……….but Joan wanted 20 for me, so i was spared!! Just another normal day in Kakamega!
The internet connection at Andrews house has been down for 2 days, so i’m really sorry for not blogging sooner! On saturday I prepared a whole load of things to tell you, but there has been 48 hours since then and soooooo much more has happened!
Kakamega itself is much bigger than I expected – it really is a vibrant town, people everywhere, bikes everywhere, dirt everywhere (you would not believe how dirty i am – i’m not just saying that, i really mean it!!) but also smiles almost everywhere (or maybe they’re just laughing at a white blonde, not sure, but not understanding a word anyone is saying works for me!)
Took a walk passed the prison only to see a small broken wired fence separating us and them – so whats to stop them escaping? They will be stoned possibly to death, seems to work! Things are VERY different here! We stopped for a coca cola at a ‘shop’ (a corrugated shack on the roadside). A proper glass bottle of coke cost 18p – have to be really careful not to say ‘is that all?’ because most people would really struggle with that, something i have seen for myself over the past 24 hours – more on that in a moment. (Have learned that it has to be expensive corrugated sheets as opposed to mud huts because you can wet the walls of a mud hut, put your hand through and steal whats inside!)
As we were walking home i was given the option of seeing the cow being slaughtered for the 10th anniversary celebrations on saturday or walk home……….we walked home! (and funnily enough i ate chicken at the party!!)
Saturday I ate insects – when a local wants you to try something its really offensive to say no – so ewwwwww i had to try it! BIG flying ants crushed to a pulp and mixed with sesame seeds, flapjack they said!! All i can say is thank goodness i had a mint humbug with me!
Saturday was a full on day of celebrations. All the different elements of RUSH came together and we shared an amazing day. Singing/dancing/plays…..a lot of which was in kuswahili (think that’s how you spell it?) Alot of talk of HIV/Aids and about domestic violence……still big problems out here, but just another element of how RUSH are trying to educate local communities.
Sewing machines were given to all those who graduated from tailoring school – the idea being that they now go out and support themselves. One girl that graduated 2 years ago is now running her own business and is training 2 other girls – that’s exactly how its supposed to work.
Lots of beds, mattresses, blankets and even a couple of bikes were handed out. People were so grateful…….it was a very humbling day………but I was about to be even more humbled………….I asked Lucy if it was possible to show me a house that she considered to be in ‘poverty’. I felt I needed to understand what difference a mattress would really make?
At church on Sunday a man came to worship, as he has done for a while now. After church we went for lunch and this man came with us (some names are easy to pronounce, some are not, his is not!!) About four/five months ago Lucy was asked to go and see a girl in great need in ‘the interior’ (basically heading into the rain forest bordering Uganda). Very long story but basically Lucy arrived to see a girl in real agony – she had a cancerous growth on the knee – she had laid in pain for three months, in fact paralyzed with pain. She had a new born baby with her who was very poorly. They immediately put them both in a wheelbarrow and wheeled them to the road (which is by no means main!). I will show you the video of the terrain when I get home but it is extremely difficult to even walk. The hospital eventually had to amputate from the thigh. On the day of her operation her husband was put in to prison for not paying a debt. He had borrowed 5000 shillings (350 pounds ish) and had been asked to pay back 85000……….the lender took him to court. No one knew where the husband was for 2 weeks but he remained inside for 2 months. Andrew and Lucy looked after the baby whilst the mother was recovering in hospital. She is now well and is living with her parents, and the baby is beautiful! The husband is now out of jail and is at their family home but because of the state of the house the mother cannot move back in.
We took the man to see his wife yesterday for the first time in nearly five months – he has not seen his new born child for the same amount of time. There are 4 other children involved too and they have been cared for by either the father or at the mother-in-laws house. (It seems complicated but not when you begin to get an insight in to their cultures). Just when we were getting our heads around seeing them re-united, but still living MILES apart we were told that the sister-in-law had just had a baby. When I say just I mean 2 hours before we arrived! There in a mud hut with no assistance or medical help…….she had not even had a cup of tea and there was no food to be had………
…………we then drove to the mans house (where his wife will eventually re-join him?). We drove for miles and then walked for miles…………we arrived at a small hut about double the size of a double bed………literally half the hut is a ‘bedroom’ and half is empty other than a cooking pot on top of a fire and a stack of wood to burn. When it rains the roof leaks and they all have to stand up as the floor floods. There is nothing else in the hut, not even blankets for the children to lay on. This lovely man sat there and said how humbled he was that people from England had come to his house……he said others in the church were more worthy of the visit than him………(I have tears even trying to type this…..humbled beyond words……..this goes right to the heart). He cut us some sugar cane as we said we had never tasted it……and then he asked if we could stay all evening and sing worship songs with him. As it was getting dark and we still had a long journey back we sang one song, said our goodbyes and got walked back down to the river by tens of locals!!
On a lighter note – Lucys car then got stuck in a ditch (in the dark)! One wheel was buried in mud, so noticing this I went to the other side of the car – Joan and Sue didn’t! Mud literally covered them – all their posh sunday frocks, face, hair, arms, feet – you name it, it got covered! We did laugh, well I laughed more! Thank goodness we have a 2 inch bowl of water to clean up in!!!
Today we have been to visit the minister of agriculture to see if a partnership can be started……and then we went to a funeral (an older lady from RUSH)………
Every day seems like a week in terms of what we do and what we see………….I know I can talk for England most of the time but at least i’ll have some amazing and interesting things to share!!
Re: photos – surprisingly enough there hasn’t been enough time for me to re-size and upload my photos…..I will try at home tonight but if not you’ll just have to wait….sorry……but it will be worth it!
Thank you for all your support and prayers – I really appreciate it – A LOT!
With love Wendy x