#15 Life Bloom Celebrates Nelson Mandela Day and Fetching Lillian

#15-2014 Life Bloom Celebrates Nelson Mandela Day and Fetching Lillian

July 14, 2014

The ladies of Life Bloom have some wonderful ideas for honoring Nelson Mandela on his day, this Friday, July 18. They are visiting schools and other institutions to encourage 67 minutes of time to be spent on some activity that would emulate his life, making the world more positive, accepting, loving… They chose 67 minutes b/c Mandela worked to better mankind for 67 years. I love the fact that this is coming from the ladies of Life Bloom, women whose lives have been hard, but through the work of LB they are busily making lemonade!

Two of the team members came this morning to meet with Ruth to discuss what might be done here. She will meet with staff and students to find an appropriate activity.

I have not been at SFG for a week. I thought students were taking exams, so I used the time for other needs (including being lazy) but today I taught a form 4 class, talked to Ruth, tried to contact a videographer to help me learn how to use the new video camera I was sent here to use, chatted with a 2013 graduate about what’s next for her, answered some emails, ate lunch and was off to pick Agnes so we could drive to Kinagop (not the right spelling, I’m sure) where her friend Lillian was being discharged from the hospital. You will remember we went to her house a few days ago to take food to her 2 small boys and Nite (her cousin, who is caring for them)

The road to St. Luke’s hospital is another one of those terrible roads, bumpy and LONG. It’s a struggle to held the wheel in place, so I’m always tense on these drives. We arrived and found Lillian dressed and eager to leave, but these things take time. Fortunately she has national health insurance (something like Obamacare) which paid for most of the hospitalization. Friends chipped in to pay the balance, but even so, Agnes had to wait to get it all settled. In the meantime I was hoping to locate Lucy, a student of many years ago—I met here in 2005. She was sponsored by KH to study nursing at the nearby nursing school and is now employed at the hospital. I thought she was in maternity, but eventually located her (with the help of some student nurses) and got to see her. She’s now in pediatrics and loving it. I had had a hard time to locate her, finally enlisting the help of some totally clueless but very sweet student nurses. Finally a real nurse came to my rescue, recognized Lucy’s name and found her for me. Oh my, did she give me a big hug—nearly swept me off my feet. We didn’t have very long to talk, but it was wonderful to see her and to see she is still happily caring for children.

Lillian lives a very long way in the opposite direction from the hospital, so we had to go through Naivasha and drive again through the area which I thought was called Karachi, but now know it is called Karachita (I think that spelling is right). We drove back through the village which I described in #14, again dodging all the livestock, little kids, motorbikes and rivulets of mud and I-don’t-even-want-to-think-what-else, which wind down the center of the narrow roads. I can’t imagine how Lillian would have gotten home with a cast up to her knee and in major pain. To take a taxi would have wiped her out financially, and a piki piki or matatu were out of the question, so I am again grateful to have a car. Naturally she was very grateful and excited to be home with her children and Nite. When we came in the boys took one look at the cast and were sort of spooked. I’m sure they had never seen one before. Possibly they weren’t sure she was even the mom who went off to the hospital 2 weeks ago. However, they soon figured it out and it was a happy reunion.

I have been teaching evenings at SFG, so staying with Esther, the matron, as I always do. She is such a good friend and makes me very comfortable. I’m grateful to have such good friends here.

Now it is Thursday. Last night I slept at home so I could be in town to attend the Rotary meeting. I have been quite faithful, not yet missing a meeting, but will miss next week b/c I’ll be in Kositei, visiting Fr. Kiriti. The speaker was Marcus Rive, the young man who started the preschool in KCC. He’s shy and humble but spoke very well, telling about coming here in 2009, seeing a great need for a preschool in the slum area, full of little kids who were hungry, mal-nourished and in need of school. They began with a feeding program. Within the first year a farmer who no longer used his land allowed them to build and to plant beans, maize and greens to supplement the feeding program. Judy and I have watched the school grow—you may remember I wrote about it a few weeks ago.

I had told Marcus there were no guarantees, but Rotary might be willing to help a bit. I was hopeful, but never imagined they would respond so positively and generously. They are truly a wonderful group of people, virtually all native Africans, with big hearts and generous spirits. They give what they can and have fun doing it. I’m enjoying being part of the group this summer. Marcus was thrilled with their response and I foresee a nice partnership.

This morning Agnes and I again went to Lillian’s, this time to take her to the company clinic to have her injury verified and to verify that it occurred as she was walking from work, but still on company property. It was quite a process, beginning with seeing a doctor who changed the dressing on the surgical site. The hospital had cut a window in her cast for this purpose and I must say the wound is pretty ugly, but seemed to be healing properly. Next she had to see a nurse to talk about getting certified so she could be paid. Her company, Findlay’s is a fair trade flower farm, so she gets much better benefits than she would, were it not. Then we had to drive to the area where she works to speak to her manager and then her supervisor. The hitch is that the morning after her injury she reported to the manager who failed to submit a report. She also was seen in a satellite clinic, but by then the ankle was so swollen then didn’t do anything (sounds weird to me) and since they didn’t do anything, the visit was not recorded. Now they are hassling her b/c she didn’t report her injury! Go figure!

Findlay’s land holding is enormous—vast, but they are doing a pretty good job. They process the excess water and return it for irrigation, rather than send it to the lake. They make compost and while they are not organic, they do try to limit the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Lillian says they raise dudus, which I think are lady bugs to control aphids. They also use pesticides.

In the large composting area we saw baboons feasting. They can be serious pests, but of course I see them as “cute”. Most Africans do not see them as cute! We also saw a herd of giraffes nearby. I had not been aware of giraffes in the greater Naivasha area, but guess I was wrong!

 

 

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