Yesterday was Haley Feickert’s last day as our January intern in the BOMA office.  A senior at St. Lawrence University, Haley has helped us with many projects and her presence has made it easier for me to be away from the office for the next month.  One of her most important projects was to update the needs statement for our grant applications.

BOMA US Staff on Haley's last day: Kathleen James, Grant writing and Communications, Haley Feickert, SLU intern and Judy Paris, Accounting Manager

This document is a collection of statistics and reports from government and non-government sources on the conditions in northern Kenya.  There is always a flurry of reports that come out in the new year and Haley has done a great job of organizing the information as we make our case for funding from foundations.

One of the most astounding facts that she has uncovered comes from a United Nations Human Development (UNDP) Report that states the following “…seven districts in the north of Kenya have a Human Development Index lower than that of Sierra Leone, the lowest-ranked country in the world.”

Laisamis is one of those districts.

Okay that is really depressing.  But then I read this: “Research in India and China shows that some of the highest returns on investments in roads, electricity and education, as well as the greatest effects on poverty, occur in marginal, rain-fed areas rather than irrigated or more fertile areas.”  That’s us!  We can build on those investments because I know the greatest wealth in the region comes from the entrepreneurial spirit of a people who have learned to adapt and survive in a brutal and harsh climate.

My reading is interrupted by a call from Kura.  He has finally returned from the north after 2 weeks in Laisamis.

“Kura, did you know that we have the lowest human development index in the world?”

“Not for long, Mama Rungu,” he tells me.

“Thanks Kura, I needed to hear that from you.  See you Thursday?”

“Yes, Mama Rungu, see you Thursday.”