Friday, February 6, 2009

More News from Kenya . . .

Hey everyone!!

This week I witnessed my first famine feed relief gathering. This is the second one in our area. The people (mostly the mamas) gather near the Chief's Office - that is where the storage warehouse is located - although there is nothing to store at the moment. I saw two medium sized trucks unload large bags of maise and a few boxes of cookng oil. The leaders from each village receive heir allotment then they distribute to their village people. This time people will receive 2 to 5 Kg's of maize (which they will take to the mill to grin for about 4 shillings) and 1/2 litre of cookng oil. I am told that this is about enough for one meal for a family. I asked the Chief where the food was from, he only knew it was from the government. The bags were not marked so I couldn't tell either - usually relief food is well marked on the bags so maybe this as from a Kenyan Cereal Board warehouse. The people are so patient - they gather, talk and wait then received their food and leave; sometimes this takes many hours as they are not sure what time the food will arrive or even if it will. Each person carries their own bag for the maize and a small plastic jog for the cookng oil. Prices are still high here and food is scarce. The children I work with are lucky that they get a good nutritious lunch 6 days a week and I get to eat it also. For some; however, that is their only meal of the day but it is big, nutritious and good.

I have met many of the guardian groups for MCC (Makindu Children's Centre) now and I am researching possible IGA's (income generating projects) for them. Ones that do NOT require rain. We are lookng at chicken raising, dairy goat raising and pig farming. Also beekeeping, if the rains come again in March or April. I am also looking at interest in dedydrated fruit if I can get someone from the US to send me some mango and papaya - they have no idea what dehydrated fruit is because they eat it all fresh but we may be able to creat a market - they definitely have the inventory of fruit.

A mention about dress, the African women dress wonderfully elegant. Their clothes are blouses and skirts or suits. They are always very colorful. I love the patterns. Their headwrap most always matches their skirt aka leso. Whatever they don't have, they are always clean and well dressed. The men look very western, a few suits/ties but mostly just shirts and trousers as it is very hot here. The women are always cleaning, sweeping or washing. There are many tailors to make whatever clothing you require for a very reasonable price. Where I live they don't have racks of clothing to choose from. There are some small shops with a very limited selection. Shoe repair is plentiful also. I have had my shoes and boots repaired a few times as I walk everywhere. They usually will repair while you wait. Shoe shines are also popular but they only last about five minutes with all the dust. A shine runs sbout .25 US and repair between .06 and .63 US depending on the complexity of the repair.

Thanks to those of you who have written. It is great to get mail and feel somewhat connected to home. It is only taking about a week for mail to arrive here. The internet remains a mystery, yahoo is up and down in terms of connectivity - it lets me respond to about one email every now and then and even then I am never sure if the "sent" really gets to you. Having said that - please email me and let me know what other information may interest you about this adventure/project and I will try to include it in the blog. I'll also try to do photos soon - it is a challenge here . . . sorry!

CONGRATS!! to my sister, Patricia, on her upcoming wedding. I am sorry to miss the celebration but will be thinking of her and Ted! The very best to you both.

That's it from here for now . . . good health and happiness to all!

Yours in love, friendship and peace!! Paula

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