory predators!! No livestock means no sales which means no money. Everyone needs a little cash for supplies, but the HUGEST miss is school fees are not being paid. Schools are starting to misfire. Community paid teachers no longer show up for work as they are not getting paid. Bills mount up. There is no food at school as parents don’t have cash to support school meals and so kids really are starving. No food at home and none at school. And so we have stepped in and funded 1000$ in relief food at Amboseli Primary and gosh, words cannot define the emotions in this community when sacks of beans and maize turned up. We have had a 100% attendance rate since the relief food arrived. We pray for rain and my biggest hope is if we are asked to help fund food relief again in the region, we can. As well as relief food, we are also funding 80 student desks for the Amboseli Primary school and a rain harvest water catchment system.

At Lemong’o Primary we are funding the build of 2 classrooms which as you can see are nearly complete. We also funded a block of rooms housing 4 teachers.

At Olmoti Primary we have funded a housing block with 4 rooms for teachers, 80 school desks for the students, 20 lockable desks for the teachers and 2000$ is school and stationary supplies.

At The Amboseli Lewis Secondary School which we built from scratch 5 years ago, we are adding 2 more classrooms and the Community have built a Science Laboratory. It should be finished next month and the GCF will raise funds to kit it out making this Secondary school a centre of excellence for Science subjects.

In Kenya we have 15 children on various scholarship programs. We have 6 at University, 7 in High school and 2 in Primary school.

And so a really busy 3 months in Kenya. 17 projects on the go or completed BUT thousands of students impacted by everything we do.

In Tanzania, we have just spent over 7000$ on adding 20 Water filters to all 6 schools in Karatu and 10 water filters to the Fame Clinic to commemorate World Water Day. Our partners W|W also held WASH training at every school. They even managed some 1 to 1 with teachers at the school.

Ayalabe now has the best teacher toilet AND boy’s toilet in all 110 schools in Karatu which was entirely funded with traveler donations.

We also insured all our schools receive school stationery and supplies, solar study lights for all grade 7 students and all our schools have a vegetable garden and we are funding Daudi to call in every school, every month to teach growing your own food at home. All 3 projects are proving to be incredibly impactful.

In Tanzania we have no less than 18 children on our scholarship program with 2 in Uni and college, 12 in High School and 4 still in Primary school.

Thank you so very much for being part of this journey. Keep in touch, stay safe……and keep travelling.

Sandra, GCF Project Manager, East Africa

PS…Rain arrived in East Africa this week. The first proper rain for literally 8/9 months. Sadly it arrived as a storm and many parts of both countries literally drowned in water. Flooding, houses washed away, roads impassable and all our new bridges built 12 to 16 feet up from old bridges also flooded. It was a storm of note. These last 2 days, it’s all settled down to rain every day. The rains have arrived.