Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Communities Come Together to Celebrate New School in Lamu, Kenya

Kenya School
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By MCC(DV) Robert Palomares US Navy

LAMU, Kenya – An explosion of color and sound celebrated the dedication of the new Mokowe Secondary School, which was built in cooperation between the Kenyan government, the U.S. Embassy and the Civil Affairs Team, part of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa.

Local residents, waving small American and Kenyan flags, erupted in traditional songs and dances, accompanied by drumming. Drummers used plastic containers, metal plates, as well as conventional drums.

Construction on the school was originally started in 1997 and was halted briefly because of the lack of funds. But the project was regenerated in 2003, when two classrooms were completed.

In 2004, CJTF-HOA’s Civil Affairs team accepted the school districts’ proposal to complete four classrooms, administration offices, two laboratory classrooms and toilets for students and teacher {Click on image for photo details}

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Anonymous said...

The following year, two dormitories and four additional classrooms were built. In addition, two 20,000-liter water tanks were built into the school compound.

Currently, there are 86 students enrolled in the school with a faculty of four.

“We appreciate what the American government has donated to the community, which approximates 21 million Kenyan Shillings,” said Abdi Juano, chairman of the Mokowe Secondary School.

“This is once again another big and commendable project undertaken by the government of the United States of America through its local embassy and Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa,” said Omar Mohamed Famau, chairman of the county council of Lamu. “Education has always been the key to development of any nation and this is a big step towards development of Lamu and our county.”

“Allow me to thank the American people for their tireless efforts in assisting Lamu people in various development activities since 2003. We request this continues,” Famau said.

“God has graced us with a beautiful day to celebrate the completion of the Mokowe Secondary School,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Stephen Johnson, Chief of Staff for Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. “This project represents teamwork between Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, the government of Kenya and the citizens of Mokowe, a team who worked together to complete this wonderful school.”

This project, he said, is one of more than 25 projects that CJTF – HOA has completed in Kenya.

The project represents an investment of more than 22 million Shillings, a long-term investment in the education of and the future of the children of Mokowe.

“Education is central to much that is important,” Johnson told the crowd of more than 100 local residents. “Education makes our communities and nations strong and prosperous, it increases opportunity, it helps build successful families and responsible citizens, it is the key to our children realizing their full potential, and education is the key to a secure future.”

He stressed that continued teamwork is necessary to provide and obtain the best possible education. Teachers, parents, students must all work together to reach this goal. “I am confident that these new facilities will inspire and foster exactly that,” he added.

“I know that the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa stands committed with Kenya and our other coalition partners to foster regional peace and stability and give these children the opportunity to use their education to build a secure and prosperous future,” Johnson said.

After the speeches, local residents danced and sang in celebration of the new school.