#13 2014 Nothing Much Going On
Thursday, July 10, 2014
The first month here has been a whirlwind of activity, as you’ve read and now, suddenly it’s very quiet. Judy left on Sunday, the girls have gone back to SFG after their midterm break and are now busy with CATs (Continuous Assessment Testing), so there is not much for me to do there. Julia has a cold, so I’m leaving her to rest, Agnes is having an off (I think, b/c I haven’t seen her tonight.) I went to a meeting of the executive board of Ndingi this morning, chaired by Catherine, who is chairperson of the board. I continue to be impressed with her professionalism, her insightful comments, her strength in making the tough calls and her compassion for all. What a woman! She should be president of more than just a school board and I daresay she will be someday.
The rest of the time I’ve just been picking up odd jobs. Yesterday I cleaned my little house, which was actually very dirty, but I usually walk around without my glasses, so I don’t notice. Thus I was abashed to see how dirty the mop water was when I gave it to a poor struggling plant outside my door.
For the whole 7 years I have been living here in Mji Wa Neema I have decried the curtains which are way too long and yesterday, having nothing more important, I decided to remedy this. I began with the curtain in my little bathroom and followed my father’s age-old advice, “measure twice, cut once.” He forgot to remind me I had to add extra for the hem! I thought it would be about 5” below the bottom of the window, but it just reaches the sill. Alas! Too smart for my own britches! I next did 1 of the 2 on my bedroom window, which looks just like I want it, but now I realize I have to make sure the second one is exactly the same length. By the time I hand stitched the hem in the first one it was time to sleep and I didn’t do that second one today. Maybe tomorrow. Manana! I work so much better under pressure. Without something pushing me I read, fall asleep, listen to my ipod, read email and generally waste time. ARGH!
Last night I attended the Rotary Naivasha meeting, held at the Naivasha Golf and Sports Club. I like this Rotary. The meetings are sometimes small (evidently the broadcast of the World Cup kept many members at home), but the new president, Juanita Ndila, is very good, serious but fun too. This small group is planning their projects for the year, thinking about needy schools (there are many), water projects and the like. They raise some small money at each meeting, with a weekly dues of ksh 100 ($1.25), fines for being late (ksh 100) fines for fiddling with one’s phone during the meeting or talking too much or receiving a call (should have turned off the phone) or any cock-a-mamie reason the sergeant-at-arms levels. These are generally in the ksh 100-200 range and everyone good naturedly pays up. They also have “happy/sads” in which people share something that has made them either one. Almost everyone does a h/s, even if it’s just to say they are happy to be there. At the end the total for the night is announced. Last night was about ksh 3000 ($35), but generally 3 to 5 times that much. They are good people who like to have fun but also have a big heart, especially for school, clinics and water. I am grateful to them for being so welcoming to me. It has been a wonderful opportunity to meet people I would have no other way to meet.
In the late afternoon I was about to go out on an errand when it began to rain. Ah, it was so nice, settling the dust, clearing the air, washing my car (although this morning I had paid the gateman at Ndingi to wash it for me while I was at the meeting). Even though my car was clean when I left Ndingi it was dusty by the time I drove out to the road, maybe 150 yards, and on the road into the parish and around to where I live. This morning when I went out to go to Ndingi it was so dusty I couldn’t see out the rear window.
Not going on my errands, I took a nap instead, always a luxury and particularly wonderful to be lulled to sleep by the rain. Later when I woke, my eye fell on one of the DVD’s I had brought along so I slipped it into my computer and watched God Got Tired of Us about the lost boys of the Sudan. It must have been based on the book, What Is the What which I have read and recommended often. This is a true story of the trek these boys made, over 1000 miles from southern Sudan to Ethiopia and then to Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya. It followed 4 boys who were among the some 10,000 who were taken to the US to live and go to school, eventually to possibly return to Sudan to help rebuild the country. Some have actually returned, even though the fighting with the north has not completely stopped. I cried at the scene of the arrival in New York of the Dinka mother, having not seen her son for almost 15 years. She collapsed in the arrival section but later danced and ululated through the airport. Her son, some 7’ tall had been in the US too long—he seemed embarrassed by his mom. She was just celebrating in the only way she knew how.
It’s a great documentary, the last ½ of which shows their struggle living in Syracuse, NY, having never seen electricity, a shower, a refrigerator, toilet…… They had to learn everything that we never even think about. Watch it if you can. I would think Netflix has it.
I’ll write again when I have something more interesting to tell.