A School in the USA is reading our stories.

Salisbury School

This is which school that is happy to read our stories. We have read and been told that the school is  in Salisbury there is a lot of animals like deer and foxes. And there are a lot of different types of food. For example spaghetti!

We could not understand what \sphagheti is until we read from Lindsay. Lindsay says that to make sphagheti …. spaghetti–first you put the spaghetti in a pot of boiling water. Then you cook tomato sauce and meat together. Then when the spaghetti is done take the water out of the pot. Then combine the spaghetti and the sauce with the meat. Then you have spaghetti!

And in Salisbury there is a trail called the ghost trail because the trail used to be a track for a train. Then the train crashed and everyone who was on the train died. And to this day people say it is haunted by ghosts of people who died in the crash from the train.
In Salisbury there are a lot of fun places for example the beach. At the beach I like to swim in the ocean and go fishing! Once I almost caught a fish – it was a tuna. It got away.

Food they like is strawberries, chicken, broccoli and cheesecake. Cheesecake is made of soft cheese, milk, eggs, vanilla flavor mixed and then baked into a cake. Then we put strawberries, cherries or chocolate on the top. On the bottom is a crust of crackers.

We shall reply in a day or two and tell them about our food..

Thanks for knowing you guys.


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We look foward to an exiting summer holiday

This morning on school assembly our computer teacher has made a wonderful announcement. We have been told that students and pupils in a school in the USA have been reading our stories and are willing to work with us and help us. We all clapped and cheered. We have also been told that we may get the rare opportunity to visit a city near our village called Kisumu. Many of us have never seen a tall building or many cars parked in one place. This will be our first time.

This is going to happen because our sponsor is organizing to sponsor us to the one week camp to learn about computers and Maths. We may also tell our story about how we are using computers to map out jigger infections in our village.

This is going to be an exiting summer holiday.

Watch this space for more updates.


Eshibinga Primary

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An OLPC Kenya XO Project Challenge

An OLPC Kenya XO Project Challenge

Some good news. Sandra and Jane are organising a an XO club challenge to be held this year in Kisumu Kenya in August. We are excited. Eshibinga kids think they just have to win this. We have several projects we have been working on and we shall choose one of them and show case it to the other teams come August. here below are the rules of the challenge.
Your school team can be a winner of the “Kenya OLPC Showcase”.
Three winning projects will be selected to attend AMSTREF summer Science and Math camp and showcase your project.

Select a topic which has impact on your life and community. Use to XO laptop to research, record, document the issue and create a report. Explain the science behind the issue, and make recommendations for what action the community might take to improve or support this issue.
Projects will be rated on the quality of the report and its presentation. Also rated will be the full and creative use of XO Sugar Activities.

June 20th:
Send a single paragraph summary of the proposed project by email Sandra@smallsolutionsbigideas.org
• Selected Topic.
• What is the benefit to your community or school from the information or material you have put in this topic.
• How the topic will be presented and which Sugar Activities will be used.
July 25th:
The Final Projects Send by Email or use Dropbox for large files.

Three Projects Will be Selected Based on the following
• Educational and Community Impact of Your Information
• Creative use of the Sugar Activities
• Quality of the Material
Presentation: These can be done as Sugar Write Reports with photos and written research. Videos, Animation in Scratch or eToys, Fototoon. Songs or Poetry Recorded on the XO.
• Agriculture:Choose a crop, and learn about what it needs to grow in a healthy way, what are its nutritional benefits, how is it grown in your community. Are families and farmers able to receive income from growing this crop?
• EnvironmentWater: How efficiently is water used in your community. What are the problems with getting enough clean water?
• Trash: How does the trash thrown into the roadsides, streets, grass affect the environment.
• Health How does this disease affect your community: the economic, the social impact. Interview people in your community affected by these diseases, tell their story. Use the XO and Sugar activities.HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Jiggers

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Eshibinga kids ride bikes donated by XO friends in the village streets.

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Slow Internet connection affecting our communicationwith this blog

We wish to request our readers to bear with us because we have not been able to post photos and video clips on the happenings in Eshibinga due to slow internet connections and the heavy rains. We have a wonderful video clip on Sydney and his story. We have pictures on the bodaboda story yet they are taking ages to upload.

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Eshibinga IS A VILLAGE IN WESTERN KENYA. It has poor roads. In the absence of vehicles and good road networks in many Kenyan rural areas especially Western Kenya, young entrepreneurs have started up the environmentally-friendly “boda boda” bicycle business that ferries clients from main roads to villages off the beaten track. In the rural areas of Kenya, some opportunistic youth have capitalized on poor road networks and lack of vehicles to earn their daily bread. They now offer transportation on a “boda boda,” a bicycle with a brightly coloured cushioned pad attached behind the seat, used for carrying one passenger at a time. Bicycle shuttle services are, in some areas, the only way of getting around.
Now picture that. Our school, is located in a place with no or poor roads, no electricity, no running water, jigger infested and other issues that can drag you down yet; Sandra Thaxter an OLPC representative from the USA loved the kids for their attachment to xo’s. One big problem she noted was the fact that the school had no way of powering the XO laptops. Often times the teachers and pupils had to take boda boda rides to the nearest market where we can get electricity so as to charge our xo’s.
When Sandra of OLPC visited our village and school and saw the enthusiasm the kids had with XO laptops she wanted to help. She did not have money on her to buy for us solar panels or generators to power our xo laptops. But she had 8 bicycles that she left for the kids to play around with
The kids smelt an opportunity when we saw the bikes. The Pupils together with the teachers and Jane (one of the sponsors) agreed that they could use the bikes to generate money to power the XO laptops. Turn some of the 8 bikes into Boda bodas.
Boda bodas have been around since 1990, when young people in rural town of Busia, western Kenya, (a town that shares a border with Uganda), used bicycles to smuggle goods across the border. In fact, “boda boda” comes from the English word “border.”
These youth quickly realised that the same bicycles they used to carry goods from Kenya to Uganda and back could also ferry people in the transportation-poor villages of Western Kenya. The mania spread its wings to neglected rural villages in the west and beyond.
With an estimated 90 percent of Kenyan roads not being paved, according to the 2001 budget report on rural development, and many roads being impassable by vehicles, the boda boda has become a versatile, quick, and reliable form of transportation.
It has also become a source of income for mostly male secondary school graduates who would otherwise be unemployed. In Eshibinga, a boda boda operator can make approximately US$2.60 (Sh200) a day after deducting the cost of lunch and repairs to the bicycle.
Twenty-year-old Henry Ashioya is a brother to one of the pupils inEsgibinga. He is he dropped out of Eshibinga Secondary school two years ago due to lack of school fees. He was the first person to hire one of the Bikes that Sandra brought to us. He uses it to make money to support his younger sister in school and meet other obligations in his mother’s house. . He says: “I knew I must look for money, since the death of my dad I became the bread winner in our family. When I heard that Mzungu (White person) had blessed our school children with the Bicycles I approached the school with a view of hiring one,” he says. Henry charges approximately US$0.06 (Sh5) for every kilometer travelled. An operator cycles 50 kilometers a day on average, he says.

“When somebody has paid, you’re forced to ride even in hilly places,” says the sweaty Henry. “It is also hard riding in these ragged roads. Riding in the meandering paths is as perilous as going through a jungle; you have to be smart lest you fall down with your customer.” To make the ride easier, most operators have fixed a small transistor radio onto their bicycles, cushioned the carrier, and put an alarm bell on their bars.
“These boys are a blessing,” says Mary Atiaso, a primary school teacher in Eshibinga. “Formerly, we had to trek for long distances, getting late and missing lessons in school and important meetings. Now, it’s quick service.”
Boda-bodas are now a household name. They have become school vans for transporting pupils and teachers, busses for staff, and have even carried government ministers and other prominent people. It has also become the village ambulance. Says boda boda operator Omukuba another guy who has hired the Eshibinga bikes.: “When a villager gets sick, it’s our obligation to wake up even late at night and find our way to the hospital, which is always located far from the village.”
Boda boda drivers have the reputation of being honest and trustworthy. Some village traders entrust them with as much as US$13 (Sh1,000) – a large amount of money for the average person in this part of Kenya – to purchase goods from wholesalers in urban areas. “And they deliver,” says Joel Sifuna, a businessman from Khumusalaba. “Otherwise, if it were somebody else, our money would be disappearing into the air.” Sifuna has used boda-boda for over five years.
To be a boda boda operator, one must own a bicycle, which costs approximately US$39 to $52 (Sh3000 – 4000). That is expensive for an ordinary villager. So they resort to hiring a bike and paying the owner of the bike from his daily proceeds.
These money is used for powering our xo’s and we are saving some of it so that we can buy USB flash disks and memory cards so that our XO pupils can save their work. We also use part of it to buy postage stamps to post letters to epals whom we have found using xo laptops. Most of all we use the money to buy internet bundles which we use to browse the internet using xo laptops.
Prof. Shitanda, a lecturer in the Department of Economics at a Kenyan University, congratulates the boda boda drivers for their ingenuity and says he thinks the boda boda industry will become “giant.” “In business, we need the creativity, dexterity, and diligence clearly demonstrated by our boys. They now earn through their innovative ways. But the government should come in and provide loans, workshops, and protection so that they can expand the trade.”
This weekend, Sandra will hold a funds drive to get more bicycles to Kenya to support the xo projects. We pray for success.

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The XO laptops are better than our teacher’s expensive laptop

The XO laptops are better than our teacher’s expensive laptop
We have been busy this week. Out teacher Mr. Amunga has been busy making a video of Sydney and his story on Xo and his family. Meanwhile he left us to browse the internet using our xo laptops. He also left something behind for us to examine carefully. His, dell laptop.
We just discovered that adults like using and buying big expensive laptops that are different from our xo laptops.. But we think our xo is more intelligent and a better computer than Mr. Amunga’s Dell laptop. First we discovered that XO laptops (from OLPC) do not need Internet cables. They only connect wirelessly and don’t even have a place to plug in an Internet cable. You just need 2 wires to connect the appropriate type of modem to your Internet coming from the town and then to connect a wireless router to the modem.
That is: Internet —- Modem —— Router )))))) wireless (((((( XO laptops. Plan to have the router somewhere inside the classroom. The wireless signal does go through walls, but it is weakened by the wall. You may be able to use the laptops on the Internet outside of the classroom, too.

Electric power should not be a problemto us as it is to Mr. Amunga’s Dell Laptop. . The xo’s can work for hours on their battery alone, which they can recharge from the solar power during the day, or indefinitely while they have solar power coming in. It may only be a problem if you have many days of dark weather, actually an xo in Eshibinga uses less power than our teacher’s Dell laptop computer.

Finally, xo’s have a software called Sugar. It is good for children aged 6 to 12 years old. We got to read about Sugar here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar. This is a good manual to start with: http://laptop.org/8.2.0/manual/. It explains how to set up the network, too. Every kid in Africa will love sugar. It has activities just ment for us. Can you imagine, Mr. Amunga’s dell laptop is very expensive? Yet it does not have sugar. How do these adults work on computers that have no sugar? I just sympathise with them…
Washington Anindo.
Eshibinga primary School

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