At the beginning of October, we, the founders of Start Somewhere, had the opportunity to travel to Nairobi again after four years. For us, it was something very special to meet our team, which has grown considerably in the meantime, and to get to know many members in person for the first time. We exchanged ideas at various events and deepened our bond with the team. It was particularly motivating to hear how some team members’ lives have changed in a positive way thanks to their permanent position at Start Somewhere. In addition to these encounters, one of the highlights of our trip was the tour of the completed TwistBlock buildings, which we were able to see live for the first time. Especially for Oliver, architect and inventor of the building system, this was a very special event.
One exciting stop was the first TwistBlock factory in Kibera, where we produced some bricks together with the employees. We also visited the library of the Gifted Hands School, which was built on this site with the help of donations. The second TwistBlock factory in Nairobi, which opened in August, was also on our list. During our stay, this factory was also equipped with a solar system to ensure sustainable and trouble-free production.
The Bethany Joy School in Kawangware, which was completed in early 2023, was of course also worth a visit. The improved learning environment is already benefiting 400 pupils. 200 more are still housed in the old Bethany Joy School, which is why the founder is currently collecting donations for the construction of a second school building.
We also visited the new housing units in Kibera, which were built with donations for the families affected by a fire. It is great to see how enthusiastic the residents are about the new buildings, which offer them more security and are more hygienic than their previous shanty.
We also went to the Global One School, which is still under construction. We got to know the workers on site, had them show us around the construction site and explain the upcoming work steps. We discussed any uncertainties and found solutions together.
During the week, we also visited TwistBlock buildings constructed independently by customers, such as the Silangah School of the New Hope Initiative. We also met many representatives of other organizations, potential partners and customers for further construction projects as well as people interested in the construction system. We were also able to win operators for another factory in Meru (outside Nairobi).
This trip has shown us once again that our vision creates great changes that can be clearly seen and felt. Together with the entire Start Somewhere team and a lot of additional motivation, we are well prepared for the challenges to come. The decision to start somewhere eleven years ago was exactly right and will always be in the future.