January 13-15. To the village.

An Irish priest is not necessarily a Samaritan.
We wake up in Talek and get a ride to Narok. But it is too late to hitch further to Kisumu and we are stuck for the night. A friendly guy, county clerk by profession, brings us to the house of an Irish priest. He is not there and upon hearing that there are strangers in his house he is outraged. “Throw them back on the streets!” we hear him shout through the phone. Long live Jesus Christ, Mr. Prissy Priest.

We make it to the village and spend the night at yet another cheap guesthouse. In the local bar a guy puts his leg in his neck and annoys HD. We know it is time to leave and we finish our beers in front of our room.

The next day we hitchhike to Kisumu and we have a great time. There are so many friendly Kenyans and the experience in the Maasai Mara is quickly forgotten. Philip welcomes us back home and we feel good being back in the village. The walls have been plastered and prepared for painting.

I remember taking the bike to the Kisian market to get some eggs and vegetables. Dirtroad with potholes, no light, no brakes. I am proud I only fall twice. We have omelettes.

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January 13-15. To the village.

An Irish priest is not necessarily a Samaritan.
We wake up in Talek and get a ride to Narok. But it is too late to hitch further to Kisumu and we are stuck for the night. A friendly guy, county clerk by profession, brings us to the house of an Irish priest. He is not there and upon hearing that there are strangers in his house he is outraged. “Throw them back on the streets!” we hear him shout through the phone. Long live Jesus Christ, Mr. Prissy Priest.

We make it to the village and spend the night at yet another cheap guesthouse. In the local bar a guy puts his leg in his neck and annoys HD. We know it is time to leave and we finish our beers in front of our room.

The next day we hitchhike to Kisumu and we have a great time. There are so many friendly Kenyans and the experience in the Maasai Mara is quickly forgotten. Philip welcomes us back home and we feel good being back in the village. The walls have been plastered and prepared for painting.

I remember taking the bike to the Kisian market to get some eggs and vegetables. Dirtroad with potholes, no light, no brakes. I am proud I only fall twice. We have omelettes.

December 31. Happy.

Churchill is one of the community elders. We have our first press conference today. Unfortunately, the M.P. and the deputy mayor don’t show up. We have put a tent in front of our orphanage and sit there on the couches we have taken from the house to answer questions.

A pastor has come to pray for us, and we gathered inside our building where he spoke and explained the meaning of the colors on the roof. Red of course is the blood of Jesus, and white depicts the Enlightenment we are about to reach. We like this. The colors on the roof can be interpreted in so many ways. Actually, “Rainbow” is also the name of a coalition in Kenya, an attempt to overcome the differences between the two major political parties. And for us, rainbow means openness to everyone and all good ideas.

At night there is not much of a party. We sit down and watch a movie. After that, lights go out and cellphones die. We don’t know the time and hence start the new decade in ignorance about the exact moment. We might have opened our bottle of sparking wine at around eleven, or one.

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.

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.

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.