Last evening I finally had a sit-down with Fr. Ngaruiya to discuss a wide variety of issues, all of which I had carefully noted in my laundry list of concerns. My security while I am here alone being at the top of the list. He proposed putting a dog in the Mji compound, which would certainly be a deterrent to any potential intruder. I ran through my list of 12 items. For the most part they were satisfactorily sorted out and I now feel much more settled.
This morning a knock came to my door—Hillary came in to chat and have some tea. I was rushing to eat breakfast, as Fr. N. wanted me to go with him to see the progress in the Ndingi renovations. Shortly, Fr. N was also at my door, but rather than rushing me out, it being already 15 minutes after our agreed upon departure, he came in to have a cup as well and to argue with me about some math. It turns out I was probably right in my solution of that math problem I wrote about before. Next thing I know, Fr. Kiriti, comes in to visit and I must grab a stool from my bedroom. Two of my 4 chairs were badly in need of repair and Hillary had taken them for me, but I’ve not yet gotten them back. It was great fun, everyone talking at once, no one listening and all enjoying the beautiful morning.
Breakfast complete, tea drunk and issues as resolved as they’ll ever be, I set off with Fr. N, while Hillary and Fr. Kiriti went their ways. Ndingi is going to be an impressive school some day, if they ever find the money to complete it. Right now they need to put on the roof, but have run out of funds (or will shortly). I suspect that if he put it to the congregation, they would help, but for some reason, even though it, like SFG, is a parish high school, they don’t ask the parish to support it financially. In fact, the people have not been led to think of the schools as part of the parish family. It strikes me as very odd. In US, a parish school is very much a part of the community and most of the students belong to that parish. Not so here.
Sr. Irene arrived about 5. I’ve written about her severally. I met her when Fr. Kiriti was in East Pokot about 5 years ago. She was there with another nun, doing a mobile medical clinic—well-baby checks, prenatal checks, immunizations, and giving out food to pregnant women, nursing mothers and the very old. She had come to visit on her way back to her mother house in Nairobi.
Last summer I invited her to come to US in April of this year, but there were some complications. She will come in September, providing she is granted a visa—always problematic with the US embassy. If it works out, we’ll provide an opportunity to hear about her work to eradicate FGM (female circumcision) still practiced by many of the rural, nomadic tribes, including the Pokots. She’s an amazing woman, very determined to continue that program and to expand it beyond the Pokots. Her Mother Superior, a woman from Mexico, supports that effort whole-heartedly as well as encouraging her to continue in school for a PhD. She just finished her master’s in project management, supported by a KH donor.
I’d had some hair-brained idea of making pizza for dinner. I had tomatoes to slice on top, ham to dice, cheese and a green pepper. I’d bought yeast, flour and (can you believe it?) a jar of pizza sauce. How hard could it be? As it turned out, it was very hard—the crust, that is, consistency of cardboard although the taste wasn’t too bad. I have a stove with an oven, but it’s a blind guess as to how hot it is. There is no indicator of temperature (which would be in Celsius anyway, I’d have to do a conversion). I can only turn a knob and hope I’m selecting something close to a sensible temperature. I can’t even see the flames to tell help me. I guess it’s the way one would bake in a wood fired oven. Make a guess and hope for the best. In the case, it was definitely not the best!
I’ve just now done what I should have done—google a recipe. Hmmm, needs oil! That didn’t occur to me. Dumb! However, we were all hungry and doggedly chewed through the cardboard. Funny what one will eat, given a good degree of hunger! Sr. Irene had brought a watermelon, which was our tasty dessert.
Hillary and Sr. Irene had worked together in Pokot, so this morning he showed up at the door to greet her. The 3 of us chatted until is was time for Irene to leave. We walked down toward the matatu station, stopping to pick up my newspaper. Hillary, who had borrowed my car to pick my chairs and a 20-liter bottle of water to take to his house, came along just as we needed him. We hastily said our good-byes to Sr. Irene and went off to grab Mary to return her to SFG, where all students were under strict orders to arrive before 2 or face the consequences. One year the consequence was exacted on the last day of the term when everyone was eager to go home. All late arrivers were required to stay the whole day, working in the shamba(garden) digging and weeding. They were really upset by such draconian measures, but the message was driven home. DON’T BE LATE!
The distinctive red, white and blue SGF uniforms were everywhere—walking down the dusty road, standing by the gate, in groups, under trees inside the entrance, lined up to give their pocket money to the secretary. It had been only a week, but they greeted each other as if it had been years.
I had wanted to meet the new principal, Lydia Ndungo, but thought she would be far too busy for more than a quick greeting and handshake—a necessary part of any greeting. In fact, she had been well prepped, because she seemed as eager to meet me as I was to meet her. It was I who had to break it off after more than ½-hour. We parted, already knowing we could work very well together, promising to meet again on Monday.
As we drove out the gate, well after the 2 pm deadline, we saw disappointingly many latecomers. I’m guessing they are younger students who were unaware of the possible “consequences” of being late. The reality is, however, that those who come by matatu from a far distant place may well find it impossible to get there by 2. I must remember to speak to Mme Lydia about that. The deadline used to be 4, but some girls couldn’t make it, even by then.
I am very hopeful for the future of SFG. Mme Lydia at least on first meeting seems to see the same issues I do and is very determined to address them. She appeared tough, determined, smart, experienced and a very good administrator, already on top of things, already having addressed many and ready with a plan to address others.
Tomorrow I am going to Joseph’s parent’s day event. That will be my next report. For anyone wanting a bit of Joseph’s history, see #6 from my 2017 posts. You will find it at www.kenyahelp.us
If there are any typos or odd words, please blame my over-zealous spell check. When I read over what I’ve written I wonder how those gremlins could make so many changes that leave my message almost incoherent. ARGH!!! I’ve read it over and tweaked severally, but …