#6 Visits

#6 Visits

I awakened at 7 this morning and thought I would be a lazy bum, sitting in my bed, answering emails.  Before I knew it, it was 8:10 and Catherine (Life Bloom) and assistant, Wanjiro were at my door.  There I was, pajama’d, teeth unbrushed, hair uncombed barefooted.  Oh well!  I had briefly forgotten they were coming—no, I hadn’t actually forgotten, just lost track of time.

I fixed them tea and toast, and we began to talk about the issues of women, Life Bloom, fund raising, Archbishop Ndingi (boys high school) men/women and who knows what else.  It was lively, as always with them, funny, serious, sad, inspiring and never enough time to share all we wish.  We discussed fund raising for LB and the event they have planned for this coming Saturday.  Catherine has been fascinated with the potluck fund-raisers we have done for Kenya Help.  Their event is a catered dinner at a nearby hotel.  They hope for 150, and have about 55 yeses so far.  Because this is a new idea in this culture, I will speak briefly about the donation traditions in the US.  It’s not that there is no money in Naivasha.  There is a solid middle-class group, but supporting worthwhile institutions has not been much in vogue.  LB is out to change that!  If anyone can do it, it’s Catherine and Wanjiro.

I forgot to take a picture to include in this email, but there will be other opportunities.  You certainly missed nothing by having no picture of me!

By the time I cleaned up the kitchen, got showered and dressed and got my stuff together it was 10:30 and I was late.  Neither Fr Kiriti nor Ben happened to be going up that way—in fact both were in/on the way to Nairobi.  Fearing I’d have a repeat performance of Sunday’s matatu ride, I called Fred, my trusty piki piki driver.  “I’m coming right now”, which is what he always says—whether he’s at his station right down the road or 10 miles away.  Fortunately he was right down the road and by the time I had walked out to the road he was waiting there.

I met Fred in 2006, when I made the momentous decision that I had to try riding on a piki piki.  How could I claim to have had the Kenyan experience w/o that?  At that time he was driving a rented bike and a pretty shabby jacket, but he also wore a helmet, so I figured he cared about his own safety—so mine too!  Ever since he’s been my man.  He appreciates my business, charges me fairly and drives slowly, especially over the frequent speed bumps on Kenyatta Road.  He now has his own bike, a better jacket and still wears his helmet.  He still takes good care of me.  In fact on Saturday, as I was walking back from my Safaricom visit, he happened along and brought me home.  Wouldn’t accept a fare, just did it to be nice.

It’s a long ride to the school, but his new bike has a padded passenger seat.  Previously his bike caused major butt-fatigue.

After teaching Jecinta’s form 4’s so she could run an important errand in town, and observing a lesson by Simon in form 1, I decided it was time to visit Damaris.

Damais is a seamstress who has sewed some of the dresses I’ve gotten here.  She began a women’s co-op, called Talent Taps, which I wrote about extensively last year.  I hadn’t even called her yet, have been so busy, but she was home, so I hopped a matatu and rode down to what I remembered was the stop by her house.  But it wasn’t quite right, so after a call she came trotting out to the road to escort me to her house.

One of her sewing ladies was still there.  I was pretty sure I had met her last year, but I meet so many.  ACH!  I can’t remember them all.  However, when Damaris mentioned her name, Margaret, I recall we had bonded over the shared name.

In the year since I last saw her, she has registered he group, comparable to our non-profit status in the US, had business cards printed up and has been busily marketing the tote bags her ladies make.  They have sold over 500, many in a nearby hospital.  It’s a teaching hospital with lots of comings and goings.  People have loved her totes.  Here are a couple of pix.

Margaret and Damaris with totes

She served us tea while we caught up on each other’s activities.  I’m not sure how much of it Margaret caught, but she was nonetheless attentive and all smiles.  I mentioned that Draeger’s will be doing a Kenyan cooking class in San Mateo October 16—partially as a fund raiser for Kenya Help.  She hopped up and trotted out a great apron.  Immediately I knew I would bring at least one back for the Draeger cook to wear.  Here’s a pic.

Damaris in her apron

It was wonderful to see her again.  She’s a lovely woman who has dedicated her life to helping women find ways to support themselves.  She wants to meet with Anita Dippery, KH board member and quilt maker extraordinaire when Anita comes in July.  My guess is that those Talent Taps ladies will soon be producing incredible quilts, with Anita’s creative energy and ideas and their own determination.

I’ve been tapping away at this computer since I got home about 5 ½ hours ago.  Am now going to read and then sleep.

Another long but wonderful day.  What a gift to be able to come here every summer.



Leave a Reply