November 24th, 2011

June 14th
We are continuing our exit from this country.  As stated yesterday we flew from Kakamega to Nairobi and today we fly out of Nairobi back to the states.  But first, we have a full day planned.

Today we got to go to the Parliament building and meet with a few officials (Millie and Wilberforce).  This is really more Valerie and Richard’s thing but they let us tag along.  🙂  We initially arrived at the parliament building and eventually found a place to park outside the area as they have no real “guest” parking for visitors.  We then proceeded to wait and wait in in the parking lot for at least an hour, I don’t know how long as I didn’t have a clock with me; but it was a long time in midday sun.  No shade and they wouldn’t let us in without a Member of Parliament’s Personal Assistant; preferably Millie’s assistant as she was who we were meeting.  Eventually it came through that there was a mix up and we just weren’t in the schedule for that morning.

After waiting long enough, we decided to try to see if the 2nd appointment with Wilberforce could receive us a bit early as we were already there and the first appointment didn’t pan out so well.  So in that process (which was somewhat complicated with sending messages back and forth) we found out that we had the appointments backwards.  We were actually very late for what was our 1st appointment with Wilberforce and our appointment with Millie wasn’t until the afternoon.  Oh dear.  Luckily, Wilberforce is a gracious gentleman and gave us some of his time despite having a full schedule and other commitments.  My impression of Wilberforce is that he is a genuine gentleman, nice, good dreams for what he can do.  That being said, he is also new to the office.  My hope is that he will stick with his guns and not bend and/or break like most politicians due in their political career.  Big dreams can often turn sour.  Wilberforce, I hope to God you keep your foundation!

We then left the Parliamentary building for awhile to find some sustenance and wait until our scheduled appointment with Millie.  We found a nice, neighboring restaurant where everyone essentially ordered the same thing; chicken (kuku) and chips.  I had kuku and chapati but it’s similar enough (fried tortillas instead of fries).

At the appointed time we headed over to the Parliament again to meet with Millie.  Her assistant came down to meet us and informed us that Millie would love for us to join her for lunch.  Doh!  Well, so as not to insult we graciously accepted and prepared ourselves to eat another full meal.  This was a fun experience as we got to eat in the MP “lunch room”.  Which is basically a 5 star restaurant (5 star in Kenya).  We waited for about 45 minutes at the table, not eating or ordering anything.  Valerie or Richard (I don’t remember who) was texting Millie’s assistant and she was keeping us somewhat up to date.  We weren’t quite sure what was going on at this point truthfully.  Eventually Millie’s assistant told us to go ahead and order food as Millie wouldn’t be eating with us.  So we ordered our grub, ate it and waited a bit longer.  Heather and I ordered the “Meat on bones” which was some weird translated name but it sounded good to us!  It was tasty, and it was meat on bones; with large arteries and everything.  Yowza.

Overall we waited about 1.5 hours at the table before heading up to meet Millie.  We met her in a private office.  I don’t know who normally worked in that office but it wasn’t Millie.  Either way we all stuffed in to the office and she came in a few minutes later.  She was a pleasant enough gal though some of her priorities seem a bit off.  One of her big things is that she’s setting up a conference to discuss the amount of time teenagers are spending on facebook.  Shoot, if those teens come from a rich enough family to afford the internet time necessary to sustain facebook I’d worry about something else.  Like the large slums just outside the city.  Sigh, politicians do tend to reside in their own warped world.  Hence my comments above about Wilburforce, let’s hope he keeps himself out in the real world.  Not to drag on Millie however, I’m pretty sure she is one of the better Members of Parliament as she did seem to care and spent a lot of time dealing with some of the female issues in Kenya.  But flack was deserved for the facebook thing.

After that we headed headed over to Juliette’s house for a feast!  It was supposed to be a light dinner but she prepared the Kenyan equivalent of thanksgiving.  It was fantastic, corn, chapapti, chicken, beef, mandazi, mango, samosas.  Yum.  Now Juliette, she is a good woman.  A widow who has done many great things with her lot in life.  She isn’t poor by Kenyan standards, keeps a nice standard of living but rather than isolating herself she keeps herself managing ~500 orphans and works on placing them in homes.  An emotionally tasking job to be sure. 

Juliette also works with a lot of gals on setting up their own businesses or things they can do to make a living.  One of the gals living with her (or visiting, not sure which) brought out some of her stuff to share.  She is an excellent seamstress and made a good array of dresses and shirts.  Heather found a really cute shirt but sadly it didn’t quite fit.  Teresa found a nice dress and purchased that one. 

After that we said our goodbyes and headed to the Nairobi Airport.  All is well that ends well.  Until next time!

Posted in Food, Nairobi |
June 18th, 2011

June 2nd
Today we visit the Lenana School, who will be the happy recipient of some funds to build a library and class rooms.  We came around and visited all the class rooms independently, saying high to the students and introducing ourselves.  I tried an introduction that asked if any students wanted to work with Metal (as that is what I do at work).  That question was met with an eerie silence, so I decided to not try that route again.  Next time I went with “I’m John and hairy like John the Baptist” while grabbing my sideburns.  Then at least I got some laughs.  Better than silence I must admit.

We also got the opportunity to pray over the 8th grade kids who were preparing to take their state examinations.  These examinations are like the SATs but to get into Secondary (High School).  If they do well they can get into better schools.  I believe most secondary schools are publicly funded, but good scores equal better school.  Secondary and University is the holy grail of nearly all kids down here.  Despite the fact that Kenya is actually over-educated as many adults with BA’s can’t find a job.  Similar to what is happening here in America.  I’ll keep comments on that to myself.  😉

EDIT:  Pictures of Lenana School are uploaded.  Pictures 1 through 4 of the Kenya 2011 Album

Posted in Children, Nairobi, Slums |
June 13th, 2011

June 13th
Sad day.  Today we really start to prep for leaving this country.  I woke up early at around 6am and ran a few errands with Mesh.  Got back at about 6:30 and at 7am we departed the Sheywe Hotel and headed for the Hampton Guest House.

We traveled for awhile to the Kakamega airport, which is the smallest airport I’ve had the pleasure of departing from.  Sadly I don’t have a good picture of it, but it is essentially one ~600sqr foot building adjoining a concrete runway.  Our plane was a small, ~20 person prop plane. See pictures below.

Kakamega Airport’s only building.
~20 person passenger prop plane. 
Heather and I are near the back.

The Hampton Guest House is a beautiful place to stay in Nairobi.  It has a wonderful feel to it, relatively modern construction, private, lots of beautiful landscaping.  Except, once again Heather and I had twin beds.  haha, oh well.  It’s only one night and it doesn’t bother us much.

Tourist time:  We dropped by the Nairobi deluxe mall.  I don’t remember what it’s actually called, but it is nice even when compared to US malls.  Excellent food, souvenir shops, and your typical mall variety.

Next we dropped by Karen to see Pastor Charles again.  We stayed at his church compound for awhile, doing I don’t know what.  I stayed in the van and had a great, lengthy conversation with Gerrison about education and homeschooling.  Homeschooling is starting to be a ‘thing’ in Kenya, but generally it is regarded as anti-social and not as good.  I attempted to explain my view that home-schoolers are seen as “weird” because generally the first people to do such a new thing are going to be fringe people anyways.  Meaning, those kids would have been “weird” whether homeschooled or public schooled.  Early adopters are by nature on the fringe; and again, as is often the case fringe people might be a bit ‘odd’ to some.  He disagreed in the end.

Lastly, we went and had dinner with Pastor Charles and the whole World Comp team for a closing board meeting.  It was a full table!  We all said some final words, I had some stuff prepared in my head but I got skipped, so I promptly became unprepared.  However, I was called to speak out of order a little later so my “speech” may have sounded a bit off, but I hope my points and desires came through.  I basically stated that the first time I came to Kenya I came expecting to see a destitute country full of people unable to do anything; but was generally pleased to find that there are huge amounts of very competent people.  In coming back, I simply just had to introduce my new wife to all my friends. 🙂

Posted in Kakamega, Nairobi, Travel |
June 12th, 2011

June 10th
More Olive Tree interviews today.  We interviewed a lady selling beans in the market place.  I hope she can stay in business as there were many bean sellers in that same area, I hope they can all stay in business somehow.  Back home in America that many people selling the same thing wouldn’t work out all that well.  Below is a picture of how beans are sold, I don’t remember the prices but it effectively goes like: 50cents for small can, 2dollars for large, .75cents for medium.  Excellent pricing scheme, by fixed volume instead of by weight – which is much costlier to do in terms of equipment.  As always, all the below pictures can be seen bigger when clicked.

Bean Stall

Next we visited a small shop in a residential area.  She was doing decent, great location as she was at a ‘Y’ in a “major” road zone.  A couple blocks off the main thoroughfare.  So hopefully she gets sales by saving people the time of walking all the way to the market or to the main street.  She seemed to be doing alright in business.

Thanks to the Lord for our next one.  We hadn’t planned on having another interview but one of the gals, who sells garments from bags and walks around near peoples homes, just happened to be walking by as we were walking towards another ladies house.  So we did an interview right there, and I got to pray for her.  Valerie bought a brown dress which just so happened to fit her quite perfectly.  Awesome job Lord!  There was a little boy watching us during this time who happened to be wearing men’s sized shoes.  They were probably the only shoes available to him at the time, so that is sad, but it was still an adorable picture.

Filling My Father’s Shoes.

The next lady we visited was a member of the finance group, though I’m not sure if she has a loan or has started a business.  But she let us use her house as a pitstop on our journey.  She was heavily pregnant so we prayed for her as well, and I guess she successfully had her baby 1-5 days later. Told you she was heavily pregnant!  As we left her house school just happened to be released so the road was utterly filled with kids.  While kids are always nice and they are always pleased to see white people (wazungu) it was a “nice” reminder of how we are generally viewed when I was walking with two boys and they asked for 50bob (shillings).  “Give me 50bob!”  My response was a natural “No”.  After which they asked “Give me 5bob and I will go eat”.  My response was still a “No” maybe with a 5 second lecture on working instead of begging as they ran off to find a more kind hearted white person (mzungu).  

Lastly, we did more interviews in Kathy and Cindi’s hotel room this evening.  I made the mistake of putting this down as yesterday’s evening activity; but it was actually today.  We had 7-8 gals over and did a round table interview.  Most of them are leaders in the Olive Tree and manage money, distribution, accountability, …. and are all outstanding ladies.  As the interviews commenced I mainly stayed in my room and read, but would venture in and out to see how they were doing.  Near the end I went to grab menus from the hotel’s restaurant and collected a list of what people wanted for dinner then went back and ordered it.  I don’t know what the bill equated to, probably $175 for 15 people or so.  Room service for 15 people worked out to be 500 shillings, which at the time was approximately $6-7.  Not to shabby!

Posted in Children, Kakamega |
June 12th, 2011

June 12th
Church Today!  Sizable church service at the Kakamega PEFA Church.  Pastor Richard spoke about producing fruit, or as he would say, frrrrrrruit with a rolling “r” that is quite difficult to type.  During the worship part of service there was a large dancing worm that was created – people train – that all the ladies joined in.  Sadly there are no pictures of it, but it was at least 50 people long near the end. 

At the end of church service Heather and I were asked to speak to the college age youth.  Now, I thought they wanted us to join their college group for the afternoon or something so we readily agreed to that.  But, like I said above, at the end they wanted us to speak to them for 5-10 minutes.  Oi!  Not prepared!  It worked out okay though, I spoke about “Work”.  The general theme was that our two hands and our mind are gifts of God that can be used to produce and bless other people with our work.

Sadly, this was also the day that Cindy left.  After church we all went back to the hotel, Cindy prepped her stuff and got a ride to the airport.  🙁  Super fun to have her along.  It’s sad to see her go, and sad to know that we will be leaving not long after she leaves.

We also had a big dinner at Simeon’s house.  And by big, I mean big.  A large part of his family was there which means quite a few rugrats and at least dozen adults; and then throw in a bunch of wazungu into the mix!  I had been to his house before a few years ago but I never got a good tour, so this time we got the tour.  He’s done quite a bit of stuff with his “compound”.  That should sustain him well for the remainder of his life.  He has rental houses on the lot, crops, and are working on making another rental house.  But because bricks are so expensive, they decided to make them themselves.  Which, while uncommon in Seattle as our ground isn’t suitable for that; the ground in Kenya works pretty well.  It has a heavy iron oxide content to it which makes it a vibrant red as well.  I also enjoyed checking out their water ditches and containers around the house.  When it rains in Kakamega, it really rains!  So to prevent flooding and such many houses have ditches built into the property to guide the water how they want it.  Into large containers, off the property or into garden irrigation ditches perhaps.  Simeon’s ditches had ditches around the house to bring water from off the roof to the back of the house.  His whole plot of land is on a slope with the house on the top so that helps facilitate water to bypass the house on the way down the hill.  Also to hit the crops on the way down.

At the house, Simeon showed us a “Bathroom” plan he got from someone.  They were looking at it for the church and then to charge for use of it during the week to the surrounding community.  But it was a bit large and lavish if you ask me.  Something like 15-20 toilets and sinks.  You’d have to have quite the crowd to sustain that kind of toilet system.  While I think it’s a good idea, I’d prefer to see it toned down a bit to save money and make it more easily profitable.

On the way home we really piled into the van.  All us wazungu as well as a few Kenyan friends that we were dropping off.  Overall it was 15 people in a 12 seat passenger van.

And then to bed!

Posted in Kakamega |
June 11th, 2011

June 11th
Today Richard, Valerie, and Kathy Lambert had a rather long breakfast with a member of the Kenyan parliament.  In the meantime, Heather, myself, Teresa, Mesh and Garrison went to go see what’s called the “Weeping Rock”.  Which you can see below from the road, and that is generally the only view I’ve ever had of it.  It’s called the weeping rock because I was told that there is a constant stream of water coming out of the rock from the top.  From the road I’ve always been able to see what appears to be water falling out of it, and you can see it in the below picture. 

Weeping Rock, as seen from the Road

However, once we got close we were informed that it really only weeps during August.  So we weren’t able to see it weep.  Either way, that’s still pretty cool.  The rock must be porous or have a thin crack running to the ground so that when the water level gets high enough surface tension draws it up.  You can see a close up picture below and one can easily see the erosion and staining that the water has done over the years.  So now, it always looks like there is a little water coming down.  Overall it cost us about $7 to go see it, as Mesh had to pay the local ladies in the area to be allowed passage through their lands to get to the Rock.  Not a bad fee to allow strangers to pass through, plus I think Weeping Rock Tourism is one of their main sources of income.  

Weeping Rock

 After the weeping rock, we picked up everyone else at the hotel and headed to the Kakamega PEFA church.  It was great fun as I got to see Simon and Grace Barasa and their family again.  I stayed with them previously during the whole election thing in 2008.  More about that Election stuff can be read here, and a little about Simon’s house and Kakamega can be read here.  Pictured below are 2 members of Simon’s family, Barbara, who is their eldest daughter and Gloria, their new daughter.  I say new, but obviously she’s been around for awhile; just new to me.  Belated Congratulations Simon and Grace!  Heather and I took a visit to Simon’s house to see Benjamin (only son) and Kristen (niece or cousin?) as well as the new improvements to his digs.  He’s added a house for rental, and is working on another one.  Having 3 houses on his property is a great investment in Kenya and should secure his finances over the next few years. 

Valerie with Barbara and Gloria Barasa

 On a side bar, we finally met and talked to some English ladies who we had seen numerous times at the hotel.  They were very sweet and took us to go see some recent puppies next door.  They were quite friendly and adorable.

English ladies, who’s names I sadly have forgotten.

June 9th, 2011

June 9th
First off, today is my birthday! Yeeaah!  Okay, enough of that celebratory mood.  😉

Today we visited a non-profit called PATH, though I don’t know what it stands for, if anything.  Even their website doesn’t say.  Either way, someone recommended that we meet with them to discuss any mutual beneficial activities or meetings or at least just to start getting to know each other.  After visiting PATH we went down to a local hospital which works with PATH.  I didn’t write down very many details of these two encounters.  The hospital was nice in trying to cater towards lower income people, but I remember now being all that impressed with PATH.  It just reminded me of a some of the US over funded, under active non-profits where most money goes into bureaucracy, salaries, and nice office space.  It’s why you have to be careful where your money goes, if it goes to charity.  We also checked out a related “youth center” which was really more of a small office space that was directed at teaching youth about AIDs and “proper” sexual things.  Basically trying to teach kids about sex and condoms and how sex “causes” AIDs.  Again, none of us were really impressed though I appreciate what they are attempting to do but considering all the money spent in advertising I don’t know if anyone is left who doesn’t know about AIDs, at least anyone who can read.

Later in the evening we did more microfinance interviews in Kathy and Cindi’s apartment, this time with the Board and those who work with the microfinance group.  The power went out, again, within 10 minutes of us being finished (I think), so timing was utterly perfect.  It can be quite difficult to film in the dark naturally so we were all glad that we got everything we needed.  At this point we ate dinner and had a candle pow wow.

Correction: We did not do microfinance interviews in Kathy and Cindi’s room tonight.  That was the next night.  The power went off both nights though if I recall correctly.  Either that or the power went off tonight, and came back on the next day just as the sun was going down while doing the interviews so the timing was perfect.  I think that was it.  I didn’t record that information unfortunately.  So this night we just had a candle pow wow in their room as a team.

Posted in Kakamega |
June 8th, 2011

June 8th
Wow, today was an amazing day.  Baptisms, Singing, Dirty Rivers, Small Hikes, Bacon for brekky, cashews at night.  Shoot, even a “white girl” was baptized, but I will get to that in a minute.  Right now the focus is on the Shikusa Boys.

Today is the day where we get to be a part of the baptism of ~50 boys at the Shikusa Boys Detention Center.  Now, I have been to Shikusa a couple times in the past, once for an introduction and once for a Christmas Party that the Kakamega PEFA Church Youth gave them.  The status there is at present a good one, at least while recognizing that those kids are in jail and unable to leave.  In prior years, before I ever visited, it was not such a pleasant place.  Horrid living conditions, kids were always sick, bad food, … Actually, it was probably as bad as what most westerners would envision an African detention camp.  Like most jails throughout the world it generally encourages the youth to continue committing infractions because they know nothing else and don’t learn anything while in jail –  and yes, that is a very general yet condemning statement that I shan’t attempt to prove.  Dr. George Matimbai (I’m not sure on the spelling of his last name) came across Shikusa through his own dealings with some of the boys there in a story that I shall not relate here as it may be private and I haven’t asked permission.  Anyways, Dr. George visited the compound, saw the dismal conditions and decided that he needed to help them.  He is now a member of their board and has been instrumental in revitalizing the compound into more of a Juvenile Re-Education Center.  By Re-education I mean that most of those boys have learned few good things in their lives and while they are forced to spend 1-2 years in this compound they now have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills such as construction, sewing, upholstery, carpentry, …  Something to at least make it worthwhile to earn an honest living.  In addition to the physical help they receive there, many of the staff are Christians and the boys receive spiritual assistance there as well, as such many of the boys have chosen to follow the Lord.  They even pick spiritual leaders amongst themselves to lead small groups and such.  It is that reason that we are here today, to baptize many of those who have committed to follow the Lord.

But first, a few pictures!

 Here we are meeting one Shikusa head, I believe his name was Joseph.  A real nice, friendly gent.

The boys depicted here are constructing a house, for school as well as for use obviously.

This was great.  Right next to the house that the boys were building lay a large pile of rocks that will be used at some point in the building process I assume.  But crawling all over the rocks were baby goats, enjoyed the themselves quite thoroughly.  As my wife would say, “Adorable!”
The above boys are working on there schooling.  Essentially their goal is to be able to pass the High School / SAT equivalent tests with good scores which may allow them to enter college.

One of their sleeping houses.  The boys lay out their mats at night, and clean them up in the morning.  This makes for a clean sleeping arrangement, no places for rats, or bugs or whatever to hide, bite, and make the boys sick.

Here is another house that has some beds for the boys.  I do not recall if they were made on the compound or offsite.  I seem to remember them saying that they were welded onsite, but I don’t recall seeing a welder around.

 Carpentry Class!

During the pre-baptism ceremony, where Richard and Simeon were preaching – talking really – to the boys about baptism and their own experiences (both having been converted while confined in a Jail!) I felt a tap on my knee and looked over to see Heather with tears in her eyes, and she told me – to my utter astonishment due to the surroundings – that she wanted to get baptized.  “Today?” I whispered.  With her affirmation I turned to Richard next to me (Simeon was talking) and asked if they would baptize Heather.  I believe his response was “Sure, if she wants too” and then both he and Valerie looked at Heather and their faces turned from a quizzical look to an “oh, wow, umm, okay, great!” look.  Not a facial expression you could fake.  😉  So after a pre-baptism talk and some worship, we all walked about 1 mile on a trail down to the river that I shall call the Shikusa river.  Though in reality I guess the river didn’t have a name, no one knew what to call it.  I guess the locals just call it the river cause there is only one and they don’t go elsewhere. 

Here is worship time with the boys, pre-baptism.  
They were rocking and a jiving!  
Walking down to the river

Beautiful countryside.  We are carrying towels and shirts for the boys.

At the baptism site the water looks utterly delightful, and by delightful I mean completely dirty.  They weren’t sure if they wanted Heather to get baptized here or not due to the possible contamination in the water, like cow feces. 

Some of the boys were really scared about going underwater, many of them don’t know how to swim.

Long line of boys to enter the water with us wazungu looking on.  We would towel them, anoint them and pray for them as they came out.

Praying and anointing post-baptism.
And last but not least, out of the water came the white girl!  
My lovely wife Heather, or as the kenyan’s say: Heatha’. 

After all the baptism stuff was done, we hiked back to the compound and met Bishop Simeon on the way there.  We gave a post-baptism service where we each presented some gifts to the boys, Heather and I presented socks to the counseling department.  We then proceeded to eat a late lunch with the guards, which was quite delicious!  An excellent lunch, ugali, meat, fruit, japati (fresh tortillas); very standard fare but always excellent and we were all quite pleased to see it. 

On the way home we dropped by Nakumatt for some minor dinner fixings, I bought some yogurt and cashews.  We brought all our goods together into Kathy and Cindi’s room for a hodgepodge of a dinner.  Mango slices, someone made noodle soup on the stove, avocado, nuts, yogurt, … like I said, a hodgepodge.
And that was a good, long day!
June 8th, 2011

June 8th
So we arrived at the Sheywe House last night, but didn’t get to look around much besides dinner until today.  So check out some of these pictures.  The Sheywe House was one of the most reasonably priced hotels we stayed in.  The bang for the buck was excellent.  Check out these pictures.  Heather and I had our own little apartment with a living space, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.  Granted, the living space and kitchen are joined; oh, and the kitchen stove didn’t really work.  I think you had to supply your own propane or something, it was odd.  Richard and Valerie however had a working stove WITH propane so that was good.  That took care of our cooking situation.  We all had working fridges.  Below is a picture from the door into the apartment of the living space and kitchen.

Just outside our building, while still within the confines of the Sheywe were these Storks.  Now, I posted a little bit about these birds earlier, here.  But at this location, there was a large number of these birds at all times.  Just as before, these birds are HUGE!  It’s hard to tell the size in these pictures but when standing they have to be at least 3 feet tall.  Here is a Wikipedia entry on these birds, Marabou Storks apparantly.  I guess some of them can get up to 5 feet tall and weighing at 20 pounds!  I don’t know if we saw any that big but easily 3 to 4 feet tall on most of them.

I thought this was a funny picture.  Thanks to Heather for working on trying to get this shot.  A few earlier times when we saw the birds doing this she was unable to get a good picture.  Try and try again!  But these storks are the only birds I have ever seen to actually rock back and sit on their knees.  Usually birds stand, sit in a tree or sit on the ground; but sitting on their knees?  I don’t recall ever seeing that.  Feel free to correct me if a bird does that in the Pacific NW.  Maybe flamingos at the zoo, but I don’t recall seeing that.


The Sheywe, like many hotels, serves a breakfast every morning.  The Sheywe has one of the better breakfasts as well, with wheatabix availalbe for cereal, milk, pineapple, bananas, and they take your order for toast, eggs and bacon.  Boo yah!  Eggs and bacon every morning, my kind of place.  Often a local cat would be hanging around as well, hoping for some bacon scraps.  Some british ladies who were staying there for a couple months (One of them helps manage the Sheywe when she’s down there) fed the kitty much to her delight.  All cats are referred to as Puss Puss down there.  Which American’s find funny for various reasons.  If you want to call a cat over you do the general cat thing of rubbing your thumb and two fore fingers together, but you also call out “puss puss puss puss puss….”.   It’s a culture thing.  🙂

Posted in Food, Kakamega, Travel |
June 7th, 2011

June 7th
Oh my goodness.  This morning I woke up around 6:30am to an amazingly large noise of birds chirping.  There was so many of them it sounded akin to a heavy rainfall on a tin roof.  The chirping and fluttering and more chirping.  Crazy loud.  Anyways, it was a good time to get up, everyone else stayed asleep or in their rooms until 7-8 so I got some nice quiet time in the front room overlooking the farm.  Very pleasant, very relaxing. 

Later in the morning we walked over to Karunga School, which was, in essence, personal project for some of the original farm members.  They diligently worked on enhancing their library, studies, and buildings.  Valerie just wanted to show us the school and the kids. 

Then we packed up and headed out from Miwani.  A couple years ago I spent 3 months there, this time, just a night.  Next we headed back into the Kisumu “suburbs” – I’m not really sure what you’d call the non-downtown areas of a large city – towards Nancy Odwaro’s House for the Olive Branch Documentary.  She put together a thanksgiving feast for us!  I wish I had pictures.  Rice, a few meat sauces, pineapple, mango, homemade juice, bread, the table was packed!!  And it was all mightily delicious.

During the documentary us boys, who didn’t have a part to play at this particular time, hung around outside talking, and keeping quiet as our voices could carry.  I checked out Nancy’s house and plot of land.  She is quite the efficient woman!  It isn’t a big plot of land but she had a couple cows, goats, chickens & mango trees.  A worker was working on her water flow system while we were there.  Most Kenyan residents who can afford it generally seem to install a series of concrete gutters to take in the heavy rains that come and dump it where they want to dump it, and take it away from the house.

I talked quite a bit with Mesh during this interlude, about his business ideas and the local response to the Chinese presence.  As figured, most didn’t mind the investment and all the workers.  They generally kept to themselves and didn’t want to socialize with the Kenyans, and so the Kenyan’s let them be.  Anywhoo, we talked and at one point Mesh stood to move away but as he stood I had some serious deja vu.  At that moment I stopped talking and asked if we had talked about this before.  The image of him in front of the van and me sitting down at Nancy’s place was stuck in my mind from a prior time.  I must have dreamed that conversation at some point in the past.  Strongest deja vu feeling of my life and I am dead serious on that.  Based on that deja vu I made a few decisions later on and we shall see where that will lead later on in life.

Anyways, we were at Nancy’s for a decent number of hours.  When we were done we headed to our next hotel, the Sheywe House, dumped all our goods and went to have a late dinner at the hotel restaurant.  We had a great view of some amazing lighting storms in the background.  The power kept going out putting us in total darkness, which while it gave good darkness for watching lighting, when you are hungry and the cooks need electricity to cook you food; well, let’s just say it was about 1.5-2 hours before we were all served.  Many dishes were served cold because they wouldn’t bring them out as they were done.  They waited until all dishes were ready.  Poor Valerie, she always seemed to get the brunt of food issues on this trip.  Either being served last, or served cold food, or both.  Both happened to her this time, cold and served last.