Our first day, off to Majengo to visit the kids who swarm us as we climb out of the old red truck, so heart warming to see them again...4 years now and how they have grown.
The big girls, not little kids anymore, but young women now, teaching us line dance in the middle of a field with Filippe holding Charles' laptop blasting Itunes - the girls asking for long skirts now and nice shoes.
The boys, well like all boys, a little gawky, not wanting to show a lot of emotion, but its so there. Our visits twice a year - we get to follow their lives closely. When we first met them coming from such unspeakably terrible early years, either on the streets without family, or worse, and then into their first home at Majengo, in March 2009 when we opened with 27 kids living in. Now, jammed into 3 rented cottages, 4 years later, bursting with 77 kids and, as of this month, another 60 living out.
And can you imagine! by April they'll be moved a few miles down the road into their brand new home
The kids leap out of the truck and scatter....like birds set to flight, I can't begin to imagine how they must feel seeing their future home pop out out the ground, like a miracle...This place will far surpass our current facility, in space...with big airy homes, a room for a mama in each, good open ventilation, and wide open spaces, to run and play, a soccer field, play ground, a big open dining room for 100 kids, kitchen, pre school..and someday, a library with computers and lots of books, and DVDs...a tv for once in awhile watching...chicken coop...goats, cows..a vegetable garden behind every house...and a tree for every child!
19 guys are working on the spot, hand mixing cement, and lugging it over to house 3, truckloads of stones dumped into the the foundation, to be broken in small pieces with a sledgehammer, again, all by hand. No electricity. Awesome!
On day one, we're at a meeting with village leaders on site, and tour them around how could they not be impressed! I report on a project back in Canada called POWER AFRICA...raising money to bring wind and solar into rural Africa, interested in appraising Majengo and the community early in the new year. Free technology and hook-up. Very cheap electricity. I'm meeting with them late January...
Marci was clearly on a work-a-day tour, as opposed to a nice safari, where wheels stay on the trucks, the windows go up and down, and people are on time. Rice and beans, rice and beans, rice and beans....Working at Majengo equals local food at $3 a meal, lodging ($15. a night - private room and bath with hot water!) on a back street, dirt road sort of motel, side by side with women cooking dinner over fires on the side of the road - real Africa...our days filled running after Charles, doing or waiting for Charles. I have tried to learn patience here. Cause I know when he is an hour or two late it is because he has taken a baby to hospital en route between Majengo and picking us up, or attended a funeral - always a good reason. But communication is a challenge, and when it happens it is thrilling!
Give Get Go Majengo build tour!! they have had a fabulous time over the last two weeks...every day out there in the hot sun lugging rocks, building walls, on safari to the Ngora Crater, visiting Masai markets, and biking through banana plantations. Monika, who has worked on 5-6 Habitat for Humanity builds wrote that this far surpasses anything she has EVER done!!! wow!!! Check out Give Get Go for their next trips (February!!). It was so much fun seeing the kids...I miss them so!!
Got into the park...a few hours late to meet the big old bus that was certified to take all of us down into the crater. Well he got tired of waiting for us, and took a group of Asian people down, driving around looking at lions until Charles hit the roof...! we were up on the rim waiting with all these kids, eating lunch in the van, pouring rain outside when the poor guy pulled up the crater, we loaded in and got on our way. Well we were only down there for 15 minutes when the back left tire burst. All the guys poured out, and took awhile to fix it, all the while i had diah. and had to be escorted out to the back to do my business a little worried about lions and tigers and bears...the kids, once i was done, followed suit. Finally we were on our way.
An hour later, rambling driving in the dark, pelting rain...arrived on the ridge of the Embarkai crater, too dark to see anything, but squeezed into our pjs in the dark while those guys set up our tent, and theirs, canvas to canvas, side by side, a few inches away. As we crawled in wondering whether this was a big mistake, their last words to us were to stay in our tent, and to call our them when we needed to pee. The Masai warrior who had walked 20 miles over with 4 donkeys had given up waiting, turned around and headed home..another 20 K - we dined en tent a la spagetti with carrot/tomato sauce, tent leaking, tired, disgruntled, sort of, and off to bed, chuckling. Sort of.
The trip up was not terrifically to my liking. I am strong, thankfully but i don't like up. Marci was fine. I was not, counting my steps, swearing under my breathe enough already.
...a boy of about 8 is hiding behind a tree drapped in dark brown rags...the shepherd of 17 cows loitering below and proceeding steadfastly in our direction, a flotila of flies and flees and flying things carving the way. There is no rest. The boy is fascinated by us, i give him water. He doesn't go away. His cows attuned now to the seeming attentiveness we have shown to him, draw closer. Covered in flies we scramble up and back toward our tents, where just behind a line of Masai women wait patiently, for us to get up in notice of them....and their beads.
Ah...and Baby Anna..everyone asks about her, the little 9 month old brought to us by police a few years ago, emaciated, dying, with a day or two left to live. Hadija, our cook, took her home...and here she is today....bravo!!
Back to Majengo for our going away party, so hard to leave, but so good to know that soon i will return.
We hope it will be finished by March or April to move the kids in!
And for Marci and I, home...a six hour bus ride to Nairobi, catch a flight to Paris, smoked salmon with little toast pieces and chardonay at 10am..on a plane with a guy whose passion is to grow big vegetables...so you fill up a rain barrel with water and sink into it a burlap bag of cow or chicken manuere...let it mull about and water your veggies every few days and stand back andf watch them explode! or..if you like long straight carrots..get a 28 inch long, 2" inch wide circular plastic pipe...the ones they use for plumbing..sink it 10 inches into the ground, with 18 inches above. Fill it up with good soil and plant three carrot seeds at the top, watered with the manuered water. One week later, snip off the two little plants leaving the best one to grow, water every three days. Wow! one big 18 inch long straight yummy carrot delicious he tells me. Yum.
Next trip over...Give Get Go!! watch for it on our updates, home page!