Monday, September 07, 2015

At Work

Sunday, September 06, 2015

View from New Floor

New Floor at KMET 2

New Floor at KMET 1

Swimming Pool at Apartment

My Apartment 2

My Aoartment #1

My Friend Sunday

Blog 1 Kisumu, Kenya 2015

September 5,6,2015
Kisumu, Kenya

Habari Zenu!  (Hi All!)

Here I am again back in Kisumu with KMET, helping to finish what I started last year (floor 3 of the first KMET Building – but actually started the whole project back in 2009).

First off, I arrived here on August 25th after a series of very long flight from Seattle.  Tired but safe and sound.  I am not getting any younger and the flights are more crowded and seem longer.

I am living in a very comfortable 2 bedroom apartment – small, but adequate and which has everything I need to including a nice swimming pool which I have not yet used.  It is right in the sun, and it is very sunny here, in fact damn hot so, and not yet ready to go in, but I will soon.  In fact a friend and her daughter are coming tomorrow to go swimming.

This apartment is too far from work for me to walk as I have been doing before so I either take a motorbike or a tuk tuk – a covered 3 wheel motorbike which has no springs, so you can imagine the bouncing on the still very many unpaved roads here.  Not much has changed in that department.

I was given a very warm welcome by my KMET friends on the first day I reported to work – volunteer.  And it was easy to get right back into the swing of things.

My major responsibilities are to raise enough money to finish the third floor which is close to completion - need to finish the roof, paint, tile the floor, glaze the windows, and install doors.  The cost about 1.5 million Kenyan Shillings, about $150,000.

Well, in just a little more than a week, I have raised about $30,000 of that, so I am hopeful that I will be successful.

Another of my jobs is to work with the contractors and the suppliers to make sure that the estimates we get are the lowest (and best), and on that score also doing OK.  Have negotiated a very good tile contract and about to finalize the contracts for the rest of the work.  I really enjoy bargaining. 

I am working very hard, but the successes energize me, and I have seen my colleagues pick up so many skills since I first started, so that I feel confident, that in the not too distant future, these KMET guys will do it all on their own.  There is one person who is so good at fundraising – that some wallets are going to get smaller. 

For me the weather has been hot.  I have a fan blowing at me at night and one on my desk blowing on me at work.  The temperature has been in the high 80’s and 90’s since I got here.  It rained so hard a couple of days ago, that it was hard to see through it.  Everything was flooded.  Power was out, etc. 
Now that the power has come back, there was a planned power outage for the whole City of Kisumu, so shortly after I woke on Sunday morning, the power was off and is supposed to be off for the whole day.

So, even though there is no generator, we do have solar hot water, so I was able to shower! 

So here is a fun story:  There is a lot of bribery here as there is elsewhere in Africa.  The other day, I was in town and the driver I was with parked with just a small part of his tire on the yellow striped line in the parking lot.  When we came out of my appointment, the front tired had been clamped and locked so the car was immobile.  The guard came over and told us we had to go the Management Office and pay 1,000 shillings, about $100.  I refused to go and asked the guard if I could give him something “small”.  He said ok and asked how much.  I told him 100 shillings and he agreed.  But I didn’t have a 100 shilling note so I had to give him 200.  Did he give me change?  Guess!!  But these guys earn next to nothing, so I did a good deed.  Hopefully he had a nice lunch or bought candy for his kids.

That’s all folks!  Be well.

Just in case you get a yearning to call me my number here is +254 733 257 039 and my email is and you can also find me on Facebook.