There are always a few words that get Kenyans excited. "Maji Safi" - Clean water. "Tuangamize Malaria" - Let us get rid of malaira. "Nipigie Mpira" - Pass me the ball. "Barak Obama" - well, Barak Obama. "Kuja Tucheze" - Come dance. But most of all, the two words which excite most people are "The Show." The show is a combination of carnival/zoo/playground that travels from city to city throughout Kenya. It is every Kenyan child's wish to go to the show, get their face painted, and ride a camel. The show came to Kisii this past weekend and it was a must that the whole family go! Thirty kids plus eight volunteers split up into smaller groups with the volunteers acting as chaperones. Besides being kicked by a passing lama, I had a blast riding on carnival rides that would have never passed safety tests in America.
Just before the show, Arrive was lucky enough to have an amazing woman come stay with us for a few days. Her name is Julie Manuel, the founder of Ronsa and the aunt of my college freshman roommate. I am so thrilled our lives have now been connected and intertwined. She wrote a MUST READ blog about her time here, and I highly recommend you take the five minutes to read her post by clicking Ronesa Goes To Kisii and an additional many minutes to look at her website and the awesome work she is doing in Kenya. Julie is an inspiration for so many people around the word.
If you read my previous blog you know about some of the mega renovations we have made, so let me expand a bit! The Rotary Club of Ridgefield, Connecticut generously donated $500 to Arrive. Using their donation, we successfully installed two new water tanks near the boys’ house.
The first is connected to our running water system and supplies clean drinking water to the boys. With the extra tank, they will have a reserve of drinkable water at all times. We have installed taps in multiple places, including but not limited to an area where the boys can fill cups and pots of clean drinking water. Arrive also installed showers so now the boys are not forced to bathe in the river. These showers are connected to the tank that the Ridgefield Rotary Club paid for. We have installed gutters along the boys’ house to collect rainwater from the roof that feeds into a second water tank. While this water is not suitable for drinking, the children are able to clean the home, wash clothes, feed livestock, water plants, and do many more chores with the collected water. This saves the children many hours of walking to the river to fetch water for the number of tasks they must do everyday. The tanks have increased our sustainability and efficiency, and now every time it rains, the 3,500 litre tank, which is attached to a tap, is refilled effortlessly. When the boys first came to our home over a year ago, it was a struggle to make them shower everyday. Street etiquette does not include bathing. Since the installation of the two boys' showers, we've encountered a new problem - each boy wants to take a shower after every one hour! While this is a good "problem" to have, a shower isn't necessary before and after math homework.
These days the pathway to the Keumbu Rehema Childrens Home has become much easier...literally! Four current volunteers decided to make a pathway from the main road into our compound. The boys and girls made a natural path as it is the way they leave for school everyday, but it was more of a dirty, rocky, muddy hill than a path. Now, after a few days of blood, sweat, and tears, the once mudslide is now the nicest pathway in the village. I'll leave you today with the photos of the progress below (click the photo to enlarge), followed by a beautiful photo taken by volunteer Natalia of a village boy named Bonface. Smiles like his make living in rural Africa the most amazing place in the world!