|Greetings to you all...
Maybe it's the broad smiles,
the warm handshakes and the words of welcome that make us feel so good
when we return to Kenya. It truly is like returning home.
When we arrived on October 1 we found our vehicle and our apartment
intact. Many of our windows are missing latches, so this time when we left
we wired them closed. This paid off in the high winds of the 'big rains'.
Our coverings and floors were dusty, but not as dirty
>as the last time we went home. We call Virginia, our cleaner and laundry
woman, "the Queen of Clean" and she soon had things licked into shape.
Virginia is tall and slender-much taller than Rod- so she can reach all
the inaccessible heights. She is Muslim, as is the young woman who runs
our computer school. Both work for us on Friday morning, then go to the
mosque for midday and afternoon prayers.
Our computer school instructors look forward to our "Canadian treats"
which means quite simply taking them to lunch (usually about once a
month.) But since Ramadan has taken up almost all of October we have not
yet had our social time because Saida must fast from
sunrise to sunset: not even a sip of water passes her lips.
Our wonderful instructors (five girls) have kept the school running during
our absence. We had plaques made for them in Canada, to say 'for faithful
service' and brought them engraved bookmarks and a flash drive each. Plus
some new computer school T shirts in bright
colours. Happy smiles for several hours! We took each of their pictures
and as soon as we can get the printer to print in colour (another story)
we will be able to pass them along. One of our 'girls' has gone to
university thanks to money CHES received from the Cedar foundation.
Isabellah (whom we saw through High School) is doing Business Admin in
town and will likely leave us later next year. Vincent, whom we trained as
a repair technician, has started a small business and hopes to return to
Nairobi for a diploma in IT.
Saida and Bellah are also doing business studies but will take a little
longer to complete. We are sad to see them go, but so very happy for them
that young people, who had no hope of continuing their education or
finding a challenging and paying job, are well on
their way to independence.
Thanks to our good friend Isaiah we have found an apartment which we can
use for any of our instructors who do not live in town, as well as six
computer students. We will put two sets of bunk beds in each of two
bedrooms, provide table and chairs. The apartment is close to downtown and
therefore the school, has power, water and seems very secure. We are
delighted and so is our 'daughter' Isabellah.
Soon after our arrival I bounced out on the rutted road to visit my Model
School and met with the steering committee for the HIV/AIDS curriculum
which we are placing in a small portion of the time allotted to the
Pastoral program. All the teachers had used the
lesson modules and had insights to offer. However, it does not seem that
we need to make any changes to the outline, but we do need to compose a
preamble to warn other users about some of the things that might arise.
The good news is that last year this school lost four
girls to pregnancy and this year they have lost none. We hope that the
emphasis on information, caring for oneself, suggesting where to go for
help and assertiveness for girls have helped the children.
Other schools have asked for the document, but we haven't wanted to hand
it out until we know it's right. In the New Year we shall organize a
seminar and a session for preparing teaching aids and will make the
outline available to those who attend.
Also in the Model School I met with three of the five women who received a
small business loan earlier this year. Each of the five has paid back some
of her loan and one has paid enough to be able to access more money. After
some discussion, I made the decision to
support a poultry project for them with the assistance of the head master.
We are building a hen house, will buy fifty chicks and enough feed/vet
bill coverage for six months, until the hens start to lay. The project
will be on school property (where there is a watchman) and the five micro
loan ladies will look after them & share the profits. Only the cost of the
chicks will have to be repaid. All the ladies are willing to do this, and
also want to continue with their own small businesses.
I have just returned from a week in Ethiopia with Rotary Polio Plus, but
will send a separate account of what I saw and did.
Rod is out today looking at well sites. As many of you know, we have seven
wells funded to be placed in villages. We have been held up a week or so
because Rod had a few days in hospital for his heart flutter (another
experience to add to our list-the hospital, not the
flutter-) and our vehicle needed some work finished while under warranty
from the last time. It took a week to get it done, but some things were
not corrected. (TIA-this is Africa)
My Kenyan committee has done wonderful work on the Virtues project
(positive discipline and restorative justice in school settings) and I
have a two day seminar this weekend for new participants. The great news
is that I will have trained and practicing teachers to assist. Later we
will also do some training in communities for families.
Otherwise all is well. The water situation has not improved, with often
just a trickle coming through, so we are thankful for the 'sun shower'
that we can fill. But the sun shines, the rooster crows faithfully while
it is still dark and the mullah begins his chant around 5 a..m. The
bougainvillea is blinding in its many colours and the jacaranda casts
purple shade. There s fresh pineapple, papaya and mango in the market and
all communities have just finished days
of prayer as students prepare for the very important leaving exams
in both elementary and secondary schools. We are looking forward to a busy
and exciting time until the end of March next year.