It is my last morning in Kisumu for this trip. It has been brief, but full and I have loved seeing how our children have matured into lovely young men and women, as well as meeting new children who joined our family since I was last here.
As the lift was still not working, I carried my bag down the 10 flights of stairs (76 steps) that reach up to the 3rd floor of the hotel. Each step crunched underfoot.
You see, the rains have brought out the bugs and, each morning before the cleaners have made it round with their bucketful’s of water and their wide sweeping brooms, the passageways crunch with the shells of beetles and flying things, lying, mostly, dead on the floor. I mention this only in case you are ever tempted to come with the Trust to Kenya one time.
You would be welcome in the rainy season, but you should know that there are bugs.
Each night I have crawled under a mosquito net and laid down to sleep, listening to the incessant buzzing of the tiny insects looking for a tasty vein or two. Apparently it is only the females that bite, the males preferring nectar to blood. Make of that what you will – though I will confess that I am on the nectar side of that choice!
Female mosquitos are particularly adept at feeding, they are able to sense human breath and to know, from subtle differences in temperature on the skin, which veins are nearer the surface and where they will best drink their fill. How I wish my local surgery had similar technology, for when they need a small sample of my blood!
It is strangely cosy under a mosquito net which, despite the nearby buzzing, gives a sense of comfort and protection – a bit like listening to the rain pouring down outside a window, whilst inside the fire is on and a cup of hot tea steams.
I had, therefore, slept well last night and woke refreshed for the day. I had a hot cup of Kenyan tea in the dining room, then packed my things up for the day.
Moses and I had planned a morning in Kibos, I wanted to walk around the couple of acres of land we own there, look over the gardens and the vegetables that will supply our food over the coming months.
|Daniel at KBS|
On our way we called in to KBS, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, located in a lovely large compound on the Kibos Road from town.
Daniel, who is at Moi University and who I had met on Sunday at Kachok, is doing a short internship at KBS, furthering his studies before returning to college next month.
He is really enjoying his time there, though he tells me that he would love to return to KEMRI (Kenya Medical Research Institute), which is located by the lake shore on the road to Maseno. He spent a few months there earlier in the year which he really enjoyed.
“I need to get good grades” he said, “I know I have to work hard”. He is currently forecast a 2nd Upper Degree in Biochemistry.
I so hope that he makes it.
We left the calm of KBS for the busy dust road to Kibos.
“What is this?” said Moses, looking ahead to where a large plume of dust rose from the road. It is usually fairly bad around here as Matatus speed up and down the road, avoiding the bumps and potholes, throwing up a wave of red mist in their wake, but this morning it was much worse than usual.
“This wasn’t here when I left” he said.
As we edged closer, all became clear.
“Aaahh”, said Moses, nodding sagely, “It is election season”.
If that was meant to help me to know what was happening, then I am afraid I failed the comprehension test.
A huge yellow mechanical thing, a cross between a JCB, a plough, a snow plough and a roller was plying the route, first churning up the road with the spikes of the plough before returning with the smooth snowplough / roller to remake the road in a smoother image.
In early August Kenyan’s will go to the polls to elect their President. On a more local level, there will also be elections for the County Governor, for the local senate and the assembly.
It is at election time that many roads get fixed, so the good job of the Governor will be remembered by the people.
Today it was the turn of Kibos.
|Gerald by the Garden|
We waited, and followed the road the kilometre or so to Kibos, then on to our place.
A few weeks ago the land was ploughed and Gerald planted it with Maize and Sorghum in time for the rains to come. The green shoots are now starting to push their heads into the sunlight and the first weeding has got underway. Kunde and Sikumawike grow, interspersed with the Sorghum and a further plot has been planted with cassava.
|A Papaya tree|
Gerald has come to work for us over the last year or so. Originally from Busia, he now lives at Kibos, taking care of some of the older boys. I was delighted to meet him this week and know that we will work well together over the coming years.
Soon it was time to leave, to head off to the airport for my final hop back to Nairobi and the overnight flight back to Paris and then Manchester.
We sped back over the new Chinese built flyover to the newly surfaced Busia / Airport Road.
Kisumu has changed a lot in the years that we have been coming, it has grown and modernised, new industries have come and land prices are soaring. The sugar cane factory in Kibos is booming, taking harvests away from the traditional plants at Mumias. In the next couple of years a new, Chinese built, standard gauge railway will connect with Nairobi, where a link will open in a month or two all the way to Mombasa and the ports.
But for all of the infrastructure, for all of the apparent progress, there are still many children in desparate need.
For every Daniel, succeeding at university, there are a dozen Wayne’s, not knowing who can help them, without a hope in their lives.
My experience is that the children don’t need a hand out, they need a seed planting. Like the maize and the sorghum planted in the gardens at Kibos, if they can find a little help, protection and water when things get hot, then they can become the most mighty and wonderful plantings of hope.
Thank you for reading my blog through this week, I hope I have managed to share something of the Isaiah Trust family, of my brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren in hope.
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