Sunday, June 26, 2011

"If You Accomplish EverythingYou Set Out To Do You Didn't Set Out To Do Enough!"

Last Sunday I made a trip to see the kids that we built the home for last year.  It was great to see them kids after a year. The visit was shorter then I would have liked, because it took much longer to get to the home then I thought. The half hour to forty five minuet trip ended up taking over two hours  because  matatus do not run as often on Sundays. The one that I finally got on took a long time to fill up.

This week was mainly spent getting the metal bent and wired together for reinforcing the foundation. This took so much more time then I ever imagined it would with just four Kenyans and myself working. Then there were the things that slowed down the progress that I had not expected. Deliveries of bricks that we had to off load from the tractor, and once that was done I chose to have them stacked in piles five high and in ten rows of ten so that there would have piles of 500 bricks. This makes them easy to count, and easier to keep track of. Plus this way we only pay for the quality bricks that are actually received. This week we stacked a total of 3205 bricks so you can imagine how much time was lost to that activity.
 This week has moved slower then I had expected not in the respect of time but in accomplishments at the construction site. Throughout my life I have often heard my grandfather say “If you accomplish everything that you set out to do then you didn't set out to do enough!” The goal I had for this week was to have the entire foundation poured with concrete so that next week we could get started with the brick and be moving ahead. It seemed like a reasonable goal at the time when I had set it last week.

Friday we did start working on the concrete but we were stopped by a very severe rain storm, we continued working through it until marble size hail started falling with such velocity that it hurt. So we took shelter for about and hour till it was over. By that time the concrete that had been poured had been covered by the mud that washed in and some of the footers were toward the lower end had a bit of water in them. I remember the same thing had happened last year, guess its the baptism of the foundation. If its in Gods will the concrete will be finished Monday, He obviously didn't want us to finish Friday. 

Other reflections of the week
Tuesday on my way to work I met a man standing by the road, he introduced himself as James. We talked for a while and then he told me he was looking for work. I asked him a few questions and he wanted a to be paid double the rate then what is in the budget. So after refusing to accept the rate that everyone else is getting, he just wanted me to give him some money. “Because Kenya is so corrupt you know” which he says with a smile on his face. So as I waited for a matatu that was going in my direction I continued to talk to James. I told him that the problem isnt just that fact that Kenya is corrupt, but that the people of Kenya have accepted it as a fact of life. One that they can not change, and instead of saying no to the corruption they themselves become corrupt too. Then a matatu came that was going in my direction and I got on and headed for work. The conversation that I had with James was stuck in my head
Corruption is not just a local problem here in Kenya, nor is it something new. Its a global problem and it has been for a long time a very long time. The more I thought about it I remember that the children of Israel wanted to be ruled by a king instead of by God. I couldn't remember where it was till I looked it up, 1 Samuel 8:5. This is where I believe corruption began. We wanted to be ruled by man instead of by God. So one corrupt person is exchanged or voted out for another corrupt person, but the end result is still the same more corruption. We can blame one political group or the other, the economy and the bankers; we can protest and riot, but it will not change a thing unless we give the reign back to God as a society, nation and world. Unfortunately, I don't see people coming together to give up their faith government to turn back to God. I could go into more detail but I am getting way off topic. Anyway this is where my conversation with James brought me and the fact that thousands of people are protesting governments all over the world, and that change in government wont make things better because no man made system is perfect and power does corrupt man.
On Wednesday as I got to the place where I catch rides in the morning a taxi pulled over and wanted to carry Jon and I to where we were going. I told him thats fine but I was waiting on one more person because Mark was going to work on the shamba (garden) at the veronica home and then help out with construction a bit. The driver said he would wait and then said that I should pay 50 bob for the ride. Now this ride on a matatu is 30 shillings and in a town service car or taxi its 40 bob or shillings. So I asked him why I would want to pay 50 when I could get a ride for 30? His response was because his car is more comfortable and that we are friends. I couldn't understand his logic that because I was his friend I should pay more, but told him with friends like these who would need enemies? After a little while he agreed to take the three of us for 40 a piece. In the car we got to talking more and he said that whenever he sees a white person he thinks he should get more money from them because we colonized Kenya. I had to tell him that I wasn't British I am an American, and that we had been colonized by the British also, and that we really weren't all that different. This seemed to change his opinion on things even if it was only a temporary change.
Also on Wednesday the shilling dropped to its lowest value ever being from 80 per dollar to 90. A lot of the imports will be effected by this change. As I learned Thursday when I went to get materials from the hardware store, the price for anything with metal had gone up. I had came on the right day because I had gotten the price that was quoted to me the week before, but if I needed anything else in the future the price would be noticeably higher. While at the hardware I was advised that I should purchase anything with metal soon because the price would most likely be going up each day. I know that its not the price going up, its really the currency value going in down, that thought will get me back off topic again so, that will be all for now until next time. May the grace and peace from God be with you and glory to God in all things through His son Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The construction is now underway

Last week the site was staked out and cleared of the top soil. 

 On Monday a Jon a visitor, from Reno staying at TI came to the site to help out. Early Monday morning the foundation was measured and squared up and staked out again. 

The rest of the week was spent digging trenches, and moving soil from the high end of the lot to the low end getting the elevations correct. The Kenyan hoe know here as a jembe is the main tool to be used in this process it works great to break up the hard clay, of course a backhoe would work even better but they aren't as readily available here as the jembe is.

Friday there was a need to do some work on constructing a road for delivery vehicles to get through what was a garden plot.

The trenches are now finished and materials have been delivered at the site so that we could start pouring a foundation.

Wednesday a trip to the baby orphanage called In Step was planned, so the guys were given the day off. In Step is as of yesterday careering for 102 children most of which are under the age of five. 

Its hard for me to remember all of the statistic and logistics of the place because it is a bit overwhelming. There is about thirty four employees that help keep everything running. Most of the treatments for sick kids are done in house, so they rarely need to go to the hospital. In Step is in the process of building a medical clinic on their 20 acre compound in order to have more space and a better facility to treat the children.

There is also a floor slab down for a new two story dorm, for now once that is completed one floor will be for boys and the other will be for girls. There is also plans to build a second one next to it which will also be a two story and then one dorm will be boys and the other girls, and there will be a veranda connecting it. They are hoping to have the two dorms built within the year and after the completion plans to build a school. The Goal is to build a small community to meet all of the needs of the children as they grow. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Visit To Veronica Home And The Site Of The Classroom Construction

In this picture is Martin who is looking though his camera. He is standing just in front of where the classrooms will be located. The next few days will be used for planing, and sometime this week the site will be staked out and cleared of topsoil and hopefully start digging for the foundation.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Safe Arrival

The trip started off going backwards, by that I mean I had to fly east from Rochester to Chicago to go west. Its fitting to start the trip off in this fashion because that sort of thing is common place in Kenya, it makes perfect sense how can you go forward if you haven't gone backwards first? There was a lot of “unstable air” as the captain called it from Chicago to London. Later I learned that tornadoes had gone through parts of the north east of the US, with most damage in Massachusetts. I'm not sure if the times coincided, was it the “unstable air” that turned into tornadoes? The only other thing I find notable to mention is on the flight from London to Nairobi the flight path usually flies over Libya which I only know because the captain mentioned it and said
“For obvious reasons we would be flying by way of Egypt instead, which will add a few minuets to the flight. I could go on a rant at this point about what is happening in Libya, but I will refrain from it; I'm not sure that this is the proper form, but then what is? I will just say that peace will never be achieved through military means or other acts of violence. Bombing a country is not a humanitarian action, there have been more deaths from “collateral damage” then there were that led up to the UN sanctions of creating a “no fly zone.” The mission was then expanded through a loophole in the sanction, this expansion comes at the cost of the US taxpayer who contribute to over 70% of the UN's funds, but the biggest price is paid by the Libyan people who have lost their lives or family members, and now have much of their cities in ruins.

Sorry... I said I wouldn't rant so thats as far as I will take that tangent. Although there are of other things that can be said. Unfortunately I know most people are not interested in what is happening in the world or if they are they are just too busy to do the research necessary to be properly informed.

Anyway after a full 24 hours of air travel and flight changes and going through multiple time zones, I'm now seven hours ahead of where I started and have made it to Kenya. At the airport it was nice to see some familiar faces of some people that I met last year that were picking up a new team of volunteers. I spent ten hours in Nairobi, just long enough to check in to the hotel clean up and get a full nights sleep. In the morning it was off the catch the shuttle for the days trip to Kitale. To my surprise there has been a lot of road work that has been completed since my last stay here. From Eldoret to Soy the road had been completely resurfaced which took a considerable amount of time off of the trip. Arrived in Kitale some time around 4 pm about seven hours after leaving Nairobi. Upon getting off the matatu (shuttle) I was rushed by locals looking to take me wherever they wanted to go, or carry my bags. I had almost forgot what it was like to be in the swarm where no one really understands english and has their own agenda and don't want to take no for an answer or perhaps don't even understand its meaning.
After breaking away from the crowed I was able to make it across the street to get a taxi to take me to where I would be staying at the TI (Transformed International) compound. There I was greeted by Derek who then got Eric to show me to the room I would be staying in. Dropped off my bag and caught up for a little bit, then got messages back home to let everyone know of my safe arrival three days after leaving.