January 17-22. Finishing the Rainbow.

Those are the days in which we finish the painting of the orphanage and travel back to Nairobi to talk to corporates interested in sponsoring our initiative.

We feel very welcome and are glad to see Philip again. The walls have been plastered but they need some time to dry, so the painting can’t start straight away. We decide to visit Obama’s grandmother first. A matatu ride takes us to the junction, from where three motorcycles bring us to Kogelo, to the estate of Obama’s grandmother. There is a gate and a guard who requests us to write down our names in the guestbook, but it’s not a high security area. We are told that granny complains because they don’t let her go to the market alone, afraid she might be kidnapped by dark forces. They also tell us she has malaria once again so she is not very strong. We have to wait a little because she is taking lunch.
We are then seated in a circle, like thousands of visitors before us, and wait for her to arrive. She is so kind! We can feel how much she enjoys all this strange visitors and gives everyone the opportunity to introduce him- or herself. We are even allowed to take pictures, “but not for the magazines”. She is engaged in charity works herself and we instinctively exchange contact information with Obama’s aunt, who seems to be the driving force behind the visitor’s business. As we look around on the estate we see the grave of Obama’s father, a tiled rectangle I see described later in the Kenya chapter of Mr. presidents book “dreams of my father”. Wicked!

The next day Yeon starts painting and she does a great job designing the wall and coordinating all the brushwork, some of which is carried out by the kids. HD, another spontaneous volunteer, also helps us a lot. I give Yeon a hand here and there, but I also have to take care of the volunteers, the fundis, the finances, and my weak stomach. On yellow-duck.tumblr.com you’ll find more on the painting. Let me just mention a short anecdote on the color purple here:

The Rainbow Center, almost finished

Together with Cleverson, our big Brazilian hero, I go buy two steel windows for our orphanage, and purple paint to finish the rainbow. It is not easy to find affordable purple paint, and mixing is not possible with our pigmentless economy grade red and blue paint. We are waiting in a hardware store, humming a princely “purple paint, purple paint” but it takes too long and we just walk off to try our luck elsewhere. A small job sells us a half dried dusty can of purple paint but it does the job.

On two consecutive nights we show movies in the orphanage, using my good old pocket projector, and the children they love it. Positive associations. I want everybody to have positive associations with the Rainbow Center. What else can I say? The Rainbow Center is something you should see for yourself. Just pass by on your hike from the Maasai Mara and the Kilimanjaro to the pristine nature of upper Uganda.

On January 22th, we leave the village after a photoshooting and a warm goodbye. Yes we will stay in touch. A board will be formed to assist the managing director of the orphanage. The construction work that still has to be completed, I have a good feeling about it. We intentionally have left something to local sponsors as a means to root our project more firmly in the community. We will monitor the situation in Kisumu from abroad, and promised ourselves to go back to the village soon.

January 17-22. Finishing the Rainbow. was originally published on Meandering home

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January 17-22. Finishing the Rainbow.

Those are the days in which we finish the painting of the orphanage and travel back to Nairobi to talk to corporates interested in sponsoring our initiative.

We feel very welcome and are glad to see Philip again. The walls have been plastered but they need some time to dry, so the painting can’t start straight away. We decide to visit Obama’s grandmother first. A matatu ride takes us to the junction, from where three motorcycles bring us to Kogelo, to the estate of Obama’s grandmother. There is a gate and a guard who requests us to write down our names in the guestbook, but it’s not a high security area. We are told that granny complains because they don’t let her go to the market alone, afraid she might be kidnapped by dark forces. They also tell us she has malaria once again so she is not very strong. We have to wait a little because she is taking lunch. We are then seated in a circle, like thousands of visitors before us, and wait for her to arrive. She is so kind! We can feel how much she enjoys all this strange visitors and gives everyone the opportunity to introduce him- or herself. We are even allowed to take pictures, “but not for the magazines”. She is engaged in charity works herself and we instinctively exchange contact information with Obama’s aunt, who seems to be the driving force behind the visitor’s business. As we look around on the estate we see the grave of Obama’s father, a tiled rectangle I see described later in the Kenya chapter of Mr. presidents book “dreams of my father”. Wicked!

The next day Yeon starts painting and she does a great job designing the wall and coordinating all the brushwork, some of which is carried out by the kids. HD, another spontaneous volunteer, also helps us a lot. I give Yeon a hand here and there, but I also have to take care of the volunteers, the fundis, the finances, and my weak stomach. On yellow-duck.tumblr.com you’ll find more on the painting. Let me just mention a short anecdote on the color purple here:

Together with Cleverson, our big Brazilian hero, I go buy two steel windows for our orphanage, and purple paint to finish the rainbow. It is not easy to find affordable purple paint, and mixing is not possible with our pigmentless economy grade red and blue paint. We are waiting in a hardware store, humming a princely “purple paint, purple paint” but it takes too long and we just walk off to try our luck elsewhere. A small job sells us a half dried dusty can of purple paint but it does the job.

On two consecutive nights we show movies in the orphanage, using my good old pocket projector, and the children they love it. Positive associations. I want everybody to have positive associations with the Rainbow Center. What else can I say? The Rainbow Center is something you should see for yourself. Just pass by on your hike from the Maasai Mara and the Kilimanjaro to the pristine nature of upper Uganda.

On January 22th, we leave the village after a photoshooting and a warm goodbye. Yes we will stay in touch. A board will be formed to assist the managing director of the orphanage. The construction work that still has to be completed, I have a good feeling about it. We intentionally have left something to local sponsors as a means to root our project more firmly in the community. We will monitor the situation in Kisumu from abroad, and promised ourselves to go back to the village soon.

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.

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. was originally published on Meandering home

December 20. Lake Victoria!

We have a safe but exhausting Matatu journey to Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, where we install ourselves for the first time in the cybercafé in the Megaplaza, which will become our main communication channel for the next weeks. We meet Philip, the future managing director of the orphanage, and like him at first sight.
It takes us a while to brief family and friends, so that we arrive in the village in total darkness, after a long bumpy tuktuk-ride. We are welcomed by Philip’s parents and a group of children, some of them orphans, and we shake many small hands. Philip has prepared a room with a mosquito net (recall this is right next to Lake Victoria, with a real risk of malaria). To take away any worries: we are not infected, and our Kenyan friend Eric who does contract the germ will take a few days to recover to full strength. So we sleep right away, awaiting our first sunrise in the Kenyan countryside.

This photo is part of another project we do en passant. We collect portraits of people around the world with a grimace and local flowers in their ears. It would make an awesome poster. Humanity, unite. You can send your photo to kamielverwer at hotmail.com.

December 20. Lake Victoria!

We have a safe but exhausting Matatu journey to Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, where we install ourselves for the first time in the cybercafé in the Megaplaza, which will become our main communication channel for the next weeks. We meet Philip, the future managing director of the orphanage, and like him at first sight.
It takes us a while to brief family and friends, so that we arrive in the village in total darkness, after a long bumpy tuktuk-ride. We are welcomed by Philip’s parents and a group of children, some of them orphans, and we shake many small hands. Philip has prepared a room with a mosquito net (recall this is right next to Lake Victoria, with a real risk of malaria). To take away any worries: we are not infected, and our Kenyan friend Eric who does contract the germ will take a few days to recover to full strength. So we sleep right away, awaiting our first sunrise in the Kenyan countryside.

This photo is part of another project we do en passant. We collect portraits of people around the world with a grimace and local flowers in their ears. It would make an awesome poster. Humanity, unite. You can send your photo to kamielverwer at hotmail.com.