I’ve been asked…”What’s it like there?”
Nothing is easy or simply done here compared to the States, even compared to where I first stayed in 2009. And I am humbled.
On previous trips to Kenya, we were closer to town. There were stands set up on the road where locals sold fruits and vegetables and bread. Here, in Miwani, we have to take a piki piki (motorcycle) to Ahero to the closest (small) markets. Which is about 25 minutes away by a rocky dirt road. Then Kisumu is about another 20 minutes from there which is the city where you can go to the bank, or the super market, buy large amounts of food or building supplies. So to go to town, it’s an all day experience. You can’t just hope in the car and make a quick trip to town. And when you go, you better get everything you need because it seems to be such trouble and fairly costly to go to town and back. When we arrive in town, we get dropped off and walk from store to store to find everything we need. And since Tim and I are white, the prices usually go up. We usually have to hide, or Willis has to do a long negotiating to explain that we are not rich and that we are trying to help an orphanage. But even then, they often charge us higher.
Tuesday we went to town to get more toothbrushes and toothpaste for the school children, light bulbs for the school, deworming medicine, peanut butter, building materials, a computer modem for internet, and that’s about it. We went to many different street vendors, the super market, the chemist (pharmacy), and many different buiding supply “shops”, and to the bank. I guess I can say that I miss Wal-Mart (haha)the one stop shop! We left in the late morning and didn’t get back to the compound until about 9:00 pm. So there are no quick trips to town. J This is fine, however, I hate that it makes it hard to “go to town and grab some food” to take to the widows we go visit or make a run to the pharmacy for a sick kid.
There is no “bathroom”. There is a hole in the ground for a toilet (squatty potty), basically an outhouse, and the bathing room is just a small room with a door and you take your bucket of water in there and you bathe. Most of the children (except the older ones) all bathe together beside the water pump in the mornings because as you can imagine, 45 children using one bathroom would be quite time consuming.
Clothes are washed by hand in a bucket, and hung on the fence to dry. I have noticed that most of the children have maybe 2 outfits to wear and they wear them for 3 or so days before they change. And most of them go barefoot because they only have one pair of shoes and they are torn and nearly unwearable and they want to try to make them last. A majority of them also do not have school uniforms. Only the few sponsored children and the outside school children have uniforms.
All the children come together every morning about 6 am and every night about 9 pm for praise and worship. It is the most beautiful sound.
They cook over fire or charcoal. And they fetch wood from the mountains. Dishes are washed by hand. We’ve learned that breakfast consists of a cup of hot tea. There are not enough cups for their morning tea and so half of the children drink their tea from a plate (however Tim and Willis are in town today and more cups and plates are on their shopping list!). Lunch and dinner is usually rice and beans, or Ugali (boiled corn mean) and beans or corn and beans.
Thankfully, they recently got a well and a hand pump for their water source.
I have many children come to me with their large scrapes and cuts, but I have to chase down the ones that have only small boo boos because they still get infected easily. I am enjoying being the orphanage nurse. But its hard not having much to work with, and I wish I’d brought my nursing book! But they wouldn’t fit in my suitcase and they weigh so much. I had a boy today come to me sick. He is 5 years old. He has pain in his stomach, it’s distended and almost rigid. He has diarrhea. I took his temperature and it was 103.7. Yikes! He was on fire! I’ve been giving him around the clock Children’s Motrin and his fever has subsided but his stomach is still hurting. I am hoping we can make yet another trip to town tomorrow to take him to the doctor. I’m thinking he has a bacterial infection or it’s a side effect of the deworming medication yesterday. Hopefully we’ll get him taken care of soon.
Life looks very different here than life as I knew it in the States. But this is the life.
And I like it. I feel like its right where I am supposed to be.