Thursday, September 29, 2011

New K-MET Building Under Construction

Stone Dressers

Sanke in the Grass - Poisonous (Dead) Near House

Samuel - Stone Dresser Boss

Religious Woman Going to Funeral

Peter in Office with Deskmate Griffin and Susan

Peter and Monica Laying New Building Cornerstone

New Dental Clinic

Monica and Mom Helping Cook for Funeral

Monica, KMET Tea Lady

Agnes Bathing

Blog 2 Kisumu

Blog 2
Kisumu, Kenya
Week of September 26, 2011

Hello Everyone,

Hope you are all fine as I am here in Kisumu. I have been just short of one month and things are going very well. I have exciting things to tell you, so let me start.

Some of you know about Marion, the 11 year old orphan who Hinda and I, and some of you are helping to stay in and finish school.. I have told you before that Marion is very very smart. Well, as I write this, she is in Indonesia, the only person in her school who was chosen to attend a UN Youth Conference on the Environment. WOW! Yes, she will go places, and she has already started. Not bad for someone so young from a very small village. It was a real challenge to get her a passport and birth certificate in only 1 day, but we did. And then she didn’t get her ticket until just a few hours before she boarded the plane, but she got off ok. All’s well that ends well. I just heard that she is doing very well and enjoying herself.

In my last blog I told you about the dental clinic that will be starting here – actually on Monday, October 3rd. When you look at the photo you will recognize that it is pretty much state of the art. All of the equipment has been donated including instruments, chair, light, compressor to run everything, and all supplies. The dental clinic will be collaboration with World Missions International run by of all people, a Japanese American dentist from Seattle who lives in Nairobi and runs several dental clinics. Even the dentist will be donated. Actually she is a COHO – Community Oral Health Officer, kind of like a nurse practitioner with quite a bit of community dental experience. Already there are lots of people waiting to get dental care, I will not be modest here, and simply say I am proud and happy to have brought this about. It fills a very big gap in the services that K-MET provides to the community ,and will make a difference.

Here is a funny thing A new airport just opened a couple of weeks ago here. A very nice and modern one. However, when I went to pick someone up, I first went to the old airport and then was told that t was closed and directed to the new airport. Where were the signs???

The new building is progressing very rapidly and I am optimistic that it will be completed by the time I leave here. I am really working hard to make that happen. See some of the photos. I was very proud to have helped lay the cornerstone.

I had to take Marion to get a Yellow Fever shot and went to a large clinic in the community. Marion was the only patient. All of the other people there were staff and all were sleeping and or sitting around doing nothing. In addition, they had the vaccine but only in packaging for 10 doses and wouldn’t open it for her, so one of us who brought her had to go in a very big rainstorm to buy a single dose and bring it back.

There has been a crack down on vehicles which are not properly licensed, insured, etc., so go to the town where Roselyne and Festus come from, we need to use those vehicles – matatu’s, designed for up to 14 but carrying perhaps 21 or 22. So what happens is that the matatu picks you up takes your money, and then if they get stopped, they just strand you wherever and you are left nowhere with and your fare is gone.

From a young boy as I was walking back from a funeral: “Hey mzungu (white man). I am going to send you a rat”. Hahaha.

Buy the way, on the Friday night of the funeral which was very near to where I was staying, the music and preaching was so loud that none of the 5 of us who slept in the room that night had any sleep which was not good after all of helped cook and wash dishes for the many special guests who came for the funeral. We were all pretty tired the next morning, only to have to get up early and cook breakfast and lunch and wash dishes again – all outside with wood and/or charcoal fires.

For the past few days there has not been enough water pressure to take a shower so I have to take splash baths which are ok, but not great. Well, at least we have had power.

Heard enough? I think so. Hope you enjoy the blog and photos.

Love, Omosh,
(the nickname for my Kenyan name
me of Omondi meaning born early in the morning). It is how most people call me now. And I have learned so much Luo and Kiswahili and enjoy speaking. I get lots of teasing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Taking Agnes To School On My Way To Work

Marrion In Front of My Room

New KMET Building Under Construction

Blog 1 Kisumu, Kenya Sep 14, 2011

Blog 1Kisumu, KenyaSeptember 14, 2011

Jambo Everyone!

Hope this finds you well. Some of you know that I am back in Kenya, and for those who don’t, well, now you know.I arrived here on August 31, and after 1 night in Nairobi, flew to Kisumu on September 1. By Monday, September 6, I was back at work at K-MET. I think this is my 4th time here volunteering with them.

I am back living with Roselyne and Festus and their children Agnes, 3, and Kennedy, 9, and in my own room again. But this time I bought a new bed and mosquito net. I am quite comfortable.Since I was here last some 6 months ago, the prices of most things have increased significantly, however, the exchange rate has also improved in favor of the US dollar, so for me it is not as bad as it is for the Kenyans for whom life is very expensive.

Another thing is that there are a lot more power outages. Last week there were power outages every night. Somehow during the day when you don’t need lights there is power and at night when you need it for cooking, eating, etc., there is none. And to make matters worse, it seems that in the dark there are a lot more mosquitoes at night which isn’t so good. And to top it all off, this morning the power company fooled us and turned the power off which resulted in a coooooold shower. I also have a cold which I am trying to shake. But, I am OK.

What am I doing here again? First and foremost, I am with old friends, and some new ones too. I am happy to be back and received very warm welcomes from everyone. For the past couple of years I have been helping KMET build a building which houses a medical clinic, micro finance, the “Schnurman” Pharmacy and various program offices. The building was completed last year. Now, we are constructing a second building which will house the youth program, Nutriflour Production facility, and a shelter for adolescent girls and young women – Freedom House. I have been negotiating bids for this new building and helping to coordinate construction. And it is going up fast, and I think it will be completed by the time I leave in early January. I really enjoy doing this, and it is good to leave something behind that will be there for a long time, but more importantly will provide important services for the community.

And now, this is exciting. I have been able to put together a real coup – a dental clinic which I believe will be operational in just a few more weeks. Through a contact in Seattle, I met an American dentist who lives and practices in Nairobi and who runs several non profit dental clinics in Nairobi and elsewhere here. Anyway, he came here to visit and was quite impressed with KMET and we have agreed that his organization – World Ministries International will provide equipment and staff for the dental clinic. This is a first, and the need for people to have dental care is paramount. So many people in the slum communities here are in serious need of dental services, and our new clinic will be affordable. In fact we hope that people who can afford to pay a market rate will come and use the service which will help to subsidize the cost for those who have little to no money.

Each morning on my way to work I take Agnes, the 3 year old I live with to nursery school on the motorcycle I take to work. Would this happen in America? I help with the cooking at home. Last weekend I made guacamole which everyone loved including me. The only problem was not being able to have the right kind of chips for dipping so we used potato chips. It worked!! The avocados here are huge and delicious. And I was asked to make more which I will.

Here is an interesting cultural thing that I witnessed. A man who is married to a woman but who was never formally introduced to his wife’s m other cannot be in the same room with his mother in law. When she came to visit her daughter, he had to stay in the kitchen until she left.

One of the best things about living in different parts of the world is to experience different culture, mores, taboos, etc. I learn a lot every day. And by the way speaking of learning, my Kiswahili is getting better and better and so is my Dholuo the local language spoken in this part of Kenya.So,

I have attached a few photos – the new building under construction, Agnes and me on the motorcycle going to school, and a photo of Marrion who some of you are helping to continue her education after she was left an orphan last hear. She is Festus’ 11 year old niece, and is number 1 in her class and also a very nice young girl. She will go far and make those of us who are helping very proud. Let Hinda or me know if you want to help.

I think that is enough for now.