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Lavenda, week 2

sunny 22 °C

Saturday morning we took another computer class to make up for the Tuesday group who had missed out. In the afternoon Di, 5 workers and I spent 4 hours loading the school´s truck to the hilt with firewood whilst Charlie conveniently dissapeared. I found him later in the bottlo when I went to pick up some softdrinks. Whilst we were loading the wood we ran into Simon who introduced us to his mother. We later found out she was only 55 but she looked like she´d seen 70 winters a tribute to the harsh lifestyles that women in Africa live. Just for kicks I drove the 10 tonner truck home which made the staff a little anxious as last time a mzungu had been in control they had run straight off the road.

We slept in untill 8am and for the first time since christmas in Sweden some years ago we went to church. It started off fantastic with some wonderful singing by the whole school and charming performances the singular year levels. The second half was horrible though and I couldn´t wait to get away. There was lots of talk about the devil and how rap music was his instrument, there were people crying into their handichiefs and others praying so fast that their words were incoherent.

When we finally got out of church we joined a group of people heading into Nyeri. Most of the people were going in to see Moomby who had been admitted into hospital. We dropped by quickly to say hello but left the girls to their business after only a few minutes. Charlie was asked to leave because he was being too loud so we left at the same time. He invited us to lunch with his wife Shiro, his daughter Maureen, his baby Queen Latifa, two of his orphaned nieces and one of their friends. We ate nothing but goat meat which at any other time would have been plain but suited me just fine after a week of vegetarian meals.

Following lunch Di went of to grab some internet and of course we were followed by some local street kids. One of them tried to open Di´s bag so I grabbed him and pushed into the wall, he looked absoloutely terrified so I let him go and he ran away. After an hour in the internet cafe we picked up some more supplies and waited for the others to meet us. The attention from the street kids and would be criminals became too suffocating and we retreated to a cafe and eventually the car.

We brought in the new working week on a positive note. At 7.30 in the morning we met with a bricklayer to get a quote to build a retaining wall. Over the past few days we had designed a new landscape for part of the senior school´s grounds and this was the first step. His fee was something like $7 a day which was pretty hard to complain about. He was a middle age guy with reasonable English and a very agrreable personality. He introduced himself as Francis the little and was suitably happy when I laughed. We agreed on a price for the project as a whole and began digging a trench for the foundations. Simon had been allocated to help us with the project which was good for both the assistence, his knowledge of the school and his good natured company.

We continued working on the project until 3.30 so that we had time to take a shower before computer clases. Normaly the showering from a bucket was a non issue but it was a little less satisfying when we were covered from head to toe with dirt. That night we ran class computer class number two which was on computer navigation. It was a little less interesting for them than the first week but they did learn some vital skills and at the end we played them a Michael Jackson DVD to maintain increase their interest.

That night we had a full house in our quarters. We had Aaron from the library, Simon, Grace, us and the funny little grounds lady that we saw around regurarly. We broke open some sodas for everyone and watched some more of the Michael Jackson video.

Tuesday saw the birth of our new routine. We awoke at 5 to the continual crowing of the roosters, we then passed in and out of sleep until the primary school met for assembly and eventually our alarm would go off at seven. We would then have breakfast and head up to the high school where we continued with our job. Simon and anyone else helping out would take a break for morning tea which day in day out was the same gruel which they ambitiously called porridge. Despite our objections to its taste and texture they all seemed to like it. We would all take a 30-45 minute lunch break and then work through until 3.30 when Di and I would head of to prepare for computer class. Simon would then work for another hour and pack up the worksite.

After our second day on the job we had not even completed half of the trench. Within an inch of the surface we struck rocks which were at times the size of my torso, only thicker. Most of the tools had nothing more than a branch from a tree or a 40cm stump for a handle. To make matters worse the heads fell off on a regular basis despite our efforts to secure them firmly.

On the Wednesday my routine was stretched a little longer. I was asked by Sido to begin taking maths classes for the year twelves. As I was busy during the day I decided to take them at morning prep time which ran from 7 until 8. With this new addition my working day was a 7am to 5.30pm affair. It was tiring but it was nice to know that I was ctually making the difference that I had wanted. It also meant that at night time I would need to prepare a class for the following morning as well as give instructions as to what should be done before I arrived on the job site in the morning.

That day whilst Simon and Dianne continued work on the job I left early to catch a free ride to Nyeri, in town I downloaded some tools which I needed to build a new library database system. I returned as quickly as I could but I arrived alittle late. Thankfully Di had taken it upon herself to begin the computer clases without me. By the end we had 12 or so students in attendance and even more spectators. That night amongst my other duties I started to create a new library borrowing system.

Some rest came on Thursday as the Fundi was busy and we were mostly finished the trench. After maths classes we perfected the trench and with Aarons help removed the last of the rocks. In the afternoon I wrote some code for the library system and with the help of two other workers carried the building blocks from the dumping ground to the work site. By the end of the day we were completely ready to build the wall, unfortunately we had one fully functional pick left. The handle had become so short on one of them that Simon managed to hit himself in the head during his backswing.

We played cards again with Grace that night who to our comical benefit showed no signs of improving. After a bit more work that night I was able to show Aaron a glimpse of what the library system would look like.

On the last day of the working week Di rose the same time as me. Whilst I took my maths class Simon and her prepared sand, cement and water for the job site. That day we got the whole foundations laid which meant it would have the weekend to settle. It was a labourios task mixing over a ton of concrete on the ground and then laying it. Di wore out quickly and soon fell into the role which we had assigned her, ¨Indian foreman¨ not normaly a term of endearment in Africa it became a running joke. When we had finished work and computer clases the Friday night crowd gathered at our place again so we fueled the party with a few strong soft drinks.

Posted by jaredlking 21:28 Archived in Kenya Tagged backpacking

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