June 11, 2014
#2 First Days in Naivasha
Before I arrived here, of course I had to leave home, no small matter. Wednesday evening saw granddaughter, Maya, graduating from Paly and off to U. of San Diego, and next evening saw brother, Ben, graduating from 8th grade and off to Paly in the fall. With the help of several friends and probably some miracles as well, the bags got packed, I took leave of the cats, garden, house and friends and was off to SFO with son Mark, who always takes me and picks me in August. Of course on the way, I remembered all the things I had forgotten in the rush, but the nice thing is, there is nothing I can do about it, so I just say, “oh well!” and sit back.
At the airport my bags proved to be too heavy, despite my having weighed them. I put on my most repentant face and explained I had many books donated for children in Kenya. After a bit of moving things from one suitcase to my already overloaded backpack, they didn’t charge me the threatened $150!!!
The trip was the usual, just long and fairly sleepless, but terminal. And when I arrived in Nairobi, after a short interaction with a customs agent, who got the same book story and waved me on through, I was greeted as always by Fr. Kiriti and a big smile. The drive to Naivasha gave us a chance to catch up a bit, and at the end there was Julia, full of hugs and smiles. Oh, it is good to be back and to be so warmly welcomed.
Julia has had some major surgery and cannot do anything very heavy, particularly bending down, but fortunately Selina, recent graduate of SFG, was here, waiting to finish application for nursing school. Selina had cleaned my house, made my bed up, washed and rehung the curtains—generally made my homecoming easier. Julia had cooked for Fr. Kiriti and me and joined us for dinner in my small kitchen. Alas, I didn’t think to get a picture. I promise to do better in future blogs.
After everyone left and I began to unpack, I noticed the curtains in my bedroom were about 2 inches above he sill. Hmmm, they couldn’t have shrunk; they’re some sort of unshrinkable fabric. This was very curious. Only the next day did I notice the curtains in the kitchen, the ones I had labored over to shorten, were too long. Oh, they got mixed. Again, Selina to the rescue.
Here she is having switched them, rehanging the ones in my room. Note her fancy dress. She’s taking a computer class here in the parish compound and is enjoying being all dressed up. The computer teacher is pretty cute. I wonder if there is a connection????
I spent my first morning unpacking, which was going slowly. I seem to be experiencing jet lag much more than in any previous year. Before lunch I walked to the Naivas (supermarket) as I had nothing to eat but 1 egg and some bread. It’s not a long walk, although rocky, so I had to pick my way carefully. My bags were a bit heavy and by the time I got back I was exhausted. It may also be a response to the altitude which is about 4000 feet, compared to Menlo Park, which is about 40 feet. After peanut butter toast, which is about all I had energy for, I fell asleep for several hours. However, Catherine was coming for dinner, so I cooked up some mince meat (hamburger) with onions, peppers, tomatoes and added some of the rice left over from the night before. I have to say it was quite tasty, and we had a great visit, chatting, planning, and sharing. I showed her a seat belt pad I had brought for the car Fr. Kiriti and I share. It’s a simple piece of soft fabric which folds over the seatbelt to keep it from irritating the skin. I thought maybe the Life Bloom ladies could make and sell them. She was quite excited. It would be an easy project and she, like me and Fr. Kiriti, has hated that scratchy belt. I’m not sure they’ll get rich from it, but she thinks the women could sell them outside of banks and other places where cars park.
After she left, I could hardly drag myself to wash up, then fell into bed.
Next day I had more energy and finished the unpacking. Fr. Kiriti brought back the car for me to use and I had a big list of errands, including a huge shopping for stuff I couldn’t have carried but with the car…it does make a difference. It took 3 trips to Safaricom to get my phone and modem to access internet, but as you see, I am in business.
I stopped to see Ann, the social worker for Empower the World, our Kenyan Foundation that handles all our funds, chooses the students to receive scholarships, pays the fees and generally runs things for us here in Kenya. My first morning I had found Beatrice here at Mji Wa Neema. She is Selina’s sister, whom I had not met, but is one of our scholarship students. She had been sent home because her brothers had failed to pay the small fee (about $20 per term), which is their share of Beatrice’s education. The girls are orphans and Selina was taken in to Mji Wa Neema, but Beatrice was found only last year and taken to SFG. I had met one brother last year, an elementary teacher in a very remote area, who probably makes very little. He had promised to pay, but did so only for the first term. ACH! It’s the problem of the family for which the students pay the price. I called Ruth, the principal, said I would pay the fee and was sending Beatrice back to school. That was but one of a number of items Ann and I discussed.
By the time I got back home I was again hardly able to make it to the bed and quickly fell asleep. Sometime later I was awakened by a knock at the door and there was David Mungai, on a short holiday from his medical studies, coming by to see me. He’s a great kid and I was pleased he had come by. Then there was another knock at the door—Cynthia who just graduated SFG in November and is waiting to go off to nursing school. Cynthia was just 8 when I first came and David 6. I’ve loved seeing them grow up to become responsible young people.
By the time they left I was off to my first Rotary meeting of the year. I’ll write about that next time. It’s 8:15 pm and I’m again falling asleep. I think by tomorrow I’ll be on Kenyan time. This is a nuisance!