"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.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Thursday-Friday, October 17-18, 2019

Thrusday, October 17, 2019

Our plan was breakfast at 6:30am, depart at 7.  I was down at the dining area at 6:15.  We left at 7:45.  I watch in Kenya is a bangle.
Jack was driving again… his Toyota Probox waiting at the departure area.  This is normally a 2 hour drive.  He got us here in 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Crazy.  Let’s see if he can duplicate that success.
He couldn’t.  Still, one hour 35 minutes is very respectable.  We went directly to the meeting with Madam Wanjiko, the county education officer.  We met her at a restaurant, as she was having a meeting immediately following ours. 
She ordered something called “dawa.”  I’d never seen it before, and inquired.  It’s a mixture of ginger, water, honey and garlic.  You had me at, “ginger.”  I had to try it, so I ordered one myself.  It was absolutely delicious.  Even with the garlic.  If you’ve ever had a Stoney in Kenya, it’s like that, only hot.  The ginger can take your breath away if you’re not careful.  BTW, “dawa” means, “medicine.”
Madam Wanjiko was wonderful.  I relayed the conversations with Madam Tiampati and her needs vs wants for desks (which they actually call lockers) and beds and the dormitory.  Let’s cut to the chase.  She LOVED the idea for the “box” dorm to compete with the fancy shmancy dormitory that Entumot finished.  Oops.  She didn’t know that Entumto finished it.  “Why didn’t they come to me first, like you are doing?”  I couldn’t answer that, and neither could Isaac.  We just steamrolled ahead.  She said she’d take care of the desks and go visit the school to ensure everything is, “The way it should be.”  She is a very strong, very intelligent woman, who wants to see this school succeed.  I also explained that the school really needs to succeed because if they don’t, Entumoto may have to go elsewhere to build a clinic.  Then I hit her up for the primary school, too.  Karl had said that the school had fallen into disrepair after the orginal headmaster retired.   I explained to him exactly how I was going to present it to Madam Officer Manjiko.  “broken windows can be repaired easily, but if it’s an issue with he teachers or the head teacher, that is something that only you can decide.  It’s important, however, for the primary school to succeed because they are the feeder for the secondary school.  If both prove successful, they will bring about a clinic to care for the health and welfare of not only the students, but the entire community.”  It was the easiest sales pitch I ever made, and Isaac and I both believe it.  Now Madam Manjiko does to and I have confidence that she’ll be in both schools before the end of the month.
Good news, we learned that Vivian Mpeti (who was the health officer we dealt with for the maternity) has returned to the position after a brief departmental change.  Sadly, she wasn’t available.  When i say “she wasn’t available” I mean she wasn’t in the office.  Isaac can handle that one, though, so I’m not worried.  
We then went back to the Park Villa so I cold shower and change.  It had only been a few hours, but I was covered with dust from the drive on the mara road.  Dapash had them take me right to the room I was staying in - he remembered that I loved the shower. I still did.  When I came back downstairs, a decision was made to eat lunch there before heading to Nairobi to visit with the National Bank of Kenya.  While we sat eating goat and drinking a White Cap, we tried several phone calls.  None were fruitful.  NBK had set the deadline for September 30th, and there were no extensions.  They relayed stories of people have 500 of the 1,000ksh notes and they weren’t converted either.  I still have a trick up my sleeve, so my fingers are still crossed.  
Jacks won’t be taking us to Nairobi, neither will Samuel.  This time, it’s Isaac, whom I affectionately refer to as #2 (as in Isaac #2 for this playing at home).   He was great!  He was without a doubt the safest driver (besides Isaac) that I’ve ever had as our pilot.  We got through the Rift Valley and over the escarpment in record time.  Granted, he used both sides of the street, and occasionally both shoulders, but I never felt nervous at all!  IT really was great!  Before I forget, we stopped to do some shopping before leaving for Nairobi.  We went to several stores until I found exactly what I was looking for.  A couple of the shops were uncooperative, but the last one relented.  He was the one that got the money.  Similarly with the “special” shop where I found some beautiful carvings for Andrea.  Okay, now we can go to Nairobi.
We stopped in Karen at the Galleria Mall to have dinner before heading to the airport.  We went to the place we normally do although I suggested we go to Java instead.  I’ve been there before, and they have killer milkshakes… the prices are more reasonable, too.  Isaac said, “Let’s go to the regular one,” so we did.  It didn’t last.  Both Isaac’s opened the menu (which had gotten smaller) and I could see their eyes move across the items to see the price.  When they both looked up at each other, I knew we’d be leaving, and we did.  We headed over to Java where I got a strawberry milkshake and mushroom chicken.  Isaac got a veteran platter (I judged him harshly) and Isaac #2 got what looked like a turnover stuffed with ground meat.  We all loved the meals, and laughed telling stories as we ate.  We finished and headed to the car where I packed the purchased items into space in my suitcase.  Twende.
We parked the car in the garage and both Isaac’s took a bag and walked me to the gate.  We Facetimed Andrea so that she knew that Isaac got me here safely… it’s become something of a ritual.  I hung up the phone and turned toward my friend.  This would be the second time I heard Isaac’s voice crack.  “I’m going to miss you my brother,” he said softly, insisting that I call him as soon as I land in Rochester.  “I will, brother.  We will be together again in 4 months time.”  We gave each other a big, long hug.  “I miss you already, and I haven’t even left yet.”  He smiled, gave me a high five and watched me walk into the terminal.

The flights to Amsterdam and Detroit are behind me, and now I’m just waiting for my flight to Rochester.  I slept 5 hours of the 8 hour flight to Shiphol, and watched movies all the way to Detroit.  I highly recommend the following:  Alita: Battle Angel, Longshot (I laughed out loud A LOT at that one), Avengers: End Game.  The first two were new ones, not the last one.  We should be boarding the plane to Rochester, soon, so I’ll be signing off.  I know I need to add pictures.  That, however, will have to wait.  When I do get them posted, I hope they make the stories come to life.  Now I just want to be home.  When I get there, all will be well.

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