Hello friends, I am snatching a moment to let you all know that we arrived safely in Kakamega just over a week ago. We found our apartment in good shape, (just needing a thorough clean) and many friends waiting for us. It took a week to get an internet connection and it’s pretty spotty and slow, but what a joy to have the connection right in the house!
We are already into the old routine of boiling our water, conserving as much grey water as we can for a second use, and listening to the unharmonious serenades of the dogs at night. We are still in the period of the short rains and we receive a deluge pretty well every afternoon from about 3 p.m. With the rain, the air is cool making a light sweater necessary some evenings. The problem with the downpour is that it’s usually accompanied by thunder and lightning and power often is cut off for a few hours. Fortunately we cook with bottled gas and often eat by candlelight, through necessity rather than choice.
A few days ago Rod met up with Joyce, who leads a women’s group in a village where we installed one of first wells. Amongst other projects they were feeding orphans in the local school. The well is working fine, but the orphan feeding has stopped because no one has been able to grow beans due to the wet, cool weather. They need the protein in the beans and it is too costly to buy. I have not had a chance yet to find out if there is any other solution.
Last Saturday I met with about 30 teachers from the Virtues Project. I had wrist bands made in Canada and small card calendars The teachers will proudly wear the bands and give some to their leading students, whom they usually call peace Keepers. The calendars will go to Head Teachers and parents who have assisted in establishing the Positive Discipline in the schools. It was a joy to see all the people who have been so faithful for nearly two years and have retained their enthusiasm and commitment. We have more training sessions tentatively planned for the beginning of November and December. We shared a number of stories, some happy and some sad. We were all touched by the account of the child always late for school. When the Virtues trained teacher decided to delve further into the problem, she found that the girl's mother was 'gone' and the father had married a second wife. He did not see the need to feed the child of a wife who was no longer around, so the girl was hiding near the house until the 'new' children were given breakfast. At which time she was able to snatch a mouthful and then make her way to school. We shared a number of stories, some happy and some sad. We were all touched by the account of the child always late for school. When the Virtues trained teacher decided to delve further into the problem, she found that the girl's mother was 'gone' and the father had married a second wife. He did not see the need to feed the child of a wife who was no longer around, so the girl was hiding near the house until the 'new' children were given breakfast. At which time she was able to snatch a mouthful and then make her way to school. We are hopeful that the teacher will be able to make some changes in that family
Tomorrow we plan to visit the site of the first well for this current season, that has been sponsored by Cumberland Rotary Club on Vancouver Island. This site has been affected for several years by mercury contamination from an abandoned goldmine and many people are sick. The village has been anxiously awaiting our arrival and has the management committee all in place.
On Friday I will meet the market women in the group started by Florence Iminza this past summer. I have some money from Rotary to assist them in their business literacy project. Florence will travel overnight from Nairobi and there are now about 100 women participating voluntarily. Very exciting.
On Saturday we travel to Addis Ababa to participate in the Rotary Polio Immunization session with about 60 Rotarians from the US and Canada. I was one of the group last year and know it will be an interesting and rewarding time. After the immunization Rod and I plan to visit some of the historic sites around this country. Ethiopia was never colonized and has some of the oldest Christian churches in the world. We’re very much looking forward to it.
Also on the agenda when we return from Addis at the end of the month will be the other micro finance projects with single women in the two locations that have been operating for a few months. We recently heard that we have received a Rotary International matching grant to ship two containers of supplies. I’ll be working with the clubs back home and the host club here in Kenya to make this happen.
We’ll be off line for a couple of weeks but we’ll tell you about our Ethiopian adventures when we return.