December 27-30. Those days before newyear.

At 7:30 we start working with five people to complete the wallframes and prepare for the concrete foundation of the brick wall. We need more cement and metal rods. Perhaps the “big guy” in the village can chip in with a little donation. Until then, I have to play the big guy myself.

We get ten wheelbarrows of Maram for the third layer of the walls. Philip gets them on his own.

Yeon starts painting the ironsheets in the colors of the rainbow. They are laid on the grass to dry.

There is a taboo in the village: if a son moves out, his house cannot be used for another family. Someone can live there temporarily, but eventually the house should be destructed. The materials can’t even be reused within the same family. Sometimes they are sold to a different community. The younger generation fights those taboos, and I see them disappearing in a few decades. Until then, initiatives like ours have to buy all the materials in warehouses.

The bricking is underway. We have changed the shape to a rectangular office with two round corners. There will be an extra space for the cabinet where donations like a computer can be stored safely.

On December 30th we rush to Kisumu to buy some sparkling wine and flour for Mandazi (doughnuts, oliebollen!) tomorrow. The Luo traditional doughnuts taste just like our Dutch version, the things we feast on on New Year’s eve. We also fetch some sparkling wine to assure we got what we are used to tomorrow.

We expect some high people tomorrow.

December 27-30. Those days before newyear.

At 7:30 we start working with five people to complete the wallframes and prepare for the concrete foundation of the brick wall. We need more cement and metal rods. Perhaps the “big guy” in the village can chip in with a little donation. Until then, I have to play the big guy myself.

We get ten wheelbarrows of Maram for the third layer of the walls. Philip gets them on his own.

Yeon starts painting the ironsheets in the colors of the rainbow. They are laid on the grass to dry.

There is a taboo in the village: if a son moves out, his house cannot be used for another family. Someone can live there temporarily, but eventually the house should be destructed. The materials can’t even be reused within the same family. Sometimes they are sold to a different community. The younger generation fights those taboos, and I see them disappearing in a few decades. Until then, initiatives like ours have to buy all the materials in warehouses.

The bricking is underway. We have changed the shape to a rectangular office with two round corners. There will be an extra space for the cabinet where donations like a computer can be stored safely.

On December 30th we rush to Kisumu to buy some sparkling wine and flour for Mandazi (doughnuts, oliebollen!) tomorrow. The Luo traditional doughnuts taste just like our Dutch version, the things we feast on on New Year’s eve. We also fetch some sparkling wine to assure we got what we are used to tomorrow.

We expect some high people tomorrow.

December 25-26. Merry.

If you are a special a Luo host will serve you chicken. On our first night here this happened. A hen walked in and out in the afternoon. We didn’t hear her at night as we tasted the rosy strong flesh of Kenyan chicken. But christmas is something else. We have a goatmeal today, and feel really honored.

Work goes on. Some volunteers insist on a 200 Shillings pay to keep up their drinking habits. What they drink is a very strong alcohol, the local brew made of sugar cane. We have seen the place where it is done, a spot near the narrow river where they are boiling molasses and pour the resulting “rum” in five liter jerrycans. Some local youth organize their lives around this, and we see the sad results: no education, teenage pregnancies, hiv/aids. It’s one of the things Vision Alive will change.

On the second day of christmas there are few volunteers. But Andrew Ogol, Philip’s father is working hard to complete the walls. With his sixtyfour years, he is putting all the young guys to shame. We really admire his spirit and are grateful for everything he has done for the Rainbow Center.

Now we can sit on top of one of the walls of our orphanage, enjoying the most beautiful sunset in the world (that’s what Kisumu is famous for). You  should try it if you get the chance. It’s very romantic.

December 25-26. Merry.

If you are a special a Luo host will serve you chicken. On our first night here this happened. A hen walked in and out in the afternoon. We didn’t hear her at night as we tasted the rosy strong flesh of Kenyan chicken. But christmas is something else. We have a goatmeal today, and feel really honored.

Work goes on. Some volunteers insist on a 200 Shillings pay to keep up their drinking habits. What they drink is a very strong alcohol, the local brew made of sugar cane. We have seen the place where it is done, a spot near the narrow river where they are boiling molasses and pour the resulting “rum” in five liter jerrycans. Some local youth organize their lives around this, and we see the sad results: no education, teenage pregnancies, hiv/aids. It’s one of the things Vision Alive will change.

On the second day of christmas there are few volunteers. But Andrew Ogol, Philip’s father is working hard to complete the walls. With his sixtyfour years, he is putting all the young guys to shame. We really admire his spirit and are grateful for everything he has done for the Rainbow Center.

Kenyan sunset

Now we can sit on top of one of the walls of our orphanage, enjoying the most beautiful sunset in the world (that’s what Kisumu is famous for). You  should try it if you get the chance. It’s very romantic.

Merry Christmas

I wish every reader of this blog a very merry Christmas.

Especially for my Russian readers and friends, with many thanks to Lena, here is a rhyme I learned:

У ПОПА БЫЛА СОБАКА,
ОН ЕЕ ЛЮБИЛ.
ОНА СЪЕЛА КУСОК МЯСА-
ОН ЕЕ УБИЛ,
В ЗЕМЛЮ ЗАКОПАЛ,
НАДПИСЬ НАПИСАЛ, ЧТО:
……

keep on singing! To be continued in ’09…

Merry Christmas

I wish every reader of this blog a very merry Christmas.

Especially for my Russian readers and friends, with many thanks to Lena, here is a rhyme I learned:

У ПОПА БЫЛА СОБАКА,
ОН ЕЕ ЛЮБИЛ.
ОНА СЪЕЛА КУСОК МЯСА-
ОН ЕЕ УБИЛ,
В ЗЕМЛЮ ЗАКОПАЛ,
НАДПИСЬ НАПИСАЛ, ЧТО:
……

keep on singing! To be continued in ’09…

Katowice to the Netherlands

Finally, a bus picked us up and drove to the Polish border. Border control took about two hours, they really took their time. But I didn’t care, because they played a movie on the in-bus television screen. It was a Russian remake of the action movie “commando” (1985), called “День Д”(Day D), brainless entertainment.
It took only a few more hours to Katowice, where I arrived at 3am Polish time. A very unfriendly man sent me away when I asked to stay in the small bus station’s waiting room. Shame on him, one week before Christmas. So I walked to the “Katowice” hotel, an ugly highrise near a roundabout, and the concierge let me stay in the lobby. I sat down on the decent yellow sofa and almost fell asleep. As my dozing was noticed, he tickled my shoulder and told me that I could stay there, but not sleep. I didn’t want to torture myself trying to stay awake, and at about 7:30 I left the building. In a cafe, after a roll and a cup of coffee, I woke up and started my day. They let me leave my backpack there until noon, and I walked the city of Katowice, which was, as my host later affirmed, quite uninteresting. Streets, a cemetery, concrete buildings from the eighties. After picking up my backpack I spotted a man with a violin under a viaduct. His awful howling (he really couldn’t play) mixed with the traffic tumult and I decided to ask him if I couldn’t play a little. So he gave me his violin, and old instrument which wasn’t bad at all, and I started playing Beatles, Bach, Vivaldi, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Smetana, and some Christmas carols (he had some scores written on paper). I enjoyed it a lot, and played for about two hours. Many people donated and a little dream had come through for me: helping an unable vagabond musician with making money. He liked to give me something, though, and I walked away with 10 sloties and a bar of chocolate.
I had a simple meal in the centre and met my couchsurfing host, Maja, whom I could connect to immediately, and we got involved in a good conversation that lasted until very late that night, and cheered us up, to the extent that Maja thought she would die laughing, and I replied “Well, than I write on my blog: Since my host had passed away the next morning, I had to find my way to the station all by myself, which was not easy.” We had the same macabre sense of humor.

The next morning I got up at six and went to the airport. There was nothing to worry about, it was all too easy, and I wrote a few lines over a good cup of coffee in the departure building. The flight to Eindhoven was two hours. I decided to hitchhike to Tilburg, where my dad lives, and believe me, that was very, very easy. The first driver who stopped at entrance road of the highway A2 took me with her, and I arrived eary afternoon. I started to walk home and by coincidence saw my dad in his SUV – I was just in time to go buying a Christmas tree together…