It has been a very exciting weekend. Saturday 12th August we head to Keroka, near Kisii town, just a couple of hours from the Bala to visit the lace that will be the Seva Centre.
The Seva Centre is a project ideated by Christopher Lowman from the Living Smile and Jared Akama, Executive director of CEPACET.
We already spoke about it on our facebook page, when Roberto went for the first visit along with Christopher, last May. We got in contact with him through the Architects Without Frontiers, we saw his call for architects to help in building this centre, which for Christopher is a dream, as well as for the entire community of Rigoma. This is a loving centre, a place where children, mostly orphans, can receive school tuition, a daily meal, some new clothes but most of all, love. The community of Rigoma already takes care of around 100 of this vulnerable children, but they would like is to build a centre which can be a safe hub for them and a monument for the community, to remind them there are children in need and that it is everyone’s responsibility.
Christopher decided to help Jared and the Rigoma community in reach this aim and is going to start the fundraising after receiving a plan from 4people and Livia Damè, another architect, from Brazil who unfortunately wasn’t able to join us this time in Kisii. 4people and Livia are going to join the strength in order to deliver a project which is going to satisfy community’s expectations and children desires.
The visit started under an heavy rain on Saturday, along with Jared and some people from the community. After a first look at the field available for the centre we decided to proceed with further studies on Sunday.
We have been looked after by Jared’s family, a lovely and welcoming family who let us completely feel at home. They offered us a delicious dinner and we went to sleep in the silence and the cold of what they call the Garden of Kenya.
Kisii province is a hilly and incredibly green land, where it’s easy to plant every kind of crop. Despite this, locals say they are able to produce food only for their consumption, whilst the only crops they are able to sell are tea and coffee.
Sunday started with a nice walk along the main road, sided by beautiful tea plantations, until we reached the Community Chief’s house. We had been introduced to Charles and we had a chat with him about community’s expectations regarding the Seva Centre. We found out they would also need a nursery where people can receive treatments without commuting to the nearest hospital , in Kisii, which is 50Km away.
Full of precious informations we finally moved to the field which is going to host the Seva Centre. It was quite emotional trying to figure out the centre as already there! Roberto, Tommaso and Fabiana started taking measurements helped by the community members, taking some soil samples to check how good is the soil for the earth-bags technique. Then we moved for a walk around the compound to see the production of bricks, the closest water stream and a spring which provides the entire community of almost 500 people with clean water.
What we can say after such a weekend is that we definitely loved the place and loved the people. We felt a very strong sense of community, a real commitment from everyone in giving the most needing children a place where they can be looked after. What we really appreciated is the aim of making this place self-sustainable, and Jared and Christopher are already working in order to provide the centre with tools able to bring some monthly income and we think this is remarkable.
We are now keen in completing the guest house in the Bala Mercy Children’s Centre. We are so excited, we are working hard: more hours per day, more days per week!! In a couple of weeks it will be ready and then we’ll dive into this new challenging project: the Seva Centre.
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