June 18, 2017
The problem was not with the modem, but with the user (me). The modem requires “topping up” monthly, even if it’s only ksh 50 ($.50). I thought I had done that, but evidently I topped up my phone instead. The reason the modem didn’t work is that I had no airtime and no credit. Don’t ask what is the difference b/c I’ve never figured it out. I just know the terms and what I need to do to keep connected. That’s all. This afternoon Hillary came by to deliver my car, which he had brought from Nakuru where Fr. Kiriti had it. Hearing my complaint, he looked at the situation and patiently explained what a dunderhead I am (no he didn’t use that term) and showed me how to top up. Immediately it sprang to action and is actually quite fast. I don’t keep it plugged in all the time b/c it eats up airtime, but when I do plug in, it downloads my accumulated emails as fast as my wifi at home and sends out equally quickly. So, I am in business and please write to me!
Slowly by slowly my eye is returning to normal, so that when Fr. Kiriti came this afternoon to take me to dinner, he didn’t blanch and recoil at the sight. Nonetheless I didn’t put in an appearance at mass this morning, but did enjoy the wonderful choir which drifted through my windows all morning. I’m wearing sunglasses when I go out, which effectively hide the ugly sight, but in Tusky’s supermarket this evening, I got lots of strange looks when I had to remove them to see. I’m still not ready to put in an appearance at SFG, but probably will before the end of the week.
My smart aleck daughter, Susan, sent me an email advising a cane (my doctor had advised that right before I came and to my discredit, I refused). She included pictures of some really great looking canes, which she suggests I call a walking stick, as well as some really funny ones and one that was downright bawdy. Gave me a good chuckle.
This evening Fr. Kiriti came from Nakuru, on his way to Nairobi tomorrow, and took me shopping to replace items that either mysteriously disappeared or have been broken, and then to dinner. It was great to have a long chat, something we haven’t had since I left last August. So many issues can be cleared up with a good face-to-face. I was surprised to see tacos, burritos and quesadillas on the menu. I ordered a quesadilla and was surprised to find it was pretty good, although I suspect our friends from south lands would laugh and turn up their noses. We Gringas don’t know the difference between OK Mexican and good Mexican!
June 19, 2017.
What I’d thought would be a boring week has become anything but that—-why am I surprised, it’s always like that. First off, I thought the high school kids had a midterm break beginning Friday. Wrong, it began today, so as I sat eating my breakfast, a knock at my door found Beatrice standing there, wide smile and big hug. She is sister to Selinah, who graduated from SFG 3 years ago and is about to complete nursing school. Beatrice hopes to follow in her sister’s footsteps.
Shortly after Mary (Margaret’s smaller sister), small Patrick (there are 2) and several of the Pokot kids arrived. Each came to greet me and give me a big hug. Later Fr. Ngaruiya came to see me and I asked whether all the Mji Wa Neema kids who are in high school could come back for the week so we could do “tuitioning”—help them with their hardest subjects. He was hesitant, but when I offered to pay for the food, he agreed. I don’t think it will be much and I know those kids need this. They also want to be here. So now we have the job of notifying them to come.
Fr. N had another price for his agreeing to let the kids stay. He wanted me to mark some math papers for him—marking paper why he had come to see me. Marking papers is one of the reasons I retired from the classroom, but…. Anything for the kids. I love having them here. It’s almost like in the past, but without Julia.
For those who are new to my blog or have forgotten, Julia was the matron here for 10 years. She arrived here at age 19 to became to be “mom” to 35 kids, ranging from infant to about 14. She has done a fabulous job with them, but now she is getting married to a Kenyan-American living in New Jersey and is there now. The kids have no real home and have lost their mom. No wonder they are foundering! They need to be together. They all feel like they are siblings and now is the time for them to be together to process this change in their lives. I am grateful to Fr. N for letting them come for the week.
My little house was like Grand Central Station today. A lady named Espidita came to pick up some items she had asked me to bring from US for her. While she was here, Lucy, one of the kids, came running in to greet me.
Hers is such a hard story. She came here with her sister, Queen, who was HIV positive and eventually died from it. Lucy had always been rebellious and difficult and after Queen died, Lucy ran away (probably about age 15) to live with some man. We don’t know a lot about her life for about 6 or 7 years, except that 2 years ago she contacted Julia when the youngest of her 3 children was hospitalized. I happened to be here and went with Julia to see her. It was the beginning of a big turnaround for her and eventually we got her into salon training. An aunt kept her children and she stayed here so she could go to school.
Today I learned that she had not completed the course because the aunt died and she had no one to watch her 2 and 4 year olds. The youngest is with the paternal grandmother (father nowhere to be found). Like most kids who’ve lived on the streets, Lucy has those street-kid skills and has not always been truthful. Not all that she told me seems to be true, as I later learned when Hillary came and we had a discussion about how to get Lucy through what may be a week or a month (yet to be determined) remaining of her training. She wants to set up her own salon, but I said she should work for a year to get more training and save her money so she could buy her own equipment and make that shop truly her own, rather than getting a hand-out to set up. “Just think how proud you will be to open your own shop, using your own money. Then it will be truly yours.” She seemed to like that idea. In the meantime, KH will continue to support her for food and pay fees for child care (2-year old) and nursery school (4-year old). Nonetheless Hillary and I both agreed this was a better solution for her. She kept saying, “Margo, I have changed.” Julia had told me that even last year. She really wants to get her life together and take care of her children. We’re not giving upon her.
After my fall I’ve wondered whether it was a good idea for me to come here again. Maybe I should just accept that I’m 81 and have passed the time when I could come here safely, but after today I know why I am here. So many things need to be addressed for the Mji Wa Neema kids. Hillary is great, and Fr Ngaruiya is willing to help, but Lucy isn’t the only one. Kantai has had a problem with his official documents. I had to sort that out with him and Hillary. Hillary will take him to the appropriate office tomorrow to get that done. Lucas has allergies to something that makes his eyes inflamed and very uncomfortable. He had some drops, but ran out and he didn’t know to tell Hillary. I got him enough med for the next 6 weeks until August break. Then I want him to be seen by a good eye doctor. Julia would have taken care of all these things, but she is no longer here. Hillary is willing to step in, but the kids don’t know to go to him. Slowly by slowly we’ll get it sorted out, but in the meantime, I’m glad I’m here. Those of you who know me I’m the sort who wants today’s problems solved yesterday!!! Sometimes I’m a big pain in the backside, but I do get things done.
All for now, Margo