Devastation ravaged through Kibera slums on Tuesday night and Desert Streams School was razed to the ground. The school building, desks, computers, textbooks and student books, supplies, student records, church equipment—they are all gone. To the natural eye, the situation looks hopeless. But Judy Oloo the co-director and her husband Tobias, the teachers and even the children are not without hope.
The Oloo’s were alerted at night about a fire. “When we got here, we could not do anything. The fire was spreading too fast,” Judy recounts. “Even what we tried to salvage was snatched by looters who were taking advantage of the confusion to grab whatever they could.”
The day before, nearly 250 students were busy learning in the school whose vision is to provide “quality education that enhances a child’s life-long dreams.” They were ready for a good year. Now, remains of revision papers, scraps of metal and two staircases leading to nowhere speak of a what was but is no more.
Despite the calamity, children reported to school the following day. Teachers gathered them in groups in the empty adjacent church building and courageously continued teaching as best they could. Parents came to witness the damage. “We were hoping to finally finish construction on the school building,” Judy explained. “Now in just minutes, it has all been grounded.”
The fire was apparently sparked by electrical fire caused by an illegal power connection in the neighborhood. “I heard a huge explosion followed by several more explosions and within a short time, the whole neighborhood was burning.” a teary victim narrates.
“We are collecting nails hopefully to be reused when time to rebuild another building comes. We do not know where to begin, we have been reduced to nothing, we began the year well but now we are lost in the ‘desert’, Judy desperately explains. Then the unwavering hope: “But with God’s help, we shall surely start again.”
NOTE: The interim emergency plan is to partition the church to form classrooms. The most urgent need is now for books and desks. We encourage you to donate toward these costs. You can so do at http://www.springsofafrica.org (via Paypal) to Springs of Africa to RESTORE DESERT STREAMS. Thank you!