May 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
When I departed for Africa, I could never have guessed that it would be here I would learn to milk a cow, but with warmed hands, I can now say I am able. We received a donation specifically for the purchase of two cows to produce milk for the kids and staff, with the specification that they be named Flossy and Buttercup. Long story short, Flossy has arrived, bearing a calf and plenty of milk, and Buttercup is soon behind. They each produce around 10 liters of milk per day (!!!) and require both a morning and evening tug. I am still enamored by their arrival. It has been a riot for all of us.
My week has been equally exciting and successful, with a mass of work completed for our Day of the African Child event on June 12th and a visit to Nairobi’s Maasai Market. I spent the week meeting with various political figures and administration of Njabini to get the necessary approval and endorsement for the event. The task was no doubt daunting, but a great benchmark! We got a hand written endorsement from the District Education Officer to distribute to schools and finalized the details of a poetry contest for area children on the theme of human rights and education as they relate to Day of the African Child, motivating teachers to prepare the children fitfully on these topics. Letters, flyers, and endorsements have been successfully delivered to every primary and secondary school in the area, so the contest is on and the buzz is hopefully seeding. On top of this, our entire Flying Kites office from the U.S. will be coming over for the event, so I am beyond excited to meet all the wonderful people I work with and constantly hear stories about and for us all to flex our strength and presence together in this community!
Kenyans schedule meetings primarily on the weekend, so after a busy Saturday and Sunday, I decided to take Tuesday to head into Nairobi and get a few final gifts to send home with Dave Betts, who arrives tomorrow for a night in our little country nook before heading back to the States for a month or so. I caught a Tulaga (a large bus that looks like it should be carrying The Muppets) from Njabini to Nairobi with Joyce, one of our matrons, and Benson, one of our children, who both had doctor appointments in town, and with their assistance I wound my way to the Maasai Market. I was totally amazed by it! It is a very strange set up: a large dirt parking along side a dirty river, with vendors sitting on the ground beneath umbrellas; their merchandise fanned out across a blanket. The quality and uniqueness of the art here though is unmatched. I was so impressed. The salesmen who ‘escort’ you through the market are viscous barterers and the negotiation process took longer than the actual shopping, but it was well worth the battle. I made it out with a grip of beautiful, hand-carved, hand-stitched, hand-everything gifts, all of will remain unnamed until they reach their coming owners! But for myself, I was able to find a soapstone chessboard with hand carved African pieces, which I am in love with. I played my first game on it tonight against Sarah, unfortunately leaving my record with a stained 0-1 start. I wish Ben Lyman was here for me to beat.
My return from Nairobi on Tuesday marked the beginning of a very noticeable shift in the weather. It rained so hard the roads were washed out in Njabini to a point that I nearly had to sleep in town, and Benson and Joyce who were a few hours behind me did. In Kenya, May is the equivalent of November back home, so I have seamlessly cruised from one stretch of winter and spring rain to the beginning of yet another ‘winter’ and stretch of spring rain. We had to cancel school for a day this week because the roads were so wrecked our Land Rover was unable to navigate the mud and spent the night camped out in the middle of the road. Who would have thought enough mud in the African winter makes for the equivalent of a snow day in America? I can tell you the kids treat it with no less enthusiasm!
I feel like a freshman again in Seattle, when it rained one day short of the all time record for number of consecutive days with rain, was then dry for one day, and proceeded to set the record with room to spare. It’s taken some rallying this time, but I’m doing my best to still enjoy the rain! It reminds me of home.
I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of summer, looking forward to the weekend ahead! I am so grateful for your caring and taking time to check in on me! You are blessed and loved!