Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nikotu . . . I'm just here!!!

Hello all - I hope this blog finds all in good health and happy!!!!

All is good here . . . we at MCC are continuing with trainings (although June is the end of training, now we are looking for IGA action)in water harvesting in preparation for the next rains!!! soil conservation, indigenous feed formulation for chicken (cheaper than store bought!)and again, poultry keeping as a BUSINESS. Some have taken up the business aspect of the trainings but it is a slow go. There is no hurry in Africa, they say . . . and it is true. It will happen if you have the patience to wait, I am learning. MCC is preparing silage and feeds for the dairy cow we are supposed to get. I am not in support of this project but I try to keep my opinion to myself. I am sure the Director knows better than I about the prospects of the dairy cow project. Our classrooms donated by the Sikh Temple have yet to start but I am hopeful that late July will the time. The Sikhs have been generous in other ways . . . the Makindu Temple Committee donated 12 mattresses for our pre-primary school children and a wonderful Sikh gentleman that I just met in March from Canada,Banwait and his wife, Surjit, donated another 18 . . . then Mideh, another Sikh and his wife who own an upholstery shop in Nairobi donated 30 mattress covers to us so as to extend the life of the mattresses. I am not good at raising money/donations but things are going well in that regard here. It is easier when they ask you what is needed and I tell them and they donate. WOW!! We are so grateful and lucky to have the Sikhs as generous friends of MCC. Banwait and his family have an NGO ( check it out, they are wonderful!!! I was invited to attend the dedication of a borehole (water) at Ngumano Secondary School in rural Kenya that they paid to dig and construct. The area MP, Dr. Philip Kaloki (schooled in Texas, USA)attended - that is a big deal in Kenya. The villagers of Kalii will now have water piped from the ground rather than having to walk many kilometers to fetch it from a dirty river. They were all smiles and very amazed.

June 23, 2010; this day an airplane landed at our airport. This is the fourth one I have seem since January 2009. It normally means there has been a bad accident and the airplane is The Flying Doctors. Not sure about this one. The airport is directly behind MCC so ALL the children and adults run screaming to watch. It was the highlight of the day . . . second only to lunch. More Makindu events . . . on the 26th a Lorry runs through the front of one of the roadside hotelis, injuring several who were having their morning chai (that hoteli is not my chai place, glad for that!!) How that happened - who knows?? There were many onlookers, I was not among them. We also had a lost buffalo from one of the national parks, he injured a soldier who was trying to help him return - buffalo killed by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) - no choice unfortunately for him. It doesn't happen often. We had a zebra and now this buffalo that all I have heard about. On Monday, early, early in the morning someone climbed over our compound wall (gate was locked) and helped themselves to one huge stalk of bananas (cut them right off the tree), all the chicken and one jacket off of the clothesline - I didn't have anything outside so I wasn't affected except it sucks that crime is getting worse here as the town grows. I felt very safe until then - not careless ever - just safe. Not so much now.

I have been introduced to a wonderful group of Makindu community leaders called the Makindu Elder's Society - although most are not elderly. They are non-political (that is possible here, I think) and really have a wonderful agenda for Makindu development. They are very new with an aggressive charter. I have been attending their meetings as I am interested how they can come together to get things done here. This town needs a lot of assistance from leaders like these. I hope they can get the necessary government support. Careful what I say here . . . best stop.

We will be on a restricted travel alert for awhile in late July and early August until after the vote on the new constitution, it has been very hot in the news and much campaigning is happening on all sides. You can't wear red or green as those are the Yes and No camp colors or someone claims you are being political. Anyway . . . I am trying to avoid those colors for now also. The vote takes place on August 4th (someone's birthday) I hope all is peaceful in the end.

Just an alert . . . of course there are scams, I understand there are a couple using Peace Corps volunteer contacts hacked thru email, they ask you to donate on a volunteer's behalf and the money goes to them not to where you intended. For the record, I am working on only two projects (MCC through Makindu Children's Program .org in the US; and KISMA through WOPI; Wings of Peace in the US). So if you get any requests from any other - it isn't me!!! Also there have been some ransom requests using PCV info - Peace Corps knows where I am all the time so don't respond to those either. Peace Corps will let you know if there is a problem and you can verify who they are. No worries I hope, just be aware there is some bad out there . . . bummer.

I guess that is it for the month! Happy July! Here it is winter, cool nights and hot days . . . pretty nice, but dusty and windy some days. Happy July Birthdays to the USA, family; Roger and Sondra and Breahna. Happy 4th of July!!! Enjoy!!!

Love and safe travels for the summer! Paula

P.S. Want news of Kenya online -

People cling to life and are not at the stage where they will fight for the quality of that life. They feel as long as they are surviving, that is enough. Bantu philosophy of past times, I hope.

Nikotu . . . I'm just here!!!