Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Lenana School in the Dargaretti Slums

Saturday, 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

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Posted in Children, Nairobi, Slums |

More Interviews

Sunday, 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!

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Posted in Children, Kakamega |

Weeping Rock and Barasa

Saturday, 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.

Puppies! 
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Kibera Slums

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

June 1st – Kibera Slums
We visited the Kibera Slums today.  Kibera is the 2nd largest urban slum in Africa.  It is crowded, dirty, smelly, unsanitary and would be unfortunate for anyone to live there, yet 1/2 to 2 million people are that unfortunate.  It has a 100 year history that can be found easily on the web so I won’t go into that.  I don’t have any pictures from our time here because it was recommended not to take any pictures.  Some might take offense at it, others might try to steal the camera.  So for safety concerns, no cameras.

We had two soldier escorts with us to ensure safety.  We drove all in one van down one of the main strips of Kibera which was littered trash and shops.  Shops selling anything from cell phones/credit, to tailoring, furniture, water, vegetables, meat, welders, grinders, hair salons, and even photocopying/computer services.  Any and all of the normal shops you’ll see in any Kenyan city.  This blog post here has a great descriptoin and some pictures of such shops.  Oh, and I would not suggest the meat, they don’t refrigerate.  My western stomach would hurl mightily if it attempted to ingest such food I’m sure.  Eventually we got as far as we could with the van, so we parked and walked 1/5 to 1/10th of a mile for a few home visits of people in the community that could use prayer.  On the way, we walked past a man who was peeing into the rain trench (which is generally filled with rubbish and feces).  I’m sure we surprised him more than we us, how often does he have a bunch of white westerns walk behind him in the middle of the slums?

Home Visits:

  • Young boy (under 3 yrs old) with deformed feet.  He had a metal brace attached to his shoes that will force his limbs into a proper placement as he grows.
  • Young girl (under 5 yrs old) who had been raped by a grown man.  This was hands down the hardest part of the trip.  Justice is the Lord’s was something I had to consider.
  • Family of 3 girls where the oldest girl (13 yrs old?) is taking care her sisters, one of whom doesn’t talk or is deaf (couldn’t quite get that figured out), and one who had a huge goiter on her throat.
  • Happier visit to some kids that a gal from Westside sponsers.  Checking on how they are doing and such, they are in school and seem happy.

Kara Kibera School
WorldComp Kenya supports a school in the middle of Kibera and feeds the kids who attend one meal a day (beans and corn mainly with a banana) to help keep them in school and somewhat healthy.  The kids were delightful, and gave us some poems, songs and other such “presentations”.  At the end some of the ladies associated with the school (moms?  teachers?) produced some of their bead work of which we brought home a bunch in order to sell at the garage sale and on Etsy.  Overall their going rate is about $1 to $1.50 per day of work.  So a bowl that takes 2 weeks may cost 12$-15$ bucks, but a pair of earrings may go for $2.  Which, surprisingly is enough to sustain their lives there (1 meal + rent basically; I doubt much if any is left over).

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Compuka Urine

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I gotta get this down before I forget any details. Tonight I had another little fiasco with the youngest African boy.

While I was talking about some things on Wolfgangs IBook Apple Laptop thingy with Stephanie (one of the German gals), the youngest boy in that house, Mustafa, came by and was drinking some compukat (spelling? I dunno. It’s a fruit juice that is carbonated by a mushroom. crazy germans!). In the midst of all this, he put his cup down ontop of the laptop, on the keyboard. Now, any one who’s ever been around a computer knows this is a no no. So my immediate, natural reaction was to quickly remove the cup with a “aaaaaaye! Don’t put that on the computer! Not near a computer”. Mustafa, not one to take any sort of reprimand in any kind of pleasant way puts the cup down next to the computer. Not on it this time, but next to it. Seeing where this is going (spilled carbonated, sugary liquid on or near the computer) and not needing that, I grab the cup and down it in a quick gulp.

This did not make Mustafa happy.

I should clarify before hand, normally Mustafa and I are great friends (he’s age 10ish). But any sort of reprimand really goats these African’s. So, having gone through Mustafa’s “you did something to me so you should fix it even though your actions where clearly in response to something I did that I shouldn’t have done” he proceeded to complain heavily and wanted me to get him more compukat. He gives me the cup, I put it down on the table (not where the laptop is, but the dining room table). He gets it, complains somemore and gives it to me again. We go through this who knows how many times. Unfortunatly, his patience at ‘being wronged’ surpasses my ‘I can only handle so much’. Last time we had our little complaint-fest I had to leave before I exploded. and actually I just went and did some pull ups. Highest number of pull ups I’ve ever done. Pretty proud of that, though it took an hour of built up adrenaline and angst to do it. anyways, sidetrack. This time around both Stephanie and myself are rolling eyes and explaining over and over again why I drank his compukat, and that if he want’s more, there is some right there on the dining room table. But to no avail, as Mustafa doesn’t listen and continues to complain and wants me to get him compuka since I drank it. Being the big-egoed, hard hearted, disciplinarian I am, that’s not gonna happen. At one point, Stephanie says “fine!” and is about to get up and get Mustafa some compukat. I say, somewhat forcibly, “Nine!” (German ‘no’) and she doesn’t get up. I apologize later for that to her, as my agitation was directed at Mustafa not her (whoops!). But I was heavily angered at this point. Incessant complaining over nothing gets to me. In fact, I’m getting all antsy about it now. Seriously, never come me whining about nothing.

Anywhoo, I end up closing the laptop and picking Mustafa up (thankfully he’s light) and going over to the couch where we continue ‘dialogue’ for a while longer. Luckily I have decently fast reflexes when my angst is up and adrenaline is pumping so most times he goes to pinch, punch or slap me I can grab his arm and prevent it. Not that it hurts (he doesn’t do it that hard, more of a authority thing) but that I won’t allow him to do that to me for obvious reasons. Anyways, eventually I say if he wants his compuka back, he can get it back in a couple hours after my body is done with it. Not to be outdone Mustafa calls my bluff and wants it back in the same cup. Me and my big mouth.

Being a man of my word to someone like Mustafa is more important attempting to not do dumb things. Thus, a couple hours later I go to the restroom and relieve myself. I call him into the bathroom, ask him which bathroom cup is his and tell him to enjoy his processed compuka, and to please flush the toilet when he’s done. Then I make my exit, hoping that he will flush the toilet and be done. Not quite what happened, but the rest isn’t to eventful.

I’m not a parent, but I do my best with the weird issues these kids have. Maybe not the best solution, but it seems works out in the end. All the boys still like me. Either way, next time I hope I remember that they call bluffs. I gotta watch what I say as it better be something I can do if pressed. I don’t need to show off my urine again.

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Posted in Children, Kenya, Miwani |