#14 – Unsubscribing

The wifi network for the parish has been out for a week, but thought I was OK with my small modem.  But then my modem stopped working.  Just now I realized I’m probably out of credit.  I’m writing from SFG where wifi is working fine.  WHEW!  Had quite a pile of email awaiting, but alas, none from my readers. 

I’m wondering whether people have grown tired of my musings and are just deleting them.  If that’s the case, please email us at kenya.help.us@gmail.com and ask to be UNSUBSCRIBED.  It’s a bit of a bother to send out my posts, since the list is long.  We would love to pare it down to actual readers.  In the past I’ve heard from readers, but this year, very few.  I’m also aware that sometimes my writing gets boring or repetitive.  Sorry, I send whatever my muse brings to me.

Since there are no Mji kids living in the home anymore, except John, Fr. Ngaruiya rents the rooms out for various groups.  Currently there are maybe 20 – 30 young people studying nutrition, or so I thought they said, who are in town to take exams.  They’ve been here for 5 days and have been quiet and busy, but last night one came back late, leaving the gate to the Mji compound open.  The security dogs kept by the parish, got in, dumped over a trash can and this morning trash was everywhere.  John, bless his heart, has cleaned it all up.  The students will go home this afternoon, returning on Sunday afternoon for their 2ndweek of exams.  They will be made aware of the problems they caused!! 

Mary Fitzgerald, Mary (from Mji), Hillary and I went to the Maasai Market on Tuesday.  Little did I know that the Tuesday market is not the one I’ve used many time (that’s a Thursdaymarket, much bigger). My usual vendor doesn’t go to the small market. RATS!!!  However, I did buy some really nice earrings, some stoneware bowls, puzzle maps and other items.  I’ll go again in 2 weeks, taking the guests I’ll have then, Julie Schatz, Kenya Help board member and 2018 visitor, and her business partner, Niki. 

It’s a bit of a hassle driving there.  Nairobi traffic is like NYC, so Hillary took a “short cut”.  Evidently there are only long cuts in Nairobi, but we finally arrived.  Mji Mary had never been to the market.  In fact, she has been to NBO only a few times in her 18 years.  Njeri, another KH board member, a Kenyan visiting her family, joined us and is bringing home nearly all I bought.  I think this year I will have no problem getting all the crafts home. If anyone knows of something they’d particularly like, do let me know and if at all possible, I’ll get it.

The markets are held in various malls in NBO.  This one happened to be on the top, so outdoors and much quieter than the big one, which is on a floor of the parking and very noisy, especially when Maasai drummers and dancers perform, which they do every hour.  It’s deafening!  But, of course, fun to watch.

Afterwards we ate at a burger place, which was another big treat for Mary. She then wanted to go to the school she will attend to pick up her application forms, which must be done in person, then officially stamped, after one’s ID documents have been scanned.  We were finally able to contact her Mji brother, Evans, who had offered to meet her at the matatu stop and show her the ropes. We found the right transport from mid-NBO, and put her on, hoping for the best.  All worked according to plan, but it was after 9 by the time she arrived (starving!) back at Mji, papers in hand.

Wednesday was Scarf Day at SFG.  Despite my very clear (I thought) instructions to the prefects, they weren’t ready and the impatient form 4’s had to wait outside the library door.  I’d brought both Marys to help.  Mji Mary having graduated SFT in 2018 knew the ropes and of course all the form 4’s, who had been form 3 when she was here, were very happy to see her.  It went better than some years, meaning it was less chaotic.  I’d threatened the “shoppers” who want to pick up every one of the scarves, turn around to get advice from friends still waiting for their turn, and generally not thinking of the ones with high numbers, eagerly watching a favorite scarf, hoping no one with a low number would select it.  The threat was, I’d pull out the shopper, who would then wait until the very end to select.  Turned out to be pretty effective!  One of the high number students suggested I do a turn-around next year, beginning with the high numbers.  Might do that!

All new staff members get one too, but still I had maybe 15 left. Sometimes I give them to special kids who need/want one and the rest I save for next year, always wondering whether there will be a next year. 

Next we stopped at Life Bead, Kenya, about which I’ve written in the past. Minalyn Nicklin has a workshop for HIV positive people, who find it hard to get a job.  In addition to teaching them craft skills, she makes sure they receive a nutritious meal and pays them while they learn.  She’s wonderfully warm and has helped so many, including a number of orphaned babies she has raised.  In a true miracle, she and her husband were given a very large plot of land on which the donor built them a beautiful large home and workshop, with plenty of space for a garden.  It’s not too far from SFG.  She is truly a craftsperson herself, showing us many beautiful earrings, necklaces, bracelets, purses and “stuff”.

I was really impressedwith the size and quality of the new house. Before they’d lived in a ramshackle house on the grounds of the Naivasha Sports Club.  The work room/class room was a add-on, jammed into a very small space. Now they have 2 stories, with an open balcony, large kitchen, airy family spaces.  A separate building houses the crafts, beautifully displayed and reasonably priced.  Beyond that is the room where they make leather goods, using repurposed Southwest Airline seat covers!!!!  Behind that is the beading room, sewing room and space for other crafts, along with western style toilets.  One smaller room housed someone’s motorcycle!  A separate building provides medical office space for her husband’s practice, part of which is caring for the HIV + people who work and learn there.

They don’t have a large garden yet, but will soon.  I don’t know the benefactor, but he must be a very rich saint (is that an oxymoron?).

I asked Lydia whether she would allow Minalyn to bring some of her wares to SFG for the teachers to “shop”.  The women often admire my earrings (sometimes asking to be gifted with same), so I think maybe they’ll be interested.  It doesn’t happen often that vendors are allowed in, but when they are, teachers often buy.

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