"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.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Friday November 16, 2018, Part 2

Friday, November 16, Part 2

Royale Rooms... I'm on the end
I remembered what Isaac said and surprisingly I didn’t have to ask him. It was last night as we each had a plate of chips (French fries) at midnight in the restaurant at the Royale. By the way, midnight is the perfecttime for a plate of fries – note to self, get a deep fryer so Andrea can make me fries at midnight.  Second note to self – don’t forget to keep potatoes on-hand. 
Anyway, we were discussing the scheduling which is always the trickiest thing here.  Time runs differently.  We always have to plan on things going “south” and having to circle back with an official that didn’t show up for a meeting, or start late because materials weren’t ready.  It was then that Isaac said, “Everyone in U.S. has watches.  Do you know what we call watches here?  Bangles.”  At 1am, after a plate of chips (and maybe a beer), it’s hilarious. 
6am came early.  I was in a deep sleep when the alarm went off, but once my eyes opened, I was up. I sorted through my things moving items from my pack to the luggage and visa-versa.  My backpack must have lost 20lbs. I turned on the hot water heater before I started re-organizing, and after 20 minutes, it still wasn’t heating, so I went back to packing.  It’s probably in the 60’s here overnight, and it will climb to 80 quite rapidly.  A hot shower in the cool air always feels better, but I’m afraid that had to wait until tomorrow morning.  It’s still just tepid at best and the showerhead isn’t making that telltale hissing sound that you usually hear when it’s working properly.  I made a mental note to check the room in Narok to make sure it works before settling in.  I failed to do that last night.  I blame it on the chips (and maybe a beer).  We checked out and were on our way.  Before I forget, Caroline, one of the chambermaids at the Royale, came running up to me and asked about Andrea and Karen by name.  She sends you her love and looks forward to seeing you again soon.
The ride to Narok was long and dry.  They haven’t had rain for quite some time, and the strong wind wasn’t helping the situation.  Dust was blowing everywhere, but the road wasn’t bumpy – it was a good trade off. I was getting sleepy, and began to yawn. I apparently did a very poor job of it, because at Isaac finally said, “Adam, did you know that when a lion yawns twice after the next yawn he is going to sleep.”   It was then that I started asking questions in the hope that it would help me stay awake.  It worked. Well, it pretty much worked.  We saw an unusual amount of trucks that were broken down.  When I asked Issac, he said that some of them were merely wiatiing for the police to go on lunch so that they could continue driving without “have to pay any tax.” Makes sense, too.  The police charge a “tax” to any and all commercial vehicles.  It’s quite a racket.  They pull up to a spot on a major road, throw spikes in the road and watch the money roll in! 
The lorries that did continue on the road through the Rift Valley spewed thick black smoke as their diesel engines strained up the mountainside. Isaac would close the windows whenever we got stuck behind one saying, “This is poison to Karen.”  It sure is… Andrea, too.  
At one point we were behind a lorry whose cargo was a group of young men going to retrieve sand.  They make the trip from Narok 10 times per day, filling the truck with sand, driving back to empty it, then returning to do it all again.  Yup, ten times/day.
I wasn’t fast enough with my camera, but I saw something I’ve never seen before.  Villagers had shucked corn spread out all over tarps on the ground.  The areas appeared to be about 20’ wide and 40’ long. It sits there in the sun to dry before being shipped to a manufacturer to be ground into corn meal.  While I’ve seen that scene plenty of times, I’ve never seen this:  a group of men walkgin through the corn to move it around and speed up the drying process. Yes, they were wearing their shoes. No, I don’t think they cleaned their shoes first.  Enough with the questions!
We saw the tracks that they’re installing to carry people from Mombasa (east coast) into Narok and Nairobi.  I found it pretty interesting.  We passed acres and acres of dry soil that had these bright green shrubs all over the place.  As it turns out, they have Morning Glories in Kenya.  Nobody eats them (and by “nobody” I mean the cows and goats), so they just grow like weeds.  We drove through the rift valley passing kiosks of women and men selling their fruits and vegetables.  I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to get a shot of a man running alongside a lorry as he tried to exchange some bananas for cash.  We also passed through 3 or 4 town that were bustling with people.
Then the countdown began.  NRK 33 (Narok, 33 kilomters).  Without a repeating differential, the 5 signs counted down until the last sign that said, NRK 06.  The timing of our arrival at Dream King Hotel was good because my legs were still sore from flights the day before.  I exited the car gingerly and stretched my legs and, not so gingerly, cracked my back. If this is your first experience with my blog, I’ll tell you that a “hotel” in Kenya is a restaurant.  In western Kenya, a “guest house” is a hotel, but here in Narok County, “lodging” follows the name.  Dream King is just down the road from the Park Villa where I will be spending my first night… more on that later.  We then entered a small room outside of the restaurant.  This is somewhat common here.  It’s nice because it’s away from the main room where there’s a tendency to play loud music.  I don’t know how anyone can carry on a conversation!  They speak quite softly as it is.  Hearing them over the music is impossible.
Sharon and Nasinkoi were seated with their mothers, and their teacher Veronica was also with them.  We talked for quite some time as I sipped on a Coke waiting for a caffeine rush that never arrived.  Both mothers asked about Andrea and Karen and when they would be coming back.  Both mothers were recovering after brief illnesses. Sharon’s mother was having chest issues, and Nasinkoi’s mother was recovering from something similar.  
They brought along reports from the girl’s school in Nakuru.  I explained that we plan on visiting them there when we come back, and that drew wide smiles and applause from everyone present. While reading the reports, I noticed that Nasinkoi’s first name was Esther.  It’s common to be called by your last name here, and that was the case with EstherNasinkoi.  Not so much with Sharon whose last name is Chumangat.  The reports were wonderful, full of compliments with how well the girls adjusted and continue to perform, both educationally and physically.  There were samples of some of their schoolwork in each of their packets, and I noticed that Nasinkoi’s writing was larger and almost looked blurred.  It didn’t take long before I found out that she also needs to get checked for glasses. Although her sight is not as bad as Sharon’s, we’ll have them both tested together before school starts up again in January.  We talked for awhile more discussing what there needs were for the upcoming semester. Isaac and I will go shopping and pick up the essentials so their mothers don’t have to worry.  The list includes bath soap, laundry soap, lotion, toothpaste/toothbrush, shoe polish, tissues, pads and underpants.  I’ll have to handle the “pad” portion.  Isaac was visibly distressed every time the word was spoken. Once we figured where to add that into our schedule, we headed to the main building for lunch.  It was my first Kenyan buffet, and it was delicious.  I’m a little disappointed that I’ve been here for 2 days and I haven’t had any goat yet.  Patience, Adam, patience.  
We laughed and told stories through lunch.  Isaac and I were the only men with them, so I took the opportunity to introduce the moms to the US notion of “Ladies first.” I’m not sure how exact the translation was, but they seemed to be very accepting of the idea. Everyone was full, and Nasinkoi’s mother fell asleep at the table.  Poor thing. I was right there with her; my head was just too far from the table.  We said our goodbye’s with everyone knowing that we would see them again on Tuesday as we head back to Nairobi from Masai Mara.
Sadly, it looks like there’s going to have to be a Friday, part 3.  It’s 11:30pm and I’m struggling to stay awake. My apologies.  We’re starting a little later tomorrow so I should be able to get at least 7 hours of sleep after a phone call to Andrea.  I miss them all terribly.  I’m not sorry I missed the foot of snow they got today, but I do miss them.  I’ll be sure get some pictures loaded before I sign off, too.  Thanks for hanging with me.

Here's a shot of the entire bathroom... just so
you can get a better idea of what the set up is.
Yeah, it's easier to see a picture... possibly more
disturbing, but definitely easier than describing.

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