"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Building Futures, Inc.

Building Futures, Inc.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 17, 20100

This morning was a bit of a made up day because the bricks they delivered to MOPS were garbage. We sent them all back, but the only way to get good bricks was to go further away. They probably won't have bricks until after we leave. That's really sad, because i know many of the men here were very interested in helping to build. We weren't sure what to do, so we ended up volunteering to help one of the employees of the Maseno Mission Hospital. I can't remember his name, but he serves as what we would consider the head of public relations. He lives on the side of this mountain... this very steep mountain, and I don't know how he manages to get up and down with crutches. I had trouble, and I've got two good legs. The fact that I'm out of shape didn't help. We wandered through the university, and met up with Jessica's husband Steve. He then took us to meet this gentlemen, who sent his son with us to his home. As we started to climb, a young boy began to shadow us. Barefoot, wearing a leather jacket and shorts, he never made a sound, but he followed us right to where the house was. It was a pretty tough path, full of twists and turns, narrow paths, and hug rocks. But we did indeed make it. We were sweating pretty profusely.

The boy sat on a large stone next to us while we rested for a bit. Lillian tried to talk with him, but again, he never said a word. We learned that he doesn't go to school, and pretty much has the run of this mountain. He new numbers from 1-10, but struggled with the alphabet. Lillian would ask him what a number was, and he would write it on a sheet of paper. She then played catch with him. He started out pretty slow, and it was impossible to tell if he was enjoying himself. She gave him her sunglasses, which he wore proudly. They stayed on his face... probably long after he left, because she left them there for him.

This house was beautiful and the view was breathtaking. You could see a signifcant portion of Lake Victoria and beyond. These monstrous rocks peppered his property, and made for some beautiful pictures. Tim climbed up on one, and Katie had to follow. She needed a bit of a boost, but once she got on top, she was happy to be there. It made for some good pictures.

We were there to build bee stands... something a honey comb would sit on. Or at least that's the way I understood it. We climbed down another 50 feet to find some 3" diameter Eucalyptus trees. Katie, Karen, Lillian, Brent and Tim did most of the chopping down. The trees were about 13' high, and the only tool they had for chopping them down was a panga (machete). Everyone did a great job with it. Rick and I stayed close to the house because we were old and tired. After a rest, however, we joined the crew. Not before we ate some roasted peanuts that Rick brought, and some terriyaki beef jerky that Tim brought. We went down to where they were gathering the timbers they just cut down. Rick and I helped cut those pieces into 3' lengths. We then peeled the bark off, exposing the moist hard wood. it was kind of cool actually.

It was getting close to 1:30, and people were getting hungry so we departed to let a couple of other boys finish the work. When we left, they had 3 stands already completed, and they were going to make 5, so he was in pretty good shape. We took the opportunity to take some more photos before departing. Having Lake Victoria as a backdrop makes picture taking easy.

My camera's acting up again. It freezes, and tells me that I don't have a lens attached to the body, when that's obviously not the case. Looks like I'll be going back to Rowe when I get home. I'm just hoping that I can figure out how to fix it before we get to Masai Mara. We'll see.

We stopped at the Maseno Club on the way home, and had a road soda. The beverage service is great, but the food service...not so much. Jim and I know that the service is bad, but the group wanted a snack (it was 3:30, and the peanuts and jerky had already worn off). We ordered a couple of plates of fries. They arrived one hour later. In the meantime, we had discussions about traveling, and the general consensus was that Katie should go through a study abroad program out of Switzerland. At that point, I told them all that I was never traveling with any of them again. Katie loved every minute of it. To be honest, much of the conversation for the 2 hours we were there was directed at her. She and Tim were trading stories about traveling, and I just sat there and shook my head. I forgot to take pictures of the Maseno Club, so hopefully katie has some that I can put up to show you... she doesn't have much time for blogging, or she'd probably have them up already.

We got back to the guest house at 5:30, and 5 minutes later, the heavens opened up and it began to pour! The other group decided to hike up a mountain behind the hospital despite Jim's concern about the rain. They forged ahead anyway, and Jim had to go pick them up to get them back her by 6:30. The rain apparently slowed them down, and the people here at the guest house made dinner to be served at 6. they pushed it back to 6:45 after a commitment from Jim that he would drive them home afterwards. I don't think he even had time to eat! Once everyone had a plate in front of them, it was time for Betty and Rhoda (Guest House employees) to leave. Daniel was the only one left. He insisted on cleaning up by himself.

We've been looking for 5 liter bottles of water, but everyone seems to be out. We haven't had time to go to Kisumu to pick any up because Jim's been running around shuttling people back and forth. He came back tonight and said, "I feel like I haven't seen you in 2 days." We're so used to spending so much time together during our trips here, that now when we're busy, we don't say much to each other. I'm sure that tomorrow we'll be able to chat. We're heading to MOPS to climb a little of the mountain behind the school, then play baseball. The rest of the group will be touring Aga Kahn Hospital and the Provincial Hospital. They'll have lunch at the "hotels" along Lake Victoria. Someone must have made a bad translation, because every one of the hotels is actually an open air restaurant. They serve the tilapia that are so plentiful in the lake. They're big fish (samaki kubwa), and absolutely delicious. I gave the group I was with today a rundown on what to expect to see. We'll be meeting up with them at the Masai Market. That's where you get the best stuff! Rosewood carvings, soapstone pieces, masks, traditional Kenyan clothing and jewelery... all at ridiculously low prices! Katie's been looking forward to this all week. Truth be told, I have, too.

Well, everyone's in bed, and we're leaving at 6:30 tomorrow. So far, the weather's been cooperating, but I don't want to be climbing that hill in the sun. My goal is to get everyone up there and back to the school by 9/9:30. Shouldn't be a problem... I'm knocking on wood right now. I'm turning in now... exhausted again, and I'll be able to get 6 hours of sleep before waking up to skype with Andrea, Kevin and Karen. I love 'em!

Tomorrow's is Karen's birthday! (Tuesday, 18th) Please say, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to her. It's stinks not being there for that, or the 2 Junior Dances and the Senior Prom that I missed for Kevin. Andrea's handling it all like a pro, and posting pictures for me to see. Time seems to be passing faster and faster with each passing day, so before you know it, I'll be on a plane to Dubais!

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