A School Bus for Tenderfeet

Tenderfeet now has a school bus of its own!  This is only possible due to the incredible generosity of the Hasbro Children’s Fund (through Project Zambi) and our amazing partners at the Collette Foundation.

The kids love their new school bus and are so proud to ride it from the slums out to the school in the countryside.

The new Tenderfeet School Bus

The Tenderfeet students are proud of their new School Bus

Our goal when we started the search last Fall was to find one that could hold up under the extremely challenging driving conditions of Nairobi.

This includes transporting up to 90 children for over 4 hours of driving per day (it makes two round trips both morning and afternoon)

After months of searching — and evaluating countless potential used vehicles that turned out to be unsuitable — we finally found what we believe and hope is a good one.

It’s a 2001 Isuzu Elf mini-truck with a 17-seat attachment, making it ideal for transporting Tenderfeet students.  It’s much more spacious than the vans we had rented previously.

Most of the other ones had significant problems.  We were mainly focused on looking for a 14-seat matatu van (Toyota HiAce “Sharks” as they’re called).  They are popular for being well-built and withstanding the rough roads of Nairobi.

We hired a mechanic to accompany us to make sure that when we did get a vehicle, the end result would be that the kids would have reliable transportation.

A former rental van that was used to transport the kids

A former rental van that was used to transport the kids, as many as 40 at a time. The new bus is much more roomy, which is safer and more enjoyable for the children.

It turned out that, each time, the mechanic would spot a problem so bad the vehicle would have to be eliminated. The core issue was that by the time the vans were selling at a price we could afford, they were quite worn out.

Mama Margaret kept saying we must persevere until we find the right vehicle.

Finally, a safari van was discovered that was in good shape, though it exceeded our original budget.  We decided it was better to spend more and be on the safe side.  But when it was time to purchase the safari van, a series of schedule problems delayed the final deal being made.

While that was going on, the Isuzu Elf became available, and at that point, we decided to pass on the safari van and go with the Isuzu.  It was more what we had always hoped for.  It was several thousand dollars more than originally planned, however.

Fortunately, Collette was wonderful and understanding of our dilemma.  They sponsored the difference over and above what they had already donated.  Thanks to them and our generous friends at Hasbro, Tenderfeet’s transportation situation turned from a nightmare into a dream come true.

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