Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mr. Toads Wild Ride to Kilungu Hills

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We left Nairobi at 6:30 AM to go to the Kilungu Hills.  That is where Kyambeke and Ilima are located.  We continue to be surprised by the changes in the country, and many of these are good ones.  The road to this area becomes a very bad dirt road and it is on the side of the mountain.  We both remember years ago nearly sliding off the cliff when the road had become wet with rain.  This time it was dry.  Much to our surprise, an area that was not previously paved is now all tarmac.  Even after leaving the paved road the dirt had recently been bladed, making it a rather smooth road.  We had never driven on this road in the 18 months we lived here where this had ever been anything but a jerking ride.  Now we hear that they might even pave the dirt section. 

One of the new church buildings in the area.  They have gone from 2 Branches to 5 if you count Kilili.  This is where we picked up the 1st councilor in the Branch Presidency who took us around.

When we arrived in Kyambeke we picked up a man that is in the District Presidency so that he could accompany us to a couple of schools where the Shakespeare’s wanted to help with desks and perhaps some latrines.  We picked this man up at a new Branch building.  There used to be only two Church branches in the area and found out that there are now 4, and not far away another new one making it 5.  It would appear that all the men we met here today remembered us from 10 years ago.  They have all grown up and are leaders now.

The District President and his son who came with a key and lots of information about why the Ilima Chapel once again was not getting their water.  He remembered us from 10 years ago.

We were there to investigate why the water (once again—a problem over the years) is not getting pumped up to the chapel in Ilima.  As it so happened, I asked for a key to the building in Kyambeke so that I could use the facilities.  This turned out to be a good idea because the man with the key was the District President and he just happened to have all the answers.  This latest problem is that two farmers keep breaking the pipe because it goes through their property and they want the water, preventing it from being piped up to the Ilima Chapel.  Every time they fix the pipe these two farmers break it.  They have decided just to give them some of the water and they are having this meeting next week.  Once they do that, the water will once again be piped back up the hill to the chapel perched there high up on the hill.  We thought we’d be driving up that steep road to it but didn’t have to after this visit.  I do miss the view from up there though.
Afterwards we went to a couple of schools perched on the nearby hills.  You haven’t lived till you’ve been to an African school and enjoyed the enthusiasm of the children.  We saw the English and math and water conservation and hygiene being taught as it was written on the board.  As we visited the younger children they sang to us, songs that help them to learn English.  They sang an adorable song about elephants and then I asked them if they knew “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” and of course they did so they sang that to me.  I taped some older children singing to Jim and Elder Shakespeare and I could hear them singing, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”.  I don’t believe we’ve ever heard that in our schools. 

The children followed us everywhere, sang to us, and tried talking to us in English so as to practice.  They were being taught well as we listened to the teachers and saw what was written on the black boards.

Elder Shakespeare is quite an adventurer.  He began driving down this road meant for dirt bikes but insisted that he keep on going.  Finally his wife told him to stop right there!  (So he did.)  As Jim and I walked down with our escort we could hear the car having trouble in a ditch—she went back to help him get it turned around.  He got lucky.  She prays a lot.   We needed to walk a long way down to a river where the church has developed it to bring clean water up to 4 large tanks and then be piped down to some chapels, schools, and communities.  It was a long hike back up and is the most exercise I’ve had in weeks.  This has not been working for ages.  When we got to the river we found that the main pipes had completely come apart and were lying a few feet apart from each other.  We hiked to the huts that house the generator and then noticed that electrical power was right by the site so that they could use that instead.  Something supposedly had happened to the filtering system too.  The church has washed their hands of it and told the government that they ought to fix it instead.  We’ve been hearing that the government is actually doing a few things for their communities so things are getting a bit better for the people.  But the schools we saw are rather poor and the government ought to do more for them.  As for this project, unless Kenya fixes it, we don’t think it will ever happen.

    The broken pipe at the river; the filtering system not working—great idea gone bad.  Let the government fix it…

 It was a bit of Mr. Toads Wild Ride today with Elder Shakespeare at the wheel.  He is a real cowboy.  (Actually, he’s a plumber). 

Back safe and sound once again.  Love, from Nairobi

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