#5: Frustrations, Teaching and a Visit with KIVA

Mary and I discovered that David Mungai had locked the gate to the Mji compound last night, not realizing we didn’t have the key.  A call to Loise, parish secretary, brought someone to unlock us, but we also needed someone to unlock the dining hall door.  About that time Fr. Ngaruiya showed up and to my surprise, he gave me the whole bunch of keys—all the Mji keys.  As I looked at them I noted two identical keys and wondered whether they possibly fit the large padlock, whose key I have “misplaced”. I knew I’d bought one with 3 keys last summer and I’d left all the keys here.  Bingo!  They were the right keys, so I’m back in business and now that I have those 2 keys, I’m sure the recalcitrant key will show up.  Isn’t that always the way things work?

My girls arrived promptly at 9 am, and we got to work on some probability and calculus questions.  We talked long enough so that they felt confident to continue to work on their own, I left to the Naivas to continue replacing items that “walked off” during the year.  Fr. Ngaruiya had assured me no one had stayed in “Margo’s house”, but I showed him a pair of trousers I’d found in the closet of my room.  Pretty strong evidence, I’d say.

It’s not a wholesale disappearance of stuff, but still annoying to have to buy a mop, broom, spoons, as well as having to repair 2 chairs—one of which I’d had repaired last year, but was broken again. 

In the meantime, we’d discovered the sink leaks and the boards beneath have been dripped on and dried over the winter.  In addition, the tank suppling water to my kitchen had again emptied and needed to be pumped.  No water to wash the dishes.  All in a day’s package of frustrations, but eventually things will settle.

Coming back, I found 3 hungry girls, to whom I offered a choice of grilled cheese, hitherto unknown in their world, or peanut butter and banana sandwiches, also a new taste treat.  Yesterday I’d offered PNB and banana, but noticed they didn’t use any of the bananas. When queried, they admitted they didn’t know how!  Huh! How hard can that be.  So I demonstrated how to cut and place the banana slices as well as the fine art of grilled cheese making.  Both were highly successful, so much so that I had to make many, each cooked individually in my small frying pan. 

Just as we were finishing, along came Hilliary, bringing the necessary hooks so my curtains could be hung correctly and of course he wanted grilled cheese too.  Since he’d shopped for the hooks in Nakuru, where he’d had to go for Fr. Kiriti, and had offered to take my 2 chairs to be repaired, how could I begrudge him a few sandwiches?

Finally I was free for a rest, but as I sank on my bed, a small voice said, “check your calendar to be sure you’ve done all the things you wrote for today.” ARGH!!  At 2 I’m supposed to meet a man attending a KIVA conference here in town. It’s 1:25 and Hillary is gone with my car.  As I waited for him, it occurred to me that as students finish high school, some don’t qualify for university, or are unable to pay, many would want to establish a small business.  KIVA was designed for just that purpose, providing low interest loans.  So did Hillary want to go with me?  He did.

KIVÅ’s conference is in a very posh hotel down by Lake Naivasha, about 20 minutes away.  We arrived on African time—late, but were forgiven by the very nice young man, Kevin O’Brien, who works in the San Francisco office.  He explained how KIVA works and as he talked, I thought about David Luther, about whom I wrote yesterday.  I told Kevin a bit about David, how bright he is and how much he wants not only to expand his business, but also to go to school.  He hungers for school.  KIVA might well be the answer for him, so as soon as I was back I called him. Shortly he showed up at my door. The more he heard, the more excited he became.  He has wanted to study computer science, but has been a victim of circumstance.  At the time he finished high school, the requirement for regular admission to university was B (which he earned), but also a minimum mark of 64 (I think that’s what he said). He earned 63!!! Heart-breaking, because the parallel program costs about twice.  Moreover, he would have immediately been eligible for a low-interest government loan. There was no way it was going to happen for him.  Now the requirement is C, which makes him a star.  He’s already researching KIVA and figuring out how he can achieve his goals. I’ve connected him with Kevin O’Brien, which should be a good beginning.



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