We built toilet blocks for the boys, girls and teachers at the Loresho Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya. We held a grand opening ceremony on 6 July 2012, to hand the facilities over to the Loresho school authority.
The Loresho Primary School is located a few miles north of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Approximately 1300 children attend the school and most of them come from poor families in the surrounding slums. During my visits to Nairobi, the principal, Mrs. Rose, visited me several times to request help building a new block of toilets. She informed me that the boys’ toilet block was old, in disrepair, and was dangerous to use, and said the girls did not have enough toilets.
When I went to the school and saw the conditions of the toilet blocks, I understood their need. After several meetings with Mr. Dawda, the chairman of TGS African, we began the groundwork. We had to prepare architectural designs, apply for permits, find a trustworthy contractor, and, most importantly, find a generous sponsor.
While I was doing the preparation work with Mr. Dawda, the principal came to see me again. She told me that the boys’ toilet block had fallen in and the building had collapsed. With that news, we realized the urgent need to get the drawings ready and gain approval for the new building from the city council.
I spoke to several people in my search for a sponsor. I mentioned this during one of my conversations with Lisa Benson of Texas. She is the CEO of Ellipse Inc., and is a very close friend and a student who knows well how I work and complete my projects. I felt very fortunate when she promised to sponsor the toilet blocks and paid the total cost of their construction.
After many challenges and hard work, the project was completed and it was time to hand the toilet blocks over to the school administration. I am very happy and grateful that Lisa and her business partner Lee traveled to Africa to participate in the opening ceremony. The principal and the teachers created a great reception that included a big show with the students dancing and singing. I do not think you will see people making such a big deal about building toilets anywhere else. However, I understand that these new blocks of toilets mean a great deal to them.
While we were at the opening ceremony, the principal told us stories about how often she had to clean some young girls because they could not hold their urine as they stood in the long lines, sometimes waiting more than an hour. The teachers were also happy because we had built separate toilets for them. Lisa and Lee prepared gift packages for each of the 24 teachers that they were very pleased to receive. Mr. Dawda donated juice and biscuits to the children. We enjoyed seeing the happy faces of the children as we distributed the treats.
I am grateful to Lisa Benson and Lee O’Conner of Ellipse Inc. for financing the project. I would also like to offer my special gratitude to Mr. Dawda, who worked very hard from the beginning to the end of construction being in constant communication with me. Without his help, we would have spent 30% more to complete the project. Everyone who helped us accomplish this task is greatly appreciated.
May you all be well and happy!