Kenya, US Build, Dedicate School
A year of anticipation gave way to children dancing and singing during the Mkokoni Primary School dedication at Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21.
"Our children will now be afforded a better education," said Charles Mzee Joseph, Mkokoni Primary School head teacher.
The dedication of one new school building and three renovated buildings was attended by students and community members, as well as members of the Kenyan Ministry of Education, the U.S. Embassy and the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.
According to Joseph, the addition and renovations are being provided to an extremely dedicated group of teachers and students.
"The Mkokoni Primary School is the number-one ranked school in the (Lamu East) district," said Joseph. "We will teach day and night with our new facilities."
The new and renovated school buildings were built during the course of the past year in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education.
"This project is one example of Kenya and America working together for the greater good," said U.S. Navy Commander Elisabeth Jones, CJTF - HOA staff judge advocate and representative during the dedication. "This isn't about buildings. It's about education - education which will not only provide a brighter future for the children, but will also promote stability for the region."
Jones reflected on the spirit of cooperation that took place between the nations to highlight the future potential for Kenya when she addressed the children in the audience.
"You represent the hopes and dreams of your community and country," she said. "Take pride in your goals; they are within your reach."
"I hope that (the new school) will inspire people of all ages to learn and to grow - and maybe even become teachers," she added.
John Muthama Kilonzo, the Lamu East District education officer, echoed her sentiment by saying the school not only means a lot to the children, but also to the entire community.
"We are humbled at what the U.S. government is doing for our people," he said. "It will not go to waste."