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Glue for Bananas

Posted by: | October 19, 2009 | 2 Comments |

Today was a really good day.  Someone new (from Colorado!) arrived this weekend and will be working with me in the microenterprise development program. Her name is Ashley and we get along well. Today, we gave our first “business seminar.” There is so much information to convey in such a short period of time! We will go back on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Tomorrow is a national holiday so we won’t be offering the seminar on Tuesday.

After our program today, Ashley and I went to Bungoma where she checked her e-mail before getting a quick lunch of beans at Coffee Garden.  A big bowl of soup costs fifty shillings (less than $1) and is amazing! I really enjoy eating there and am beginning to get to know the staff.

After lunch, we met up with a new friend of mine from England. He is a Catholic missionary working in the area. We enjoyed a glass of juice before heading to the market to buy a mass of bananas for the street children. Joe, Ashley, and I set up a somewhat organized system. Joe would pat search the children for glue. If they had any on them, Joe would confiscate it. Once they were clean, Ashley and I would give each kid two bananas.  It didn’t take us long to distribute the bananas and it was hard to say no to the kids when we ran out.  The bag that once held at least 30 bananas was quickly filled with bottles that the kids had been sniffing glue out of. I really enjoyed the time we spent with Joe today. He treats the street children with respect and dignity. He is so kind and caring to them; the kids are kind and caring in return.  I’ve never been thanked voluntarily by a street kid for food. Today, most everyone thanked us. In a weird way, taking their glue shows we care… something that these children don’t receive often.

We spent 140 shillings in total for the 30+ bananas. That’s about $0.07 per banana. It’s not expensive to show you care around here.

There’s a piki-piki driver in town named Daniel who is a very safe driver. I call him whenever I need a ride from town back home and, if available, he comes to pick me up. (A piki-piki is a motorbike.  It carries two passengers plus the driver and is used like a taxi.) Yesterday, I learned that his dad runs an orphanage outside of town for about 100 children. I made arrangements to visit the orphanage on Tuesday. Today, Monday, Daniel asked if we could stop by his house on the way from town to ICODEI. Of course, I said that was fine.  We arrived to a huge house (though I’m sure it’s cramped with 100 people!) with a big yard. Some bigger kids were playing volleyball, which Ashley and I quickly joined in playing. The younger kids crowded around and watched the mzungus play volleyball in excitement.  We left, as the sun was setting, and promised to be back tomorrow.  Daniel took another detour on the way home (to show us a dam in the area) and we arrived home just before dinner.  Piki-pikis are quite exhilarating.  Imagine a 1980’s sport bike (motorcycle) with one driver and two adult passenger (not odd to carry three or four children!) and that is a piki-piki. They aren’t really made for the rural roads of Kenya. Nobody wears helmets. It’s quite bizarre.

Anyway, that was today. As I said, today was a good day. I’m glad to have Ashley along with the MDP program and various adventures. Holly left today. I have enjoyed spending time with her but am excited for the adventures she will have as she continues on her travels.

Tomorrow, I have arranged for Daniel and two of his friends to pick 5 of us up from ICODEI. We are going to go checkout a local rock (it’s supposed to be really cool), then head to the orphanage for the day. I’m so looking forward to playing with the kids. I intend on sitting down with Daniel’s dad to see what kind of needs the orphanage has, as I’m sure there are many.

Also, Joe has been repairing houses for people in the community whose homes have been destroyed by rain. (Mud houses don’t last forever. As they are mud, the walls wear over time.) He’s also been building houses. Each house costs about 12,000 shillings — less than $200. He’s running out of funding and I’d like to find some money to allow him to build another house or two, if I can. If you’re interested in hearing more about Joe’s project, please let me know.

Blessings from Kenya,

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  1. By: Lindsay Gogo on October 19, 2009 at 10:29 pm      

    I hope the orphanage goes well tomorrow. I’m sure it will be tough to leave there and not want to take them all home with you! Sounds like you are having an amazing time!

  2. By: Emmy Gustafson on November 3, 2009 at 5:31 pm      


    It’s easy to see how your adventure can be a life changing event. Even with the economy here in the States the way it is, making us all feel like we’re absolutely destitute because we can’t spend like we used to, there is no comparison to what you’re experiencing there.

    Reading your blogs truely sheds a a light of a different color. It’s truely a humbling experience.


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