Team Kenya-Getting Acquainted!
Written by Orville Morales-Paterson Habitat Board Member,
*This picture is with Team Kenya overlooking the Great Rift Valley, one of the most important geological locations in the World with one of our Hosts, Festus Mutua of HFH Kenya!
Jambo and Habari Ya Asbuy!! (Hello and Good Morning) I am finally able to sit down and post about our experiences in Kenya. Its been a wild couple of days as we got adjusted to the jet lag, traveling from site to site and meetings with new people and getting to know our very gracious host from HFH Kenya, Global village, and other groups (more no them later). On Friday when we arrived, we stayed at Gracie' Guest House in Nairobi which was a very nice bed and breakfast type of compound with high security (bared wire, electric fence and 8 foot wall) where we essentially all crashed to bed. When we woke up and had breakfast on Saturday morning, the day was set to take a visit to the IDP site in Naivasha (1hr drive) where we will be building the Habitat Home for the Village (IDP means Internally Displaced Persons). However, before we stopped at the IDP site, we went to the local mall in Nairobi to exchange our dollars to shillings (93 shillings to every dollar) and get an idea what kinds of prices certain items cost. This was important because craft shopping in Kenya is all about bargaining, and we needed to learn quickly so we are not taken advantage of. I will blog about this later this week as it is a neat story.
After a pleasant lunch at the mall (Think Cheesecake Factory in the outdoor section) where we also met up with other members of our group, Donna Brightman and Michael Rolls who went on a safari and tangled with elephants, lions, giraffes, monkeys and even went on a balloon ride. We then drove to the IDP site and that is where we realized the work we came to do. After the 2007 presidential campaign, mass violence broke out that displaced many people, some of which to the IDP site. The government help them purchase a plot of land where many have been living in tents for 2-3 years. Mind you, the people who live here were not necessarily the poor of the country. They were the wealthier groups who were pushed out of their homes and lost everything all because they were members of the tribe that won the election. I will post a separate blog about the IDP site and provide more details about this particular issue in the coming week. It will include details about the election, how Habitat for Humanity got involved and how these houses are actually build.
We eventually arrived in Lake Naivasha Panorama Park and it is a beautiful, rustically built, resort like hotel where we each have our own rooms with breakfast and dinner provided 7am and 7pm, respectively. During the evenings after dinner, the Team sits down to reflect upon our experiences of the day. The first night (Saturday), we were just getting acquainted with the area and our reflection was brief. However on Sunday, after our visit to the New Bread of Life Ministries church and heard Bishop Joseph M. Wambugu's sermon regarding Spirituality, Relationships and Responsibility. This opened a wider door for many of us during our reflection as seeing the joy the congregation displayed worshipping with the Team was particularly touching. So much so even this writer enjoyed a song with full clapping and swaying left and right with two catholics by my side who were not used to such lively church service (but enjoyed it nonetheless).
After church, we were taken out on a water safari where we had pleasant encounters with Fish Eagles, pelicans, giraffes, zebras, hippos (from a safe distance) and even a Baptism! We also drove on land to see baboons, impalas, wart hogs, more giraffes and zebras, OH MY!! We ended the day early so we can rest as we will go out today (Monday) to start our build. I hope this update provides a little insight of our experience (though it wont be the same unless we tell you about it in person and more so if you were here). I will try to post photos but with the speed of the internet, it might be difficult. Take care everyone, hope seeing President Obama was exciting!