We were ready to go and most of the group was outside. I locked my door and started heading to the exit when Kevin came running down the hall, "go back! Go back!" he was calling. He then informed me that he had inadvertently placed his tooth brush under the water faucet before placing it in his mouth. Big mistake! He started a dose of Immodium, and told him to wait an hour before taking the supercharged anti-biotic. We gave him the option of taking the van to school because normally it takes about 30 minutes before the effects of his behavior would have their consequences. One hour later, he took the anti-biotic. He never had an issue, and now thinks he's immune. I ensured him that he is not.
Karen chose to take the van as she had a headache this morning. It was gone by the time we got to the school. Before we left we were treated to a bunch of monkeys playing outside the guest house, just above our heads. Amie and Sam
The walk was nice. It had rained overnight and into the morning so it was another relatively cool day. I don't think it got above 75, but it was very humid. Children continued to spill out of their homes yelling, "Mzungo, mzungo!" as we passed by. We stopped for a handshake, a smile and a picture. Not all of them are as eager. The younger ones have a tendancy to be a bit spooked. Yesterday, Andrea came upon a cute little girl who was looking at us inquisitively. Andrea squatted down to her level and extended her hand. The girl sheepishly did the same, and just before Andrea to her hand, she took a deep breath as if she wasn't sure of the consequences. Ann said she didn't exhale until she let go of her hand. Another myth dispelled.
Today we were coming down a steep hill before a stream wear two young boys were playing. The older one was smiling, the younger one, probably 2 years old, was not. The closer we got, the louder he screamed until he fled into the thick brush. He was hiding behind his eyes behind a bottle of milk as we passed.
We passed to the left of the primary school and headed directly to the clinic. Karen was smiling and laughing with Isaac as we approached. She was feeling much better. We had a bit of time, so we went down to the primary school to say "hello" to anyone that would listen. The children came out in droves.
It's touching to see Wendy find Amie almost as soon as she sets foot on the school grounds. It's as if she sense when she's there. And Wendy's not shy at all. She always has a wide smile and approaches Amie without hesitation. Amie eats it all up. She loves this little girl with all her heart... I truly believe that the feeling's mutual. After a short time passed, we returned to the clinic to do some more work. The same can certainly said about Andrea & Susan and Karen and Emmah. I love watching them, because when they're together, the complete joy they share is palpable.
We returned to do some more work, but there's always time for a little clowning around.
While we worked, Jactun was busy finishing up with the remainder of Hanna's Home. Again, the finished product was beautiful.
Kevin and I had to attend a clinic committee meeting at 10 (we were told to be punctual), which gave us 30 minutes to get everyone started planting more trees and leveling some ground. We also had to stop for the customary Kenyan tea. The 8 of us sat in one of the clinic rooms drinking scalding hot tea and eating ground nuts and bread. The chief arrived, and sat inside with us. Peter is an engaging man, probably in his mid 60s. He's the lowest rung of a very long political ladder. He had been to the US on several occastions and spoke of those visits fondly. He had been to North and South Carolina, and Washington DC. He was the one that finally told us what those huge grubs were that we found while planting on Saturday. We were told that they were the females that give birth to all the ants. Nasty, nasty, nasty. What was even more gross was what happened earlier in the morning. Richie picked one up and threw it at Kevin. Kevin was holding a spade, and swung at the larvae like it was a baseball. He connected and the thing blew apart... some of it landed in Richie's mouth. If his mother's reading this, I'm sure she'll be thrilled.
Almost two hours later (11:50) the chairman arrived. Welcome to Kenya. In that time, the group decided to climb the mountain behind the school. Andrea will tell you it was a hill, but seriously, it's a mountain. Karen was going on the climb, so Andrea and I thought it better that Kevin accompany her. Sam Oguso ("my height") took them up along with Benson, one of the local boys. Sam has taken us up many times, and we've gone over the hill to the other side into Luyaland. The Luo live on one side of the mountain, the Luya on the other. They fought like wild dogs for centuries, and they still don't get along very well. It's a peaceful co-existence... until I say "Oyaoreh" to a Luya. They get offended when you speak Luo to them, and they don't hesitate to give you a dirty look.
The meeting went well. We began with a prayer, then the Chairman (John Ogugo) thanked us for the next 30 minutes. He sung the praises of those on the other side of the world that support us just as much as he praised the entire group for returning year after year. He spoke about the way in which this entire compound looked before Jim and I arrived, and how it looks today. I chose to talk about what it will look like in 5 years (hopefully the trees will be at least 3' tall by then). I then thanked them for their hard work and dedication to the community and our projects. This group is not full of spring chickens. John will be 70 next year, and although he's the oldest, the others aren't far behind. Despite their age, they all helped! Whether using a jambe (hoe) or panga (machete) or spade (shovel), they all were working side by side with us. And when it was time for lunch, their work continued because they walked home to make it and bring it back. To ensure the point was made, I told them, "Thank you for not waiting for us to come here and do things for you. Thank you for your initiative." After all, they paid for the fence and installation and they paid for the gutters and tanks. We ended the meeting by giving them the Building Futures baseball hats that Andrea had made. They were very well received, and I knew they would be because they still wear their 5k for Kenya shirts proudly.
We went back outside for a photo of the group, then waited for everyone to return from the mountain. Before I moved to the other side of the clinic, Joyce came over with a small bag of gifts from the committee for me and my family. I was presented with a Kenyan belt, Andrea and Katie were given Kenyan wraps (to be, "worn in the kitchen") and Kevin and Karen were given jewelry. I thanked them all for their generosity and moved between the clinic and Hannah's Home. The chief was the first one to spot them. They had already begun their way down, and thank goodness they were wearing bright colors. Kevin was in orange, Katie in purple, and Andrea was wearing a bright, sky blue. Amie and Sam were both in white, as was Karen. They were specks on the landscape that was very lush. They would disappear behind the leaves as they walked, and Job and I would try to spot them as they emerged behind huge boulders that dotted the mount side (yes, I said "mountain," again). It seemed to take forever for them to come down. Another reason why I think it's a mountain! It doesn't take long to climb a hill!
Once everyone made it down, we went over to the secondary school for lunch. It's not easy climbing that mountain... the fact is, most of the people in this community have never done it, so they're usually very impressed when we do. The climb isn't without incident, either. This time, everyone had scratches from the thorn bushes you encounter on your way up... and again down. A chance to sit, relax, drink a water and have some lunch was a welcome break from the prior three hours. The committee members again gave thanks for our help; this time, with everyone present. Joyce helped Andrea and Katie tie on their "wraps" and took a minute for a photo.
Sam took this opportunity to introduce us to his twins, Terry and Moses, then walked us to the van. This time, Kevin and Richie got in, the rest of them came with us, including Sam. We were thankful that he did, because he showed us a shortcut. During the majority of the walk, Karen was the pied piper... she had a whole gaggle of elementary students following her. The giggled the entire time.
Dinner was ready for us when we got back, and afterwards, everyone slept peacefully. We knew we'd be returning tomorrow, so we wanted to make sure we were well rested.