"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.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Well, I know I signed off because I was falling asleep, and I did, but it was short-lived. Someone came home late lastnight and Kenya doesn’t waste money on WD40.  This would be a great place to record sound effects for a horror movie. I was laying there waiting to fall back asleep when I realized I didn’t have my sim card holders.  You see, each sim card comes attached to a credit card size piece of plastic.  On that card is your phone number and, more importantly, your PIN that allows you access to the new number.  Normally, I write it down or record it someplace in case I lose it.  We’ll, we got these cards at 1:30am and I wasn’t even considering that at the time, so I didn’t do what I normally do.  So here I am in bed, wondering what I did with those cards.  Poor decision #1.  I got up and started looking for them.  I searched everywhere in my backpack, removing every item.  Nothing.  Now I’m starting to panic.  Without those cards, I can’t add minutes/data to my phone or my modem.  Poor Decision #2  Let’s look in my suitcase.  Every item came out.  Nothing. Now I’m really getting upset. Maybe it fell out of my pocket in Isaac’s car.  Maybe it fell out of my pocket in the restaurant last night.  Oh boy. Long story short, I fell asleep at about 2am and woke up on my own at 6am.  Poor Decision #3.  Why try to go back to sleep when you can go through the back pack and suitcase you ransacked 4 hours ago?!  Schmuck. Still no cards, so I hopped in the shower and packed everything back up.  I finished typing yesterday’s blog shortly before Isaac called to say he was on his way to pick me.  Rather than go downstairs for a fried egg, I broke into the “survival pack” that Andrea and Karen put together for me.  I opened the peanut butter Ritz crackers and did the same with the grape jelly. Looking back, I’m surprised that I only ate one package.  They were fabulous.  I loved them as a kid and I still love them as an adult(ish person).
Isaac came up to my room with some bags that we could fill with items for him and his family, as well as a bag for Veronica and her students.  I brought him up to date on my earlier hysterics, and he said, “Don’t worry Ah-dahm, we weel  find them.” This guy oozes “hakuna matata.” Yes, it does really mean “No worries.”
You won't find this in Wegmans
We went downstairs with the bags and checked his car to see if they had fallen under the seat.  No luck. He called the restaurant from last night, then went downstairs where we stopped for a chai before heading out for dinner.  Nothing. Then we WENT to the restaurant from last night.  No cards. He said, we can go to the safaricom branch at Tuskies (the local “Wegmans”) and they can provide you with a new pin and check the balances on your cards.  He also said it might take awhile.  Nuts, but what choice did I have?  We got out of the car and took two steps toward the shopping center when I said, “Can you open the trunk?  I want to look in one more spot?”  I opened my back, opened a small zippered case, and there they were!  Yes, schmuck.  A heavy sigh rolled across the entire continent.  Isaac was smiling with joy as we continued inside.  I looked at him and said, “You have my wallet, right?”   The smile left his face and he stopped dead in his tracks.  “No, Adam.” I smiled and he slapped my back and said, “Don’t ay-vah doo that to me again!”  We kept on laughing as Tatiana pushed the cart that we filled with groceries for Isaac’s parents.  While they bagged the groceries, I ran to the ATM.  Everything was firing on all cylinders.  I met them at the car just as they finished loading, and then we were off to see his parents.
We got about 5 minutes from the store when Leah said, “Ah-dahm, do you like pooding?” “Who doesn’t like pooding?” I thought to myself.  “Yes, I do,” I said.  She reached forward and handed me a something that looked nothing like pudding. Instead, it was a plastic container (like Tupperware) that contained slices of watermelon, bananas and avocados with a “tuft” of shredded beet root on top.  The utensil of choice… a toothpick.  Now I have to tell you, I was skeptical.  You can’t judge a book by its cover.  I’ll preface this by saying that the avocados in this country are amazing. I’d eat them like an apple without batting an eye.  Granted, using a toothpick was a bit of a challenge, but I managed.  It really was quite good.  I love beets, too, so that was just a bonus.  I tried to describe US pudding to them.  Epic fail.  I can’t think of anything that has the same consistency here, so I gave up and said, “You’ll have to come to America.”  They said, “Ok.”
It was a dusty 40 minute ride to his parents and his father, as usual, was the first to emerge from the house to greet us.  Isaac’s parents still live very modestly, as do his brothers who also have homes on adjacent plots.  Isaac’s older brother David was here today.  Last year we were fortunate enough to bump into him as we were headed into Masai Mara.  He was traveling in the opposite direction when Isaac spotted him so we pulled the cars over and stopped to chat.  Katie and I first met David on our first trip with the nurses from St. John Fisher College. They’re actually coming with a new group in two weeks.
We entered the family home and sat down, quickly trading updates on our families. Isaac’s mom had a compound fracture to her left ankle, and was still recovering.  She still on crutches but she says it’s okay.  She brought out x-rays for us to see.  It did not look okay - 7 screws and a metal plate.  She’s a tough lady!  His father is starting to show signs of aging.  His back has begun to bother him, and he is breathing is sometimes labored.  He’ll waiting for the nurses to arrive in two weeks.  Vivian (Cunningham) will be happy to take a look at him.  
We had lunch that consisted of goat stew, mashed potatoes mixed with corn and wild melon leaves, and, of course, skumawiki.  I remembered to take a picture this time!
When lunch was over, Isaac’s dad brought out some old coins that he had.  We’ve been trying to locate some of the larger coins that were used prior to 1979, and he had a few that enabled me to see the size that I needed.  Now the hunt begins to find some that are less circulated.  He had a couple that were from 1924!  That was well before the British left.  We told stories and joked back and forth with Isaac acting as interpreter.  Soon, it was time to take a walk along their compound.  There are some birds and monkeys indigenous to the forests here, and I always like to see them.
Columbus monkeys

They weren’t close.  As we walked, David took the lead which was nice because it gave me a different perspective on the property.  Halfway through the journey, Isaac turned and said, “I’m glad my dahd chose to stay home thees time.”  So was I. David talked about the vegetables 

and fruits and their harvesting dates as we passed them.  He pointed out his cows and chickens and goats.  We then reached the edge of the forest and entered without slowing down.  It was quite a while 

before we made it to the area where the black and white Colombus monkeys are.  I saw them for the first time last year when Andrea and Karen were here.  They looked just as cool this time.  I got some great shots, although focusing is very difficult because they move very quickly.
Syke monkey
We then went further in which also meant crossed some very steep reaines.  It was worth it, though. I got to see my first (and second) Syke monkey.  They were pretty neat too.  It’s amazing to see how quickly they move through the trees.  David and Isaac took turns trying to throw sticks into the trees to get them to move from their purches.  They were very successful!  Next time, I’ll bring them a sling shot… it should be much easier.
On our way down into one of those ravines I mentioned earlier, David was holding onto Tati, but he slipped and lost his grip and Tati landed with a plunk into a muddy water hole.  She landed right on her behind and the mud was so thick that her legs disappeared immediately.  David pulled her out and placed her on dry land.  The sound it made was like pulling a boot of the mud.  Everybody was laughing by now, including Tatiana. Opposite the mud, on the other side of the dry spot, was  small pool of water that Tatiana was placed in to try and remove as much mud as possible. The mud was quite odiforous, therefore, so was Tati.  We continued on our journey back.  All-in-all, I think it was a 4 hour tour.  Ni me choka sana.  I am very tired.
Fortunatley, I have some pillowcase dresses for girls in the Massa village of Orobama, so I found the smallest one and gave it to Tatiana so she could change.  We then sat for a bit with his parents relaying the story of Tati’s “schlup!” and subsequent splash, took a quick photo, and continued to the car to start the drive home.
I couldn’t stay awake despite my best efforts. It was terrible. At one point I think my head hit the dashboard.  I won’t know for sure until tomorrow, but it wasn’t pretty.  I think I said before that I am staying at Isaac’s home, so when we arrived, they prepared the apartment for me and let me take a quick nap before dinner.  It was 7:30pm when I sat on the bed, and my feet were still on the floor when I woke up at 8:15.  I sat up and took a better look at my surroundings.  I’m in the equivalent of a studio apartment(although it’s referred to as a “house”) with a bed, couch and two chairs.  A small coffee table sits between them.  There’s a shower with hot water, although there is a blockage in the piping, so I’ll be showering in Isaac’s home tonight.  Hakuna matata.
At 8:30 Isaac came to get me and we had a meal of ugali, skumawiki and fish stew.  I failed to take a picture of this one. It’s much easier to describe ugali with a picture.  It’s basically corn meal that gets folded into water and heated.  The process continues until you have a huge steaming wad of ugali.  The stuff retains heat like nobody’s business.  I had to leave it on my plate to cool before touching it.  Ugali also serves as the utensils for this meal. I’ll try to get some better pics before the trip is through.
After dinner, I took a quick shower in Isaac’s bathroom and returned to my room to blog. I hung up with Andrea and Karen a little while ago.  They would have loved today.  Hiking and seeing animals… that’s a twofer.  In fact, while we were still at isaac’s parents, I was talking to David about coming back in February.  He said that we’d leave earlier in the morning because the monkeys are easier to find and see then.  I said, “That’s an awfully long walk to take so early in the morning.”  He responded with this: “No, we will take a kah to the ah-thah side and walk down.  It’s much closer.”  I was thinking “That would have been good to know earlier,” but instead said, “That’s great news!  I’ll let them know.”
They are just wonderful people who truly consider us as part of their family.  The feeling is mutual.  
I’ll leave you with two quotes from Isaac over the last couple days.  Perhaps I’ll try to add one each day because he says some funny stuff.
-      “Caleb already has a house so I want to build a house with a shoe rack because Tatiana is very cheeky.”
-      “We have to be careful (while driving) because people here are not normal.”
Isaac makes me smile.  
See you tomorrow everyone.

Oh my gosh! I almost forgot!  When I was showing a picture of Kevin to Leah, she said two things.  1.  "He sees hooj"  (he's huge) and 2.  "He looks just like Rodrigo!"  Rodrigo, pictured left is the star of an english dubbed latin soap opera called, "My Sweet Curse" about a woman who is cursed and the man who loves her (Rodrigo).  You be the judge...

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