Friday, June 01, 2012

Day 5 - Kenya Journal

Today covers the water project celebration, but was only one aspect of another amazing day.  As I read what I wrote of that day, I note that I did a very poor job in capturing the joy, pride, and happiness that the team and I felt during the celebration.  It was so evident to us that the entire community was celebrating with us...you cannot imagine how it felt to be a part of that.  In my mind, I thought of all the people that raised money AND all of the people that donated to the effort to get it done.  I also thought about the transformed lives that access to clean water will provide.  I thought about the children who won't get sick and who will be able to attend school.  I thought about the women who have to walk for minutes instead of hours to get water.  I thought about the community united by the presence of the well.  I thought about the people who donated to my run last year.  And, I thought about my runs this year and the enduring need for other communities to be transformed with clean water.

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Katito journal - 10 May 2012

Our day started with devotional and worship led by Springcreek. Simon led worship. We quickly realized that our worship has a lot more musical accompaniment, so it was a little awkward - but still fun. Dylan led devotional and spoke about Ex 3:1-4...he talked about how when God is with us, we can do anything. He did a really good job. Several of the team members shared reflections for their week, as well.

We then left for our activities. The first was a child headed household. The father of this household had passed a while back, but the mom died recently. The house was led by the oldest child, a 13 year old girl who had 5 siblings, 3 of which lived in the house. Two had been removed to other family, but we were informed that typically aunts or uncles will take the children that are most able to work or otherwise provide somehow. The remaining children were very young and to make things even worse, they were responsible for their grandmother, who is elderly and cannot provide for herself. There is a sponsored child in the house, so we were pleased by that...or Angie and I were likely to have a sixth sponsored child. We heard about how WV helps the family and left a gift of food with them. I believe that this is the family that we gave some direct funds to as well, having collected 28,000 shillings from the team (8000 shillings is $100). We were informed that it takes about 5,000 shillings to feed the family for two weeks.

Next was a farming cooperative of 25, mostly older women. The cooperative had been helped by WV through the donation of the cattle and seeds. The cooperative, however, had much of their own skin in the game, as they had purchased the plow. Additionally, the government had trained the members on how to plant, etc. It is amazing to see how much of a community effort everything is in Katito. By organizing their resources, they are much more able to do things that they would not be able to do as individuals. We also learned that the women use some of their crops to donate to OVC's and others. The generosity of everyone we met in Katito was another of those amazing aspects of what we saw. We plowed their fields, and some of the team planted seeds, as well. We moved to another area and discussed the cooperative while enjoying,the shade of a tree and some cokes. The women, in their amazing generosity gave us the baskets that they make. We were all ready to purchase them and instead they gave them to us.  They were really remarkable women.

We then visited Kachan primary school and saw their water projects, and were entertained by a dramatic skit. The skit was very entertaining as the lead character, Area Chief Paulo Paulo learned the necessity of washing your hands after using the latrine or before and after eating. As we introduced ourselves, I introduced myself as Chief Paulo Paulo Mzunga, which got great laughs. We saw the 30 sq. meter rain catchment tank, the latrines, the hand washing stations, etc. We also learned that these water projects not only provide safe drinking water, they are directly responsible for increasing attendance rates in school which has led to higher test scores. Additionally, the water has unified the community.

We returned to the IPA office for late lunch, which was bittersweet as we realized that our time with the IPA was running short.

Then we headed off to the Magunga borehole for the celebration. There were two large tents arranged for the celebration and the community was all present. The area chief, the area counselor, the water commission, the secondary school principle and staff, the primary head teacher and staff, the villagers, and students from both schools, as well as WV from Katito, the sub-branch, and Nairobi, and of course, us. After dancing with the villagers and students, we commissioned the borehole as Josh cut the ribbon. Then we planted two trees near the borehole. We then returned to our seats and endured several speeches from dignitaries. The children did several performances (poems and some rapping). We introduced ourselves and Josh asked me to say a few words. My focus was that we were all working together and vital to the process, and without any one part (sponsors, WV, community, etc) it wouldn't work. We then wrapped up and did some more video in the area. We also played with the children while they were given candy.

After the celebration, we returned to the hotel with the World Vision staff, for a celebration and goodbye dinner...the dinner was a highlight of the trip. We shared stories from the week and thanked the staff for their hospitality and for their work. They gave us gifts and shared a little about each of us. One of the most moving parts was when Albert shared his story. Albert is the Katito IPA leader. He shared his story about how he was from Katito, AND he was a sponsored child. He had us all in tears. His message was to uplift us as an example of what sponsorship can accomplish. He didn't need to share His story to uplift us, as the entire visit had done that, but it was the perfect end to our trip. Josh led us in communion, we hung out for a little while (it was well after midnight) and said our tearful goodbyes. It was hard to leave them and I am surprised by the emotion I feel now as I type this several days later.

2 comments:

Angie Lessard said...

I love you!

Angie Lessard said...
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