After a sumptuous breakfast at the volunteer house, we stored some of our things and took off for Lake Eyasi. The road between Karatu and Lake Eyasi has NOT changed; it is all dirt, and is filled with potholes. In two places, there are giant “gorges” where road runs next to huge, deep drop-offs. In one place, a cement bridge holds the road; in the other, there is no support for the road. In distance, it is a relatively short trip, but given the condition of the road, it takes well over an hour to drive that distance.
What a delight to reach the Lake Eyasi Girls’ Vocational School to see how the school has grown and changed in the three short years since Brian and I were here! Where there was only a cement foundation, there is now a large building that houses a big classroom and an office. Construction has begun on a second classroom for that building. Behind the main building is a dormitory – two large rooms, each with eight bunk beds. The girls from the school now sleep in one of the rooms. (The dorm has been open for only about a week, so this is new for the girls.) Bayo* borrowed the bunk beds in the other room from the Tumaini Secondary School, because school is now out for the summer. He brought in mattresses for those beds to arrive in time for us to use them. That was great, as we had expected to sleep on the floor. The bunks will now be available for more girls to stay at the school. In addition, there is a bathroom building and a small house for the matron who stays at the school.
We also saw the garden, where in the rainy season, the girls had grown vegetables that had fed themselves and much of the town. Now that the dry season has arrived, there is no water, although the garden is set up with a drip irrigation system. Lightness is attempting to identify a source of water for the garden.
A doctor from Arizona is building a clinic very close to the school. Right now, it is just a brick structure ready for a roof. It looks huge, and it will be a much-needed addition to the Lake Eyasi community, which is constituted by ten villages in the immediate vicinity.
A little tent village has sprung up on the property, as well. Rachael put up a tent – a substantial safari tent that has a bathroom with a (Western) toilet, shower and sink – where she could stay for several days while in Lake Eyasi. Then the doctor added a second tent, and the Bayos a third. Bayo was able to get an old tent from his former tour company, which he put to use as a kitchen and dining room for the three safari tents. The Bayos can rent out the tents when their owners are not in residence, and the proceeds assist the school. Brian and I have each been housed in one of the tents, a totally unexpected luxury!
*Mr. Modest Bayo goes by the nickname of “Bayo.”