Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Work Day 2

Today was day two of the construction part of our trip.  Mostly, the day was spent digging trenches for the building’s foundation and continuing to move the rocks from the area where they were dumped to a spot closer to the worksite.  All in all, just your basic superhero stuff.
Work is progressing swimmingly.   There were two trees previously growing in the middle of the worksite, which would have made future construction plans somewhat problematic.  The stumps were big enough to hug (unless you were Rachel) and were removed by the Kenyans using brute force.  Hacking with an axe and rocking to-and-fro finally yielded results.   The labourers also shaved the walls of the trenches with machetes to make them smooth.  We expect to begin pouring concrete tomorrow.
The team is enthusiastic while working on the building and the local Kenyans are very grateful.  At lunch we were introduced to ugali, a staple of the Kenyan diet.  It is similar to thickened cream of wheat, but made from corn flour.  It is white, sticky and heavy.  We also eat beans, rice, potatoes, kale (really bitter an not many of us like it), spinach and what can be described as hot coleslaw.  Tea, Nescafe instant coffee and occasionally cocoa are served.  
While onsite we also taught the kids some camp songs including “The Music Man” and “Rippy the Gator,” a pleasant little song about a shark passing the time while ending children’s lives.  They enjoyed both, although we are not sure if they really understood a word of what they were saying.  Oh well, ignorance is bliss.

Some of the contingent members are picking up a little Swahili from the locals and our partners in crime, the Kenyan Rovers.  We had a lot of fun with them as they showed us a few Kenyan games and we got a chance to limbo with them. They joined us for dinner of chapatti, more ugali (there’s a theme here), potatoes, rice, mangoes, plantain, oranges and yes Mom; I’m eating my veggies.  We shared our lengthy daily ritual of “Rose and Thorn” where everyone says the high and low points of the day.
The Kenyans moved to Tindinyo Falls with us.  They have not had a dedicated place to stay, so we invited them to move in with us.  They are camped in the resort’s conference room located about 75 metres from our buildings. 
So far, this has been a unique experience and has positively affected each member of the contingent.  We are especially enjoying our time with the Kenyan Rovers and hope to become even closer as work progresses.  We send our love to everyone back at home, while we eat mangos in paradise!
On the horizon is a visit to a local tea farm, which is particularly enticing for our resident tea addict Alanna.  There are “plots” of tea growing everywhere in the local area, with one located immediately behind the clinic.  A major producer, Williamson Tea, has one of its factories across the road from us, but it appears we will not be able to get a tour there.

By Rachel and Michael (with smart comments from Hannes)

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