Monday, May 18, 2015
From Tanzania to Nairobi to Chyulu Hills
Monday, May 18, 2015, 5:30 AM
We decided that we needed to return some day to Tanzania to look at all the areas that John wanted us to see but we didn’t have time. Because of all the changes to our schedule our trip just kept getting shorter.
When we first realized that we’d be coming back to Kenya and Tanzania I began studying up on my Swahili again. I was very happy one day when I understood everything that John was talking about with a group of people. That only happened once, but if we had lived in Tanzania, I would have become much more proficient at the language because not that many people speak English; Swahili is their official language. English is not taught in the schools until they are older and it is treated like an elective.
John updated us on the growth of the church in Tanzania. There are now two Branches in Dar and a few more here and there throughout the country. One couple, the Wilson’s, serve in Dar, two other couples live in other cities where there are Branches. In Nairobi they are finally, after all these years, dividing the Stake. There are also new Branches that have sprung up throughout the country. They did tell us that the couple serving in Mombasa had been brought out after the terrorist activities in that area. I think that there are still two Branches in Mombasa.
We thought it was odd that we had to shoo flies off our meals inside the hotel restaurant. There are a lot of flies here. We realized that this meant flies had to be sitting on our food before they brought it to us. It’s a wonder we don’t get sick. After that, we started ordering our food when we came back from our travels, and having them deliver it to our room to eat. No flies to shoo in our room. We can’t help what happened before we got it…
We checked out of the hotel at 10 AM and took a taxi to the airport. This was the only day we didn’t see bad traffic and got there way ahead of schedule. Because the church had to change our ticket to Tanzania a couple of times, they had to completely re-book for us. That is why we were in the front row seat on the plane in business class, not something that happens often. This also allowed us to use the airport lounge, so we got free food there, and then saw the difference in what they feed you in coach (a small goodie wrapped in plastic and one drink) and business (an almost full meal of beef or chicken, vegetables, roll, etc. and as many drinks as you want). It is nice to be spoiled once in a while. Also, we like this particular plane—it has leather seats throughout and they are quite comfortable.
They even have an airport lounge in Tanzania. When last in this country it was so hot we nearly expired in the airport. Things are improving.
After arriving in Nairobi we decided to take a taxi from the airport and let Shakespeare’s have a rest. Again the traffic was light. We enjoyed finally meeting this couple—Skye and phone calls and e-mails aren’t nearly as good as meeting the couple we work with. They had us to dinner, but we were stuffed from eating in the lounge and on the plane so we had a little Jell-O and a cookie. We had already become somewhat acquainted with the Christensen’s who helped us when we first arrived who were also there. They left after dinner and we continued to visit with the Shakespeare’s and really enjoyed talking with them. We went back to our flat and tried to figure out the ins and outs of the washing machine, which seemed to stop after it was done washing with the water still in it, the same with the rinse, and the same with spinning. It took a very long time to do the wash! But I have to say how very clean this washing machine got my clothes. Luckily the dryer worked a bit better and I was finally able to get to bed by 10. Knowing we will be using Nairobi as our home base means I will not have to wash clothes by hand during our little trips out of town.
Monday morning I woke up early again—I seem to be on this go-to-sleep by 10 and wake up at 5 AM schedule. We had breakfast with Shakespeare’s, put our belongings in one suitcase, and headed out of town to look at some projects. We drove to one of our chapel water projects where tanks are held up by an iron structure but sometimes get rusted out. We were pleased to see that they refurbished them because we thought they might break and drop the tanks onto the head of some unsuspecting person. We noted that they finally got electricity to the chapel too, eliminating having to use a generator to pump their water to the tanks and then use it for the chapel. The mango trees planted a few years ago on this property have really grown and must be producing; however, they have told the church that they can’t sell anything that is produced on church property or else they wouldn’t be a non-profit anymore. No matter what they do, nothing seems to work out. They can eat the fruit, but not sell it to make a livelihood from it.
The rusted structure has been reworked a bit—hopefully it won’t fall on anyone’s head.
The mango tree project can now only be used for eating, not selling because it is on church property and could be construed as the church not being a non-profit organization. These people can’t seem to get a cash crop, and now they never will. They used to have private little gardens in between these trees while they waited for the trees to mature and could produce fruit. We only saw one little garden nestled among the weeds.
The Chinese are in Kenya building a railroad from Mombasa to Nairobi. The purpose is to get some of the trucks off the road and the goods onto railroad cars, alleviating the traffic on the main highway. Because of this project many Kenyans have been put to work. We visited a Branch President named Simon whose home got removed because it was in the way of this project. They gave them a little bit of money to rebuild a new home. Simon is married to a young gal and they have a 5 year old daughter. Simon’s mother is still with them, along with a few brothers who also live there. His father died in 2010 and the gravesite had to be moved also. His mother said that the casket was gone and all that was left was bones and some cloth. She had this little hut built over the new grave. (See picture below).
Simon was very proud of the fact that they had a better place for the women to cook. He was told that smoke was not good for the women, so they built this stove in one of their new buildings. He said that there was less smoke and also costs less (they used less wood). (See picture below.)
This is a fence from a broken water project (below) that was done in 2004 when we were there and being used to pen in their goats. They said that two wells were broken in the area and two were still working. Presently they collect the water in large barrels so that they don’t have to fetch it every day. They are in the process of building a home for the mother, and have yet to build another for Simon and his wife and child. Simon also is hoping to get a job with the railroad. He had learned how to drive one of those big tractors.
Below: This is a whole line of workers employed by the Chinese to work on the railroad. This seems ironic to me—wasn’t it the Chinese who were always working on railroads except they were the workers, not the bosses…
More later, about our divine (not) hotel in Mtito Andei.
Love, from the Chyulu Hills area of Kenya.