Monday, October 19, 2009


It is raining . . . more about that later. September 23rd - transportation to and from Makindu was a challenge this day as a new police chief decided to enforce the laws pertaining to matatus (taxi vans that carry 14 (ha ha) passsengers) i.e. seatbelts installed and working and used (I guess), speed governors, rearview mirrors and ACTUALLY only carrying 14 passengers on board . . . a rarity. So . . . there was about one matatu that qualified as OK and that one decided to hike the fare since all others were temporarily out of commission so we postponed our trip out of Makindu for another day. Matatus are famous for skirting the rules and it is the #1 mode of transport here. Things will be fine and back to normal in a few days or maybe even in a few hours.

One Makindu MCC guardian group has built 3 multi-story gardens (Dad try this one) and planted kales (sukuma. They planted them at the centre, NOW, we would like them to all plant one (or more)at home. They take very little space and are very water efficient and easy to build and require little investment. Each family would then have a nice green vegetable to supplement their diet everyday . . . spinach also works well. You need a gunnie sack, compost and dirk, small stones for the center and seedlings, that's it!! One Kiboko (MCC) guardian group is doing well with soapmaking. They are on their third batch of 20 litres. It is a strong IGA (income generating activity) IF they will stay with it. It is easy to make, the profit is 100% of the original chemical investment and EVERYBODY uses soap. I hope they are successful it would help their lives so much.

We lost one MCC caregiver in September. She had been battling HIV/Aids and opportunistic infections for over 10 years (before ARV's). Her daughter is an MCC sponsored vocational graduate and is now working successfully in dressmaking and tailoring here in Makindu with support from MCC for the short term until they are established - which will be soon. Two additional vocational graduates have set up hairdressing and beauty therapy salons (pronounced saloons in Kenya so we have some fun with that difference). MANY women get their hair woven in Kenya so there is lots of room for salons.

I just finished reading the popular book DEAD AID - get it, read it then send it to your Congressman because she is "dead" on right about the subject. I would also recommend The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, from a historical perspective it is relly good, the story is also interesting although grim. Also jusy finished a conspiracy theory . . . Alice In Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster by David Icke, makes you wonder . . . we have "pass around books" among PVC's so there are some interesting opportunities.

October 10 - RAIN!!! It finally rained this p.m. HARD . . . It tried to make up for two years in one afternoon; not really, when it rains it really rains HARD. There is more to come, we hope. Those that planted are very happy, most are waiting to make sure the rain is really serious.

October 19 - We (MCC staff and community stakeholders) had a 2 1/2 day strategic plannning session with MCC's major donor AED (Academy for Educational Development)under US AID as the facilitator. It was a very productive meeting providing valuable, actionable input for MCC to develop a way forward. It's their first strategic plan, a very necessary step.

So far it has continued to rain almost everyday so people, including MCC, have started to plant. Most wait until they know or believe tht the rains are serious. They appear serious to me but I am far from a local. Even though the rains are coming we will continue to focus on trainings related to drought issues, i.e. food preservation, water harvesting (catchment) draught resistent crops development, etc.

Tomorrow, Erin (PCV) and I are going to Tsava East National Park with 60 other mostly government employees and their families. Tsavo is promoting local tourism since you guys are coming . . . anyway, they asked us to go so we are. It will be fun making new friends and seeing the park. The price was very reasonable for locals, which we are considered since we are volunteers in their country. It's called a PERK!!! Then I am traveling to Nairobi for 4 days to attend a site exchange visit with Beacon of Hope. They are a model school and other things that the direcgtor of MCC wants me to see so we can duplicate any good things happening there at MCC. I am traveling with the pre-school teacher from MCC. It will be a very worthwhile visit I am sure.

That's the update from here . . . the MCC children continue to do well. Primary and secondary students are getting ready for their final exams. School ends again in late November and start the new year in January. We will be "advertising" for new MCC children next month. We want to get more self-pay students into the pre-school to help sustain and expand our program. I think we can take on 7 or 10 new MCC sponsored OVC's (orphans and vulnerable children)also. We are also focusing on ways to be self sustainable . . . more on that later.

Take good care!!! I greet you all and hope all are healthy and happy!!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN BIRTHDAY to my brother John and Sister Paige. Happy November Birthdays to my family; Shelli, Pamela, Tori!!!!

Love to all! Paula