Published: May 12th 2011May 11th 2011
A farmer's son demonstrates the borehole water collection. Gordon and I both tried it out.
This week has settled into more of a rhythm as we slowly make our way through interviews. Actually, they are going well and we’re getting to navigate the land by foot with growing ease. Rose, our field officer keeps us entertained with her explanations of local customs and is equally entertained by our Luo pronunciations. The work may be shifting direction in the next few days after meeting with the local university today to discuss their involvement, so we have some collaborating to do.
Most days begin early with our breakfast prepared by our cook, Siprose. It alternates with peanut butter and banana sandwiches and oatmeal, good old fashioned western food! And of course accompanied with tea. We buy all our own groceries and then Siprose prepares lunch if we are around and later dinner with Kenyan flair. So far, it is mainly rice or chappati, beans or lentils (green grams) and vegetables. Good solid meals and fruit too: mango, papaya, oranges, avocado. When in town, I try out something different, some good and some not so good. I guess that’s all part of the experience! I’ve also been indulging in a few too many Fanta and Stoney’s (ginger beer)
Mother duck leads her babies around the farm
but it is almost a necessity in the midday heat.
This morning we got up extra early to take a walk down to the lake and get some fish from the local fishermen. It was a beautiful morning and already sticky hot by 8 AM. The lake provided a light breeze and we were quickly shown a good size fish to take home – 2.5 kgs. As I write, it is being prepared back at Kagoya for our dinner tonight.
The community here is Christian; in fact, the majority of the Kenyan population is. It is part of the school curriculum, despite the various tribal roots. I accompanied our housekeeper, Pamela, to a church service on Sunday with Gordon. It was held outside under a tree beside the building under construction. I was hoping for some lively singing, but it was a small service and I didn’t understand as it was mainly in Luo. Still a nice afternoon. I took the opportunity to send prayers to mum for mother’s day.
That evening, Maurice invited us to his home to meet his almost-three year old son, and as with most children his age, he was in stunned silence
Midway though an interview we hastily moved undercover as the clouds gathered. Notice a faint rainbow beckoning from behind...
in our company, though still adorable. The homes here in the villages are basic: mud huts occasionally reinforced with rebar and other miscellaneous materials topped with grass sometimes but mostly metal sheeting. Surprisingly, they are cool inside and some have electricity. All have dirt floors and open air windows and open into a large communal space filled with chairs and often chickens. Possessions are few and vary widely from family to family. I am enjoying visiting so many homes to peek into the daily life of the individuals who make up this community. An elderly woman was churning milk into a kind of yoghurt as we questioned her in one home while another nursed her son with ease.
Creeping up on three weeks now, I am almost eager to continue my travels to Ireland and later return to Vancouver and get involved in the summer festivities. Being in the company of so few similar people has been draining on a few occasions, yet I do appreciate the microcosm of experience. I am humbled by the resilience, the acceptance and seeming simplicity of the lives of the people I meet.
Wednesday, our interviewing took us to a home that
All along the shore, "mamas" cleaned and prepared the herring.
was honouring the passing of a girl, my age. Rose called us in to view the body and it was sad to see her so healthy looking, yet no longer present. It was relayed that she fell sick suddenly and had a stroke. I learned she left behind a child, which is not uncommon in an area so affected by HIV/AIDS. A few people we have visited have mentioned they have taken in a number of orphans but it is challenging to feed and care for so many.
In the villages, the family of the deceased is responsible for preparing the body and digging a grave on the property. A priest is present for the ceremony and either a goat or cow is sacrificially slaughtered for the guests. We did not stay at the home long, however when walking among the neighbouring homesteads, the sound of drums and singing followed our trails. It was simultaneously beautiful and somber to have born witness to such an event.
I have awakened to some of the calamities this week and feel such a mixture of emotions in response. I am unsure of my small influence, however I continue on my journey
Fresh tilapia caught this morning!
with enthusiasm and await the next step.
Saturday is our first soccer (football) tournament so I am excited to take in the day. It shall be our weekly activity to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS and have a bit of fun at the same time.
Sending lots of love to all of you, and if you feel so inclined I would love to hear any updates you have to share
There are more photos below