One of my favourite words in Swahili is 'kuku', which means chicken. They are comical creatures at the best of times, but there is added entertainment in rural Kenya where they have free reign. Kukus can be found checking out the living room, roosting in the garden or eating last night's leftovers.
Our favourite kuku event was definitely the day a woman arrived with a bird under her arm and then released it for all the children to catch. My children, in particular, took great delight in the chase that ensued - crawling under fences, developing capture strategies, and generally squealing with glee. I'm not sure what they thought when we were served kuku at lunch that day, but I'm pretty sure they steered clear!
Since one of ReACT's goals is to see partners in Kenya become self-sufficient, no longer relying on foreign support, there were many conversations around next steps for Veronica Home.
We talked about the ideas of more land (just this year they have rented two acres for a maize crop), the purchase of a cow, and finally a home for the chickens (kukus) that are running around the property.
Mark, one of ReACT's Kenyan staff members, showed us a book he's been reading about keeping chickens and the various ways of housing them. Chickens have been on his mind because he knows that eggs provide a lot of nutrition for children who are immune-compromised and they can also generate income through the sale of eggs.
While we were in Kenya a donation for a kuku house came through and we were able to join Mark in the brainstorming as he worked out size and location and associated costs.
The kuku house is now complete and as of this past Monday, 26 additional chickens have been added to the current brood of 20. Mark is hoping to eventually have enough chickens so that the children's diets can be supplemented and so that eggs can be sold to the community. This will mean that ReACT will be able to take a tiny step back, allowing the Veronica Home to take a tiny step forward towards self-sufficiency.