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President's Message
Janis Maracic
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Welcome to Fellowship Month
 
June---an appropriate time to pause and reflect upon this past Rotary year as we celebrate our successes, install our new Rotary boards, and anticipate the potential of our incoming theme:  Rotary Connects the World!  We look forward to hearing about Leslie’s endeavors in Hamburg and all the connections she has made worldwide and upon Bob’s return from Africa, his networks forged.
 
In the fabric of a Rotary year we weave many memorable stories including Port Orchard Cares and local and global service projects completed, meetings held, and Spotlight on a Member and Rotarian moments shared.   As many of us know the reasons why Rotarians join the family of Rotary is to serve, yet it is the sense of fellowship and camaraderie that emerges as a primary reason Rotarians remain in Rotary. Take a moment to consider how your experience has been enriched by people you have met. Sometimes it is a stranger who self introduces when seeing your Rotary pin or earrings, sometimes it is getting to know another club member as you work side by side, or sometimes it is sitting in a District Assembly classroom learning more about the leadership role you are about to take on.   Whether a casual conversation before a regular meeting, a club social that brings together family and friends, or a warm sense of welcome while connecting with a club member…. our Rotary friendships are forged and strengthened.   We are enriched by our experiences and the people with whom they are shared.   It is these connections that inspire us and often motivate us to contribute time, energy, and resources to making this the world we hope it can be.
 
As Rotarians, as we discovered at the District Leadership training and service project partnerships, we are united member to member and club to club. Fellowship---perhaps the greatest gift we are given in return for our ‘service above self’. Thank you Rotary for creating so many moments….. memories that will stay strong for years to come!
 
Janis
 
 
 
Assistant Principal, South Kitsap High School
Class of 2021
360-874-5605
 
Connects the World”.
Stories
June 18, 2019 Speaker: Mikaela Hopkins, Curing Kids Cancer


 
Mikaela Hopkins is the Partnership Manager for Curing Kids Cancer. Before starting her role for CKC, she was the captain of the College of Charleston women's basketball team. She then graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education, and immediately began fundraising. Hopkins has always been an advocate for childhood cancer patients by volunteering at Camp Happy Days and hosting charity basketball games every year at Charleston. 
 
Mikaela has been at Curing Kids Cancer for the past three years. Part of her job is  working with partners like Mecum Auctions, fundraising as well as managing volunteers and hospital relations.
 
For more info, please see https://curingkidscancer.org/
 
 
Curing Kids Cancer is not a for profit
501(c)(3) organization.
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Exciting and Fun activities coming up
Good morning all, Hope your weekend going well so far. We have a busy and fun couple of weeks ahead of us. 
 
First, we are having our regular morning meeting this next Tuesday, June 18th. Come support Janis’ last meeting as President. Our speaker is very special as well, Curing Kids Cancer. I’ve heard their presentation a couple of times, and it’s very moving. We will be passing a bucket around to help this group, help our kids,  so please bring your wallets. 
 
Next day, June 19th, instead of Satellite meeting, we will be bowling for Wags and the bowling pin trophy. We will pull it out on Tuesday so you can see it. Tuesday at 6 pm, at Hi Joy Bowling alley in Port Orchard. Please reach out to me if you will be attending. 
 
No morning meeting June 25th, but the Installation of Our new Board that evening, at 530pm at McCormicks. It’s a special night with Fayza performing her dance for the last time for us, as well as her presentation of how her year with us went. We are also inducting 3, maybe 4 new members. Now, that’s exciting.  If you haven’t signed up, please let me know. Theme is hats, so please wear a hat and your favorite Rotary shirt.
 
We will be back to our regular morning meetings as of July 2nd, continuing at Whiskey Gulch 0715. 
 
Our Next Board meeting is July 10th at 530pm, at the Brick House upstairs. New members are welcome to join us as well. 
 
July 14th is fishing trip in Westport. There are 3 more seats available if you want to attend. We will meet at GoCart track at 3pm and see if Jacqai can defend her title or a new winner. We will all go to dinner after to celebrate. If you want to go fishing, please contact Dave Selbig.
 
Future dates to remember. November 12th at 530 pm, our District Governor meeting at Bremerton Conference Center. We are combing all 5 of our District groups. Both Bremerton groups, both Port Orchard groups and North Mason group. Please mark your calendars to attend this special event. 
 
Our next Crab Feed and Auction is scheduled for April 11th.  
 
I think that’s it for now. It’s plenty, I’m sure. 
 
Enjoy rest of your weekend. 
 
Leslie
African Adventure Journal #1
Hi Everyone,
 
Chris and I are 2.5 days into our 14th African Adventure.  It is hard to believe it has been that many times but each has been memorable and fruitful.
 
For some of you this will be the first time that you have received one of my journals.  I have been doing these journals for the last 5 years and I try to make them interesting and informative.  I expect to do between 5-8 journals on this trip.  Last year I did 11.  If for some reason you are not interested in reading what can be sometimes a lengthy e mail, I suggest you reach for the delete button.  If you don’t want to receive these journals, just send me an e mail and I will delete you from my group mailing.
 
I would like to start this journal with a suggestion.  There is an excellent video that shows and describes the area we are working in Africa and it shows the challenges.  I believe that East Pokot is one of the poorest areas in all of Africa and the need is very great to lift these people out of the total, abject poverty that is their existence.  The video is long totaling 29 minutes.  In it, there is a part where the group goes to the hut of an elderly woman who appears to be dead from starvation.  I won’t tell you about what happens but if this group had not come along, the woman would surely have died.
 
But before the video, let me tell you “The Rest of the Story” as Paul Harvey used to say.  The video is a result of a group of people who never had met coming together to form a group of 20 plus individuals to challenge the Kenyan government assertion that there were no people in Kenya dying from starvation.  The group called themselves, “ Never Again”.  The Kenyan government had to been saying there was no problem caused by a prolonged drought.  The government in fact called in all of the tribal chiefs and ordered them to deny if asked by media that people  had died.  You have to ask yourself why would the government want to deny that deaths were occurring.  Answer-It would expose their ineptitude in dealing with a natural disaster and as a result might get them bounced out of their cushiony job as an elected official.  In a future journal, I will talk about how the Kenyan legislators are some of the highest paid in the world.  It’s unbelievable.    In Kenya, even though it is a democracy, the government uses dictatorial powers in some areas.  You cannot publish an investigative story or video unless the government ok’s it.  Just popping a video on You Tube is prohibited.  I asked what would happen if you did it anyway, the answer was that you would get into a lot of trouble.  Finally after extensive pressure from the people the government admitted that there was a problem and permitted the video to be published and circulated.
 
Here is the link:
 
Sent from my iPhone. 
 
We will be in the same area that the video was shot in the next few days.
 
So why are Chris and I in Africa.  I have never thought of a mission statement before but here’s a shot at it:
Our purpose in Africa is help marginalized people better their lives through education and infrastructure projects. 
 
In the last 5 years we have executed $283,000 of Rotary International funding in support of our mission.  I believe we have made a significant difference in the lives of the Pokot people.  The tribal area we are working in is inhabited by the Pokot tribe and about 150,000 people live in an arid, inhospitable environment.  And that environment is getting more challenging because of climate change and experiencing wider swings of the weather cycle.   There was 7 years of drought between 2011-2018 and then the area got the heaviest rain that It ever has.
 
Our concentration of work has been in clean water and education.  Education would normally be the top priority.  But people have to be alive for you to help them and people are dying here on a daily basis caused by a lack of food and water.   Our efforts this year are dedicated to a multitude of things.  The top priority is to get our latest Rotary Global Grant for $92,350 kicked off and started.  On Jun 11 we will have a kickoff ceremony where hopefully the local government  and their representatives will participate in the ceremony.   We will try to explain to the Pokot people why we are here and what we hope to accomplish.   The presentations during the kickoff ceremony are done in 3 languages, English, Swahili, and Pokot.  On Monday, The day before the kickoff ceremony, we travel to Kabarnet, the Baringo County Seat, and attempt to meet with the Governor, the Deputy Governor and other department heads such as education, health and water.  We have had mixed success in meeting with the county officials in the past.  Counties are treated like states are and Kenya through a process called “Devolution” has empowered the counties to do much of the functions that a national government would normally do.  Our goal is to get the county to partner with us in our Rotary projects.  It is interesting that on the first Rotary Global Grant, I learned that Rotary was putting twice the amount of money into East Pokot than the county government.  Yesterday, I learned that 98% of the county budget goes to salaries and only 2% goes to everything else,ie, roads, infrastructure, etc.  And of the 2% Baringo County gets something like .0001 of the miniscule 2% left.  In a future Adventure Journal, I will talk more about government, corruption and the way things are in Kenya. 
But  before going further I need to explain why we have been successful.  We are partnered with a 6 year old non-profit called Hifadhi Africa.  There are 7 individuals that are all university graduates but have decided that their life calling  is to do humanitarian work for the African people.  These individuals are all unpaid.  If you are interested in a more detail about Hifadhi Africa, I suggest you go to their website:  www.hifadhiafrica.org.  You will see on their website much of the work that we have been doing these last 5 years.  The people I deal with on a daily basis on accomplishing projects are Collins, Johnny, Kevin and Naomi.  They are amazing young people.  Collins is one of the 3 founders of Hifadhi Africa, was selected for Pres. Obama program called “The Young African Leadership Initiative(YALI), was the only one of 40 YALI fellows selected to stay on in the USA in 2015 to do a 6 week internship at Microsoft, was selected for the recognition program called “Outstanding 40 under 40, author of one book and working on his 2nd book.  Johnny is head of the WASH(Water and Sanitation Health) program, selected for and traveled to Belgium to study under program called “Young Water Solutions”. Johnny recently hosted the CEO of YWS’s in Kenya and her take away was that she didn’t realize how impoverished East Pokot was.  Naomi has also been selected for YALI and will travel to the USA to study non-profits at Appalachian State in Boone, N. Carolina for 6 weeks and then travel to Washington DC to meet President Obama and other government officials.  Only 1% of 70,000 applicants in 44 sub-Saharan countries are selected for this program.  Naomi will stay with us from 2-15 Aug and she will speak at 7 Rotary Clubs.  Lastly Kevin did fantastic work facilitating for 2 years a STEM education project in Taita Taveta.  Chris and I were part of that project and it has resulted in a network of Kenyan teachers who are changing the way teaching is done in Kenya.
 
After the kickoff ceremony for our Rotary Global Grant, we will attend a dedication ceremony.  There will be a dedication on Wednesday for the Bob and Chris Cairns Cultural Resource Center(CRC) and library.   Through a Rotary District Community Grant we were able to construct a basic but quite nice and functional building designed by an architect.  The building was constructed for about $11,500 and in the states would have cost 3 to 4 times as much.   On other days, we will be visiting schools, the Cana Rescue School for Girls, the Chemolinogot orphanage(625 kids),  the grain grinding machine and water connection done again through a Rotary District Community Grant, attend a Professional Learning event with teachers from 11 plus high school and elementary schools, and a number of other things.  On 21 June we travel to Uganda for 2 weddings.  In some parts of Africa, they have a traditional wedding in the bride’s village and a church wedding a week later in Kampala.  The church wedding is being performed by a Catholic Bishop that is the uncle of the bride.
 
While in Nairobi for 2 days we were able to have dinner with our partner Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Gigiri, and with the Hifadhi Africa staff.   The Rotary Club of Gigiri will be part of the team executing a $92,300 Rotary Global Grant which will result in 4 sand dams being constructed, sand filtration devices provided to many villages.  When we finish hopefully in one year we will have built infrastructure that will support agriculture in a wide-spread area.
 
On Saturday, June 8, we left Nairobi at 11:00 AM for East Pokot.  We stocked up with a lot of stuff, particularly drinking water.  We have to take all the water to sustain 6 individuals for 10 days.  We also buy a lot of snacks because there is no place to eat lunch in the bush.  With our 6 suitcases(3.5 to be given away), sanitary pads to sustain 45 girls for a year, our supplies and lot of other stuff, our Land Cruiser did not have a spare inch for goods.  Two suitcases went on the roof which had to be tarped because it is raining here.  The weather here has been rainy and temperatures ranch from 56 F at night to 70-75 at night.  June/July is considered the winter here.  I don’t quite understand how the weather works here because we work right on the equator.  It would seem that the season would always be summer but they in fact have 4 seasons. 
 
On the way we conducted a meeting with a Methodist Minister, Joe Kamau, who is the POC for Rotary Books for the World in Kenya.  We have been doing a book drive since last fall and have been incredibly successful.  We have gathered enough books to fill nearly 3 40 foot containers.  Many details to work out and I will elaborate more on that later.
 
Here’s a couple of “Oh by the Way” findings.  I asked how much malaria and cholera were going on in East Pokot.  I was told that the leading cause of death right now is “cobra snake bite”.  It seems that the Pokot people get bite by walking at night which is when they do most of their traveling because of the heat.  They don’t have a torch(Queen’s English for flashlight) and can’t see the snakes.  The snakes also bites people in their huts while sleeping.  They are attracted to the body heat given off by humans.  And oh by the way, 4 people were bitten during the construction of our sand dam but they all survive.  On every trip we get shockers like this because it is just a matter of fact in their daily lives.  All the people survived because they had developed some resistance from previous snake bites.   As a result of this proliferation of snake bites, Baringo County moved the anti-venom from Kabarnet to locations where the snakes are active.  It’s like storing the anti-venom in New York City instead of out in the country where it is needed.  People died just because it took too long to get to Kabarnet.  Snake bites lead me into a story about Peter.  Peter is a 37 year old man who had polio and is severely crippled.   We learned about Peter during our maize distribution of last year.  Peter got bite by a cobra and nearly died.  He spent 10 days in a hospital in Kabarnet and did manage to recover.  But while in the hospital a hand powered wheel chair we gave him last year had the 2 bicycle tires and a front tire stolen.  It’s hard to understand how people can be so cruel.  The good news is that some women arranged for him to get a replacement.  The government is supposed to furnish them free to individuals but no body until we came along had bothered to get him one.  By the way, I have never seen a snake in Kenya.
My last input is about the tire blow out.  Yesterday on the road from Nakuru to Soi Lodge a retreaded tire peeled and caused the Land Cruiser to drop to the rim of the tire.  We were stuck 5 feet on the pavement which is not the best situation.  In African countries there are a ton of boda-boda’s which is what they call a small motorcycle.  So a bunch of boda boda drivers stopped and offered to help.  Of course they got a tip which is what they knew they would get.  The tire change took 40 minutes.  Initially the jack would not work which was concerning.  But after lots of  WD-40 the jack worked and the tire was changed.  By the way, we had to offload all the suitcases and stuff in the back of the land cruiser because the jack and tools are in the floor.  Repacking was successful.
 
So our journey ended at Soi Lodge at 8:30 PM.  The original goal was 4:00 PM.  But in Africa you operate on African time.  4.5 hours late is perfectly acceptable in Africa.
 
Will close for now,
 
Bob Cairns
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African Adventure Journal #2
Hi Everyone,
 
Our first day in the bush has been interesting.  Our goal was to visit the Natan River and see the 2 sand dams that have been constructed.  But in Africa you can’t always go where you want to like you can in the USA.  After we were in the bush a phone call disclosed that a tributary of the Natan River was too deep to cross.  No bridges in the bush here.  So we alter our travel plans.  First stop was the “Posho” machine.  Posho is Swahili for grain.  Through a Rotary District Community Grant we spent about $2500 purchasing a grain grinding machine and a building to house it.  Here the people subsist on ground up maize.  The women walk huge distances(10-40 kilometers) carry a heavy bag of maize and return with ground up flour.  Part of the project is to construct a building to house the Posho machine.  Construction here is about as different as it can get.  Lumber is scarce, expensive and hard to get.  So here they peel the bark off of long tree limbs that are halfway straight and use them like 2x4’s.  Nails are sparsely used and some pieces appear to be held in place by gravity.  The walls are corrugated metal sheets that are used everywhere in Africa to build buildings, houses, etc.  The Posho mill is powered by a gasoline engine.  But the cooling system is a water tank placed outside the building.  Instead of radiators the machines used here have an approximately 50 gallon corrugated metal tank with an inlet and an outlet.  I can only surmise that Kenya does not have a radiator making capability so they use a work-around.   We started the engine for a few seconds to see that it did run.  We are waiting on turn-over to the local people because I insisted that someone come from Nairobi where the machine was purchased and provide training.  So for now Hifadhi Africa has the padlock and key to the building door.
 
Our next stop was the rainwater harvesting system constructed in 2016.  The rainwater harvesting system is designed to capture rainfall onto corrugated metal sheets that cover an area of approximately 100 yards by 50 yards.   It looks like a giant carport.  The water gravity feeds into troughs that feed into a 225,000 liter concrete brick tank.  I was told that there was an elementary school being conducted under the harvesting canopy.  The main purpose of traveling to this system was to inspect it to see how it was surviving.  One of Rotary’s big emphasis areas is “Sustainability”.  Boreholes are put in many Africa countries and after they fail which they eventually will(rubber seals go bad, pipes rust out, etc.), they are often just abandoned.  One of the reasons we decided to do a rainwater harvesting system was that it worked entirely on gravity and had no need for power.  Also, rainwater gives you water for sure that is uncontaminated.  Borehole water here in the Great Rift Valley is full of chemicals, particularly fluoride, because the rocks underground are hot, volcanic rocks which results in the water coming out of the ground at 130-140 degrees F.  The downside is that you are dependent on rainfall which is limited.   One would think that virtually nothing could go wrong with such a system.  But one of the challenges here is malicious vandalism.  The canopy has a drain system that allows for leaves and other debris to be flushed out of the system.  At the end of this drain system is a cap.   What I saw this year and last year really pissed me off.  The caps had been broken by someone stabbing it with a knife and cracking it.  I thought I had made the point last year that the local people needed to care for what they had been given.  So all the rain being collected just rain out on the ground.  I asked how long it had been this way and I got a “shrug” of the shoulders indicating no one really wanted to tell me.  I asked why it had not been reported to Hifadhi Africa who had a spare cap.  This cap costs about $2.00-$3.00 dollars.  Again, essentially no answer was provided.  I told the local people through Collins that they would not get any funding unless they could take care what Rotary had given them for free.  One of the major problems here is the issue of “ownership”.  No one is responsible and takes ownership because the system belongs collectively to the tribe.  I explained that getting a new cap war relatively easy and with some super glue I could fix the cracked cap in 5 minutes.  Well, lough and beyond, God provided super glue out in the middle of nowhere.  Johnny went to the driver and asked him if he had some super glue.  He did have a tube and in 5 minutes we had it fixed and tightly on the drain.  The people here don’t think mechanically and let things drag on and on when they could be fixed rather easily.  So the locals told me that they would put a fence around the drain.  The explanation I got was that the school children were causing the damage.  I doubt that.  The cap had clearly been stabbed by a large knife which I doubt elementary school children would carry.  Almost all Pokot men carry knifes.  Well under further inspection I found that the faucets in the Kiosk had been maliciously damaged also.  Plastic pipes had just been broken.  So I asked what they were going to do to prevent this in the future and I was told another fence.  Our mission today is to go to Marigot, the nearest local town, and pray that we can find caps and plastic pipes/faucets to fix it.  Because I grew up on a farm and then worked in my Dad’s farm machinery business, I acquired a lot of handy man skills.  I told them that with the right parts and tools the kiosks could be fixed in less than 2 hours.  So then I did a walk around inspection of the 225,000 liter tank and discovered leaks  in the tank wall.  I am not sure the cause of the leaks but it may be due to the tank having warm water in it.  As part of the Rotary District Community Grant we hooked the 225,000 to a borehole that was about 1,000 feet from the tank.  The borehole was put in by JICA which is a Japanese Development Agency like USAID.  With the same funds in the District Community Grant that bought the Posho machine, we were able to connect the tank to the borehole.   The JICA borehole was connected to a large water kiosk that had a huge solar panel.  The solar panel is used to power the borehole pump since there is no electricity anywhere near.  Anyway, I told the locals thanks for showing me the leakage.  There is a product that is readily available in the states that basically is rubber in a can.  It is advertised by a demonstration where a guy cuts a hole in the bottom of an aluminum boat, installs a screen and then using an aerosol can to spray the rubber and show that running the boat at high speed results in no leakage.  The stuff comes in an aerosol can or as liquid and is marketed toward sealing basement walls that leak.  Hopefully, we will find some in Marigat and use it to repair the leaks.  So after a thorough chewing out, the locals approached me about using the tank to support 2 businesses.  They proposed constructing a water truck filling system and use it to fill the county water bowsers who now have to fill up 3 hours away and then make a return trip which takes 3-4 hours each way and consumes a lot of fuel.  My reaction was good idea.  My thoughts were that maybe they are taking ownership.  They also proposed
Using the tank to provide water that could be bottled and then sold.  Again a good idea but may be challenging because of the regulations on selling bottled water.  One of the original goals and why we sited the tank here was to provide irrigation to a farm located .5 kilometers from the tank.   With a pipe from the tank to this farm, food could be reliably grown.  Hopefully, we can figure out a way in the near future to get a plastic pipe to the farm and growing can start.  In the District Community Grant we also provided 2,000 worth of seeds for maize, beans and watermelon throughout the entire area of East Pokot.  With water from our sand dams, we should be able to start growing plants alongside of the seasonal Natan river. 
 
After we finished our inspection, we were asked by the local people if we could help transport a woman to a dispensary at either O’Riongo or in Chemolinogot.  The woman appeared to be very sick.  She could not stand nor walk  initially.  She fainted twice today.  So she was carried to our land cruiser and lifted into the vehicle.  We decided that we would take her to Chemolinogot because it has the most medical capability.  However, the medical capability is limited.  More on that later.  So we gave her some water in the vehicle and that seemed to help a little.  She was barely able to sit vertically in the seat and had to be helped in her seated position  from banging into the window and walls of the door.  Riding in a land cruiser is some serious off-roading.  It is a grueling experience for a healthy person as you are  thrown left and right by the ruts in a dirt road.  I felt sorry that she was being put through such an ordeal but here there is no choice.  No such thing as an ambulance.  But Baringo County is thinking of establishing boda-boda transport for people so that they can get to some health facility.  After a hour plus we arrived at Chemolinogot hospital.  Chemolinogot is the largest community in all of East Pokot and although they call it a hospital, it is barely that.   The facility has 1 doctor and 1 nurse, no medications and few instruments to examine people.  They had an outside sitting area where the patients queue and there were 10-20 people sitting there.  Whether they were awaiting treatment was unknown.  By a strange twist of fate there was a busload of medical personnel who had came there because one of their group had some kind of serious accident.   The medical bus had been in West Pokot and Chemolinogot was the nearest medical facility.  They had on blue T-shirts saying “Operation Blessing”.  The first thing done was to start a medical file in the big pink folders that you used to see in medical facilities.   The lady could barely talk to Collins and another young man helped provide info.  They guessed at her age as being 57.  She looked like she was in her 70”s or 80”s.  The Chemolinogot doctor and nurse didn’t seem to be around so the Operation Blessing people did her treatment.  The first thing they did was give her an IV of fluids.  But I never saw them take a blood pressure or her temperature.  She was admitted to the hospital.  We speculated on what was wrong with her but there was no way to really know.  Minor medical issues here can become life-threatening because of the need to travel to medical facilities hours away.  Snake bite victims died because it took too long to get to Kabernet.  Collins developed double pneumonia while supervising the pipe installation at the rainwater harvesting system.  Collins was lucky in that they were traveling in a vehicle showing the CEO of Young Waters Solution from Belgium a sand dam funded by them.  Without a vehicle the only transport is boda-boda which is hit and miss.   When Hifadhi Africa does projects in the bush, they use a boda-boda for transport.  After that we called it a day and headed for Soi Lodge.
 
On Monday, Jun 10, our goal was to go to Kabarnet, the County Seat, and seek out ways to partner with them.   One of the things that irritates me but is a necessary evil is that when Hifadhi Africa does projects in Baringo County, they have to allow the county to share credit  for the work.  As I mentioned in Journal # 1, 98% of the county’s budgets goes to salaries.  Baringo county was last in the 47 counties in terms of investing in infrastructure.  So Rotary’s impact here is huge.  Last year we did 2 Rotary grants supplying tons and tons of maize to many villages.  Politics is everywhere.  Each year we make the journey to Kabarnet.  Three years ago was fairly successful.  Last year was a bust.  No one was there to meet with us.  But this year was probably the most successful of our visits.  In Kenya, the counties perform much of what was done until 2009 when a new constitution went into effect and “Devolution” was implemented.  So we met first with the Deputy Governor, the Honorable Jacob Chepkwony.  In a one hour meeting we explained a lot about what Rotary is, the projects that  have been done by Hifadhi Africa and Rotary and we asked how we could partner with them on humanitarian work in Baringo County.  In the meeting was the person in charge of Devolution for Baringo County and a person who manages human resources and other programs.  I would equate him to being like a Chief of Staff.  After listening to us, the Deputy Governor said they were thankful and grateful for what had been done.  He stressed the need for coordination with the applicable Dept. heads,  communication and teamwork.  I find this somewhat ironic because in the past, Hifadhi Africa, had been pretty much ignored, particularly by the Water Dept. Head.    We had an interesting discussion about bursaries.  Bursaries is an English word for scholarship funds.  When we mentioned that the Bremerton Rotary Club had contributed 500,000 Ksh($5,000), it got his attention.  I found out that the $5000 by the Bremerton Rotary Club through Hifadi Africa was the largest commitment to bursaries within Baringo County.  It was larger than the amount given by a coalition of banks that have a foundation.  Money can go really, really far here.  Baringo County has like 700,000 people.  The DG also really stressed the need for publicity.  He said they had photographers and reports that would travel to our work sites and gather info to publicize.  We invited the DG and other Baringo Officials which was scheduled for today, Tuesday, June 11.   The DG made it clear that he preferred doing a dedication ceremony after all the work was done. 
 
Our next stop was the office of the aide to the 1st Lady.  Our purpose was to seek her support on a book drive project in the coming year.  One of the biggest challenges on getting donated goods into Kenya is the customs and port fees they assess.  We learned from Joe Kamau that things like books and computers used to have free entry into Kenya but now they were taxed at 18.5 per cent.  And the government determines the value of the goods.  So if you say the goods are worth a $1000 the government can say no, the goods are worth $10,000.  As far as I am concerned a licensed way to steal.  The argument was that developing countries were dumping their worthless goods onto Kenya.  While the goods are used and out of date by Western standards, they are certainly useable and certainly better than nothing.  The tax is called the “Dumping Tax”.   My personal opinion is that the government, both county and  national, not to look bad in the eyes of their people so stops anything that might portray them in a bad light.  One of the ways you know someone is against what you are trying to do is that they don’ pick your calls.  In Kenya, instead of saying they won’t answer their phone, you say that they didn’t pick your call.  So after making repeated calls to the 1st ladies office and leaving messages to please call, people just ignore your call.  We explained to the aide what we were looking for in terms of cooperation.  I handed him a MOU used by Rotary Books for the World.  Rotary Books for the World is located in Houston, Texas, and will ship books anywhere in the world.  But you must pay the expense of getting the books to Houston and then someone has to pay the expense of moving the books in country.  There are also a number of other responsibilities such as making reports, offloading and distributing the books.  In my opinion we have to find a way of avoiding the Customs gauntlet.  One way to avoid the gauntlet is to bring goods in your carry-on luggage.  Thus we brought 18 laptop computers in our suitcases.  Thank God, computers are now more lightweight.  The aide said he would talk to the 1st Lady.  We shall see. 
 
Our next stop was the office of the Department Head for the Ministry of Education.  We were thanked again for our efforts in Kenya.  But it was clear that they were somewhat irritated with Hifadhi Africa.  The Dept Head said Hifadhi Africa didn’t follow procedures.  Not sure what she is talking about.  We got onto the subject of books and it was apparent also that they were skeptical of our book donation.  We were told a story where goods were paid for to Germany by Kenya and the government lost control of the goods even though they paid for them.  She also stated that we would have to know exactly what the books are.  It is challenging but not impossible to develop a process where a record of every book is made.  Books are typically boxed as they are received.  I have the impression that we were being reasons to say NO to our offer.   We talked about a number of issues including the need for training on STEM education, budgetary shortfalls to fill teacher vacancies, etc.  Basically a good meeting but need to see how things progress in the future.
 
Today we were going to have an opening ceremony but it has been postponed because it rained hard yesterday and again last night and the rivers are impassable.  We will be lucky if we can even have an opening ceremony.
 
I will close for now so I can transmit this e mail.  E mail coverage is always challenging and there have been times where we couldn’t access the internet but should have been able to.  We have been unable to post on Facebook for 2 days.  
 
Sincerely,
 
Bob Cairns
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African Adventure Journal #3
Hi Everyone,
 
In my last journal I was talking about the 4 meetings we had with Baringo Officials.  The 4th meeting was with the Dept. of Health Ministry Head, the Honorable Mary Panga.  It was an interesting and productive meeting.  A subordinate of the Ministry Head(didn’t get her title) explained that in East Pokot there were many challenging areas such as a youth problem, training of health workers, establishment of a 911 service, and everyone’s favorite, snake bites.  It was said that this could be the Beginning of a Beginning in regards to their relationship with Hifadhi Africa.  Positive attitude.  Hifadhi Africa was asked to explain more on their WASH(Water and Sanitation Health) program.  One of the County’s priorities was Health Training.  An example was given with snake bites.  Individuals tend to keep active when the best thing to do is to lay down and be still.  This keeps the heart from pumping the venom throughout the body.  It was explained that putting anti-venom in the field is not that easy.  Equipment such as respirators are needed to treat the victim because they commonly have difficulty breathing.  It was interesting to learn that anti-venom costs between $56.00 and $62.00 per dose and a victim might need 2-10 doses to counter the snake bite.  We talked about the urgent need to train health workers and whether Rotary could fund something like that.  We talked about the heavy fluoride content in boreholes and whether our team could help with some kind of filtration.  They seem to know the impact of fluoride on a person’s health.  Fluoride goes to the bones like everyone knows it does with teeth.  It causes joint and bone problems.   Lastly we talked about Chemolinogot Health Center and the difficulty of staffing it with doctors or nurses.  There is one doctor and one nurse  serving a population of over 150,000.  And no one wants to work there because of the isolation and the primitive state of the Chemolinogot Health Center.  It was admitted that there was no medication there along with little equipment.  However, we did see some medications on shelves when we visited the Chemolinogot Medical Center later.  The major message that came through is that they have no money to deal with their challenges.  They wanted to deal with the challenges but had no funding.  Well if you spent 98% of your budget on salaries and leave 2% for everything else, no wonder that there is no money.
 
After our last meeting with Baringo County Officials we had a meeting with about 15 Pokots  that are educated and have professional careers.  There is one doctor in the group who was educated in Cuba.  The rest were educators, civil servants for the county and some I didn’t get what their professions were.  Instead of an open discussion on lots of topics, I posed 1 question:  What would like to see happen in East Pokot.  I think they were somewhat taken aback because I was driving at “What are you going to do to help your people”.  Ken, a Ward Administrator for Baringo County talked about the need for scholarship money and the need for Pokots to take ownership of issues/projects.  In my opening remarks I made a strong point that Rotary was not going to do projects unless people take ownership of the project and insures it survives.  A lady educator brought up the need for gender equality.  This warmed my heart as it opened the opportunity for me to talk about early and forced marriages, FGM(please look it up if you don’t know what it is) and how Hifadhi Africa had given priority on scholarships to girls, particularly those that are orphans.  Over 50% of the scholarship money managed by Hifadhi Africa has gone to girls.  Jonathon from Kolowa talked about a problem with Boards of Management(School Boards).  It seem that through a new Kenyan law has instituted Boards of Management having a term limit of 3 years.  Apparently it was perceived that school boards were becoming too cozy with their educational districts so needed to be replaced every 3 years.  Because of the way the law was implemented, all the Boards of Management at all schools changed at the same time.   Sounds like a self-inflicted wound.  Another individual from Kolowa stressed the need for rainwater collection systems to be installed on water tanks.   The schools in Kolowa typically have a metal roof, ideal for collecting water.  But again no funds to pay for this need.  I was particularly interested to hear what the doctor had to say.  Nelson was his first name.    Nelson said that there were huge shortfalls in medical equipment, a tremendous need for training of health care workers and that he supported education as the number 1 priority in the county vice medical issues.  He described how his wife worked at Chemolinogot Health Center and the lack of equipment/medical supplies, etc.  He talked how the county was doing a good job with Malaria Prevention.  After the meeting we somehow got talking to Nelson about the snake bite problem.  He showed us a picture of a doctor who provides advice on how to treat the complicated snake bite cases.  Nelson had a lot of pictures of snakes in his mobile phone.  Entertaining but yucky. 
 
On Tuesday we were supposed to have had an all-day kickoff ceremony for our $92,300 Rotary Global Grant. The intent was to invite the local politicians, the Baringo County officials, our Host Rotary Club and the people to a ceremony where we explain to the people what we are doing with this grant.  It worked fairly well with our 1st Rotary Global Grant. It looks like we will have a commissioning ceremony instead.  It has been raining and humid here and we cannot drive through a river that is on our way to Natan where the sand dams are going to be built.   By the way, we also use the ceremony to supplying food to the Pokot people by providing maize.  Our intent was to distribute 7-200 pound bags of maize.  What often happens on these adventures is that people in the Pacific NW hears about our work and want to donate some funds.  So thanks to Tom Teague’s donation we were able to buy the maize and will use the remainder to buy skirts for women.  I am told that woman don’t have skirts because the husband controls the money and they won’t buy them for their wives.   Seems unbelievable but life can be very hard here. 
 
So on Tuesday we combined some work with pleasure.  Our 1st stop was the hardware stores in Marigat.  Last year I told an agonizing story about making a purchase at a hardware store in Nakuru.  Our objective was to buy an extra cap for the rainwater harvesting system, PVC pipe to repair the 2 faucets maliciously damaged at the water tank and see if we could find some paint or glue or something that might seal the leaks in the tank.  Well this year was not quite as bad as last year because the hardware stores are smaller with less people.  One of the things that drives me crazy is that you cannot go and pull out of a display area the item is stored in.  You have to describe what you want and the clerk goes and gets it.  Ever heard of the story of a blind man feeling an elephant and trying to figure out what it is.  So you describe your problem and the clerk goes and gets what he thinks you want.  Nope that’s not it.  The clerk goes back to the bins and comes back.  Nope that’s not it.  All the exploratory parts showing takes 1 hour plus.  I learned that in Kenya that do not have PVC couplings to join pipe together.  They use a $45.00 machine to heat one pipe and insert the other pipe into the heated pipe.  And the $45.00 tool that you need uses electricity.  So you have to have an electrical generator because there is no electricity at Naudo, the rainwater harvesting site.  So we decided that we can try to do it with galvanized, threaded pipe.  We get all the components together except for the connection from the galvanized pipe T to the old plastic pipe.  I know exactly what we need but in Kenya the don’t make many of the common PVC parts that are in your trusty Ace Hardware store.  The plan is for me to ship the part through DHL once I am back in the Pacific NW.  The easiest part to get was the cap.  We got that with only 2 nopes.  But we had to buy it with a coupling because they didn’t sell the cap separately.  Our final goal was to get something that would repair the leak.  So we explored 4 different hardware store looking for something that would work.  First item we were given after describing the problem was PVC glue.  Nope, that’s not it.  We next got sheetrock repair powder.  Nope that’s not it.
I couldn’t find the rubber in a can product that I wanted so settled on a silicon sealant.  Not sure it will work because it will have to be applied while the water is flowing out the crack.  Easy enough to try.  So after an elapsed time of 3 hours, we decided to declare victory and do something pleasurable.  Close to where we are staying is Lake Bogoria National Reserve.  Lake Bogoria is one of the chain of lakes in the Great Rift Valley.  One of the things that is totally bizarre with these chain of lakes is that they are rising.  When they rise, buildings and roads are inundated with water.  Some of the lakes are separated by hundreds of miles so it doesn’t seem feasible geologically for these lakes to be connected.  But they must be.   I have not been able to find anything that spells out what is happening.  My own theory is that because the Great Rift Valley is overall a volcanic feature, it has to be related to volcanism.  At Lake Borgoria and Lake Nakuru, shoreline roads have been inundated.  So at Lake Borgoria there are thousands and thousands of flamingos.  Flamingos line the shoreline and there is probably 50 plus miles of shoreline.  There must be one heck of a food source here for so many birds.  Lake Borgoria also is famous for hot springs and steam fumaroles.  However, because of the rising water, almost all have been inundated.  We drove on a road parallel to the south shoreline of the lake for about 20 miles to get to the steam vents.  You could see a few along with bubbles out in the water.  As we drove the road, we saw flamingos lining most of the shoreline.  By the way, one of the oddities of driving on rough roads which this was is that it registers on your electronic exercise device.  Last year is was Chris’s Fitbit watch.  34,000 steps in one hour.  This year it was on our Apple watches.   I was disappointed in that I only got credit for 12,543 steps, 5.43 miles in a 1.5 hour drive.   So that’s a wrap on Tuesday.
 
First stop on Wednesday was the Tiaty Youth Development Association, an organization dedicated toward youth with addiction problems and other youth related problems.  It appears that they are a bare bones operation which is trying to do a great service to society.  The youth of East Pokot have many of the same problems that youth in the USA have.  Alcoholism is a serious problem.   Our purpose for the visit was to donate a laptop computer and a soccer ball.   Big smiles on a lot of faces.  The organization is led by a young minister.  I asked what their needs are.  I was told that they needed some kind of income.  They asked for a copying and scanning machine costing $130 to $150 dollars.  For basic functions such as making copies people have to walk 2-15 or more kilometers.  Yesterday, we had a chance encounter with Fred, one of the 5 original students that the Port Orchard Rotary Club supported with scholarship funding to attend high school.  Fred had to walk from his home in order to download a form from the internet to apply for a loan to attend the university he is at now.   He then had to figure out a way to get the form to Kabarnet.  Mail delivery doesn’t appear to exist around here and UPS/FEDEX would be unheard of in this area of Kenya.  Scanning doesn’t seem an option also.  It sounded like he was going to have to get it hand-carried to Kabarnet some way.  But back to the youth development organization.  We posed for pictures using our big banner for the Global Grant.  Smiles abounded.
 
Peter, a 37 year old polio victim, that we helped last year through purchase of a hand driven wheelchair.   What we found did not make me happy.   The 2 bicycle tires on his wheelchair had been stolen while Peter was in the hospital for a cobra snakebite.  How people can steal from a handicapped person that lives a destitute life is beyond me.  The good news is that a group of ladies found another wheelchair and Peter was not without a wheel chair at any time.  The other thing that pissed me off was his house.  Last year we fund-raised through a Go-Fund-Me site.  What Peter and his family lives in we would not put our pets into.  Peter has his mother, his wife and 2 kids to support.   How they survive is a mystery to me.  Peter used to have an animal medicine business but when the drought killed 80-90% of the animals, his business evaporated.  So a contractor was hired to build essentially a 2 room stone house with sticky mud as the substance to hold the rocks together.  Not pretty but functional.  Well, the first contractor ran off and nobody knows where he is.  A second contractor was hired and he too ran off.  They made partial payments to these contractors with the understanding that the balance would be paid when the house was complete.   So while we were there, Johnny and Collins had this conversation with a guy that just showed up that had construction expertise.  God provides in strange ways.  The house is lacking a roof and the stones need to be smoothed for the walls.  It had 2 rooms, one of which had a pool of water in it.  So after inventorying the joists and other lumber, Johnny and Collins made a list of materials.   It will take about $600 to finish the house.  I gave the OK to go forth.  The third thing that pissed me off is that we arranged last year for Peter to get food.  Because of his polio he does not have much muscle mass in his arms and without food, it is challenging for him to hand crank the wheelchair.  However, he did well when I saw him operate the wheelchair.  It seem that the food stopped after 5 months and he/his family were without food for 7 months.  It is so frustrating to find out a problem exists for 7 months and no one speaks up.  A future stop is at the store that was furnishing the food and find out whether the store is the problem or the individual given the funds for food.  We have set up a process to check on Peter regularly.  Peter is one of the few Pokots that does not have a phone so you must go through intermediaries to get info.
 
The Cana Rescue school for girls was next on our agenda.  They house girls that have run away from their parents when they are 10-13 years of age.  Girls here go through forced marriages and FGM at these ages.  How FGM ever got started in this culture is beyond me.  But I read an article before we left that FGM was practiced in the USA mainly by peoples who immigrated from countries that have this horrible practice in their culture and states were passing laws to outlaw it.  The girls were not there because schools were off because of the mid-term break.  There are 3 terms in each year with a month in-between where the students are off.  So April, August and December are down months.  So we listened to their needs which were dormitories and bursaries.  The need for bursaries came up just about everywhere we visited.  I had heard that a good, inexpensive way to brighten the girls day was to provide finger polish.  So we provided 10 vials of finger nail polish along with sanitary pads.  We also talked about the seeds provided through a Rotary Community Grant.  They have a large garden where they try to grow food.  Unfortunately they planted some of the seeds and there was no rain and the maize died.  They have some remaining seeds and will try again. 
 
Our next stop was the Bob and Chris Cairns Cultural Resource Center and library at the Cheptunyo Primary School.  This building was finished last January and paid for by a Rotary District Community Grant and donations from us.  It is a good looking brick rectangular building with a rounded end on one side full of windows.  The front also has windows.  But 2 walls are solid so that shelving for books can be put against these walls.  Naomi supervised this project and did a very good job.  We were told that this was the only library at a primary school in, I think, all of East Pokot.  So gathered together were about 30 local leaders, teachers, Board of Management(School Board) We were thanked repeatedly for this magnificent facility.    Speeches were given in Swahili and in English so everyone could understand.  Thanks abounded in each speech.  Naomi cautioned everyone to take care of this facility and we were promised that they would.  As we have built creditability with the Pokot people, I have become more bold in addressing controversial subjects.  The first couple of years you could tell that the people were thinking that they were never see Bob and Chris again and that it will be like the government where nothing gets done.  Well, after 5 years of projects and $253,000 of Rotary money, I believe we have their attention.  So I went into a speech on getting all the children into school.  60% of the children in East Pokot never attend school ever.  I stated that this was a huge loss of human potential.  Without educating their children, the challenges in East Pokot would never be solved.  You owe to them to see that education is guaranteed for all children.
 
After the ceremony we went outside for a picture of all in attendance.  We used our banner again.  I seem to recall that there are about 400 plus students.  Cheptunyo Primary and Nakoko are the only 2 schools that administer national exams to 8th graders in this school district area.  I was told that there are other primary schools like one with First through Third Grade which is why there are only 2 schools testing.  National Exams here are everything and you need to pass them to move on to high school or a university.   But our main purpose after the pictures was to have a red nose celebration.  Thanks to a donation by Jed Selter, we gave away 150 noses to the children.  The children and adults don’t know quite what to make out of these strange Americans but quickly they get what is going on and little hands abound everywhere.  We got some neat pictures including one of Chris wearing the noses as earrings. 
Next stop was the Chemolinogot Orphanage.  The orphanage has 3 kinds of orphans.  One where both parents are gone, one where 1 parent is gone and children whose parents are so poor or have some kind of disability that they cannot afford even the unbelievable price they charge for a 3 month term of school.  The Orphanage charges $2.50 cents for a 3 month term and some parents cannot even afford that.  The orphanage has 200-250 boarders and 600 plus students that come to attend school.  The Orphanage is religious based and funded by Anglican International Church(AIC).  The minister in charge stressed over and over that their mission was to save children from an existence of poverty and create lives that are productive and fruitful.  We met one girl on campus that had been in a Hifadhi Africa video while in primary school and had progressed to Form 3(11th grade).  We walked through their campus which is quite large and toured a few of the buildings.  The campus is anchored by a large church.  We toured 2 of the girls dormitories, one of which was an open bay and the other was a cubicle layout with 8 girls to a cube.   We went to classrooms which were very basic but functional.  The walls were stones within cement with big open areas where windows would normally go.  Bench desks were in the classrooms which is more than what we usually see.  Their blackboard consists of a smoothed cement wall painted black.  We provided a suitcase of children clothes thanks to the Adventure of Faith clothes bank.   We also provided a soccer ball.  Soccer balls are the super gift that keeps on giving. 
 
Last on our schedule was a quick stop at the Chemolinogot Medical Center.  Nelson, the doctor we met in Kabarnet, has a wife that is also a doctor and is the only doctor at this medical center.  We met her last year.  She had been promised many things to entice her to come to this area.  She agreed provided that she was provided medications, some equipment, etc. within 2 months.  Well, after 7 months a few of her conditions had been met.  One of the problems in East Pokot is that outsiders do not want to live there because of the remoteness and harsh conditions.  So the only way you get professional people such as doctors and teachers is to train a Pokot to have that career.  Unfortunately, she was not there.  Our goal was to give some Costco bottles of Tylenol and Advil.   Our USA society is a pill-popping society but here they hardly know what a pill is.  Finally, we wanted to check on the lady who we transported from Naudo on Sunday.  She had self-discharged herself against medical advice that morning.  They did not know what was wrong with her.   People here are afraid of medical care because they don’t understand it.  Superstitions from the witch doctor are still the norm for the Pokots that live in the bush.  Peter, the Polio Victim, had to be calmed by Collins over the phone because he was terribly afraid and at times, unruly. 
 
After a busy, productive, day we were off to Soi Lodge.  On the way home we saw 10 or 11 female ostriches alongside the main road.  Probably a brood of ostriches from the same egg-laying and I speculated that because they looked young but fully grown that they had been kicked out of the nest by their parents.  With that poor pun, I will close.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Bob Cairns
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African Adventure Journal #4
Hi Everyone,
 
Thursday was a motivational inspiration for our work.  We were able to travel through roads that were impassable just 2 days ago.  Water here disappears fast either through evaporation or soaking into the ground.  But our day started out with a 1-hour Lake Baringo tour.  We needed to do it on Thursday as Naomi is headed for the USA.   We are so  proud of Naomi as she was selected for the President Obama initiative called the “Young African Leaders Initiative”.  It is an extremely competitive program where only 1% of the applicants from 44 sub-Saharan  countries get selected.  Naomi is taking a bus from Marigat back to Nairobi to get ready for her trip to the USA.   Naomi will be staying with us Aug 2-15 and I hope many of you get to meet her.  We also just wanted to do a wildlife boat ride because Kevin and Naomi had not had wildlife tours because there was no money to pay for such tours.  Isn’t it amazing that people living in a country with one of the most amazing wildlife arrays in the entire world and their own citizens don’t get to enjoy the wildlife spectacle.   So off we go on Lake Baringo.  First stop-crocs.  We pulled up to the shoreline right behind where we are staying and there were 3 crocs on a rock.  You could hardly see them because their colors matched that of the rocks.  On Facebook, I played the game, “How many Crocs in the picture”.    Chris got the internet reception going and after checking I learned that 9 had played with guesses from 2-5.  Most people guessed 3.  There were 3 on the rocks but I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture before on squired into the water.   The correct  answer is “2”.  We saw people waiting waist deep 100 meters from shore and we asked the guide why weren’t the waders concerned about the crocs.  We were told that the species of crooks in Lake Baringo were not dangerous to humans.  After that we saw the 3 resident ostriches on the hotel grounds close to our room.  The first time we came here, I got out of the land-cruiser, turned around and the male ostrich was right there.  I was staring face to face(actually looking up), 2 feet from me a tiny head.  Boy are they ugly.  So on we were to see the birds.  Lots of birds in this part of Africa.  With the lake waters rising all the trees along the shoreline have been drowned and died.  Ideal bird habitat.   We saw colorful little birds called weavers.  The males make the nest and there was one bright yellow one weaving a hanging nest upside down with green grass.   We saw lots of cormorants.  When we explained to Naomi and Kevin that the Japanese and Chinese use cormorants(they tie a rope around the long neck so they can’ swallow) to fish, it was amazing to them.  After going along a shoreline where some really nice homes had been inundated by rising lake waters, we headed across the lake.  The lake is about 10-15 kilometers wide and has 7 islands.  A number of the islands are inhabited.  On one island that is privately owned, a house is under construction.  There is a pair of African eagles living on the island.  These eagles are slightly bigger than American Bald Eagles and have more white on their head.  Somehow the eagles have been trained to dive for a fish after a loud whistle.  The guide does a countdown, 3, 2, 1, so you know when to click your camera.  We got some videos and cool pictures which I hope to share when I have more time.  The eagles performed twice and one time he came straight at us for like ½ a kilometer.  It was a little bit leery being in the gun sights of a diving eagle.  After that we headed back to the shoreline south of our hotel.  This shoreline is covered with buildings partially submerged.  It is also the home of hippos.  We saw one male hippo rush sideways in front of our boat.  There was a large rock and other debris between us and the hippo.  Viewing animals in a boat is the safest way to see them as you can easily speed away and the animals can’t move that fast in the water.  So after 1 hour in the hot African sun, we headed off the day’s work.   The top of my head is somewhere between medium and well done.  Even with sun screen and a hat(not always worn), I am getting quite tanned.
 
Our goal today was to make it to Natan and view the 2 sand dams constructed by Hifadhi Africa.  One dam was funded by a Rotary Global Grant and the other by Young Waters Solutions(YWS) in Belgium.  YWS is one of the few grants that we have been able to win.  Hifadhi Africa and myself have written a lot of grants without much success.  Will keep trying and hope to hit the jackpot someday.   Our major concern was a tributary of the seasonal Natan river which 2 days ago were told that it could not be crossed.  When we got to the stream it was barely flowing.  But our biggest nemesis is “Mud”.  Our land cruiser driver is probably in his 60’s and very good.  Probably the best we have had.  Although it is possible to rent a vehicle, it is probably not a smart thing to do.  The traffic is horrible at times, they drive on the left, and your nerves would be shot after a day of driving.  When we get to muddy areas, the driver gets out and assesses the risk.   So we zipped across the stream without spinning a tire.  So we now knew that we would be able to make it to our destination.  It is amazing that sometimes the terrain can be so rough but at time there are areas like the Bonneville Salt Flats where you can drive at high speed.  We speed up in these spots to shorten the journey.   In another part, the road had a suspicious, muddy spot.  So there was what looked like a 18 year old with a large, hefty hoe and a large knife.  So we borrowed his hoe and he hacked with his knife to cut some bushes so we could go off the road and threw the bushes till we found solid ground. We stopped on the way to pick up the local chief.  Collins said he was a good Chief and well respected.   The chief’s house is the only one we saw on our 1 hour journey to Natan.  We stopped on the way    Upon our arrival we were greeted by about 30-40 people.  The people just seem to appear out of nowhere.   We found out that 300-500 people had gathered on last Tuesday for the ceremony.  It is disappointing to disappoint so many people but there was nothing we could have done.   I think our reputation is well-established as at the ceremony for the first Rotary Global Grant we had between 50-75 people total turn out. 
 
What we saw was a lot of water running at high speed.  The water is incredibly muddy.  The people drink that water and are grateful for it.  One of the things that we are doing with our current Rotary Global Grant is providing sand filters.  Sand filters are nothing more than a 3 foot high cement box about 12 inches on a side through which the water trickles.  These filters were developed by a non-profit located in Olympia  called Friendly Waters and have been deployed worldwide.   I am told that they reduce sickness by 80% to 90% once in use.  Wished we had had money in our first grant for these filters but there is always only so much money.   96% of the people and all the animals defecate in the open.  Through the training money’s paid for by Rotary, we hope to change that little by little.   We meet on Sunday with the Kenyan representative of Friendly Waters.       
  
One of the things we did on this trip that we hadn’t done in a number of years is take “Polaroid” pictures.  Actually we use a Fuji camera but essentially the same thing.  We take pictures of the Pokot people and give them the picture.  They are always amazed as the picture develops right in front of them.
 
So we did a town meeting at the Sand Dam site.   You can tell what a tremendous impact it has had on the people.   Collins opens the meetings and acts as a translator.  Collins explained how Hifadhi Africa had dedicated their lives to bettering the lives of the Pokot people.  Apparently, the Pokot language uses a lot more words than English.  I kidded Collins about whether he was adding words to my speeches.  First 2 elderly men got up and gave speeches.  One man said he had lived a long life and until we came along, he had seen nothing like what we have accomplished.  Everywhere we go we get lots and lots of thanks but here even more so.  He talked about how the 2 sand dams had transformed their lives.  He also talked about the urgent need for a snake bite dispensary.  He described how 2 boys were bitten and both died.   A lady on the sand dam and water committee spoke after the 2nd elderly man.  The Pokots, particularly, the older women, speak loudly and with great feeling.  I hope to post a video of her but the internet is not cooperating.  It was heartwarming to hear her talk about how they no longer have to walk many kilometers each day to get water and how they no longer need to use donkeys to carry the water.  I am told that with the YWS sand dam they had over 300 people at work and that the majority were women.  Another woman spoke and repeated what had been previously said.  So now it was my turn.   I stressed the need to protect what they had been given.  While sand dams generally require no maintenance, large debris comes down the river with lots of energy.  I am told that earlier that the Natan River had overflowed its banks and it was pointed out to me where the water topped out.  The Natan River has 20-25 foot banks with a width between 18-25 meters where we are working.  The banks are so steep that even a young person has difficulty getting up/down the banks.  Apparently, the size of the Natan River watershed is huge and huge volumes of water pass through the water shed when it rains.  It is amazing that within 30-45 days the river bed will be dry.  In my speech I also stressed the need for sanitation.  I explained what the sand filters would do and the importance of using them.  One aspect of the sand filters that I am concerned about is how heavy they are.  Once they are filled with sand, the weight of the concrete and sand would be difficult to move.   Our goal is to get the concrete forms so that the local people can make as many as needed.  Concrete is cheap.   Last in the speech making was the Chief.   He started by thanking us for all of our work.   He talked about how our work had raised the expectations of the people and how the people were now tackling challenges that before went unchallenged because a feeling of hopelessness.  He offered to build us a home in Natan.   I said thanks, maybe later.  I didn’t want to say no outright.  So after that Johnny and Naomi spoke.  Johnny jokingly explained that he was not here to work them but just here to celebrate.  I asked Johnny how they got to Natan when doing these projects.  Answer boda-boda.  Where did he sleep.  Either on the ground in his sleeping bag or in the Natan School which is a few kilometers away.   These projects are not easy to implement.  Johnny made the mistake of drinking the muddy water because they ran out of bottled water.   When we get back to the states I am going to buy one of those devices that campers use to filter water.  Collins gave a long speech at the end and I didn’t understand a word of it.  Collins speaks fast with lots of hand and eye action.  After that we passed out ¾ of a suitcase of clothes thanks to the Adventure of Faith clothes bank.  With clothes it is sort of one size fits all.   We end up tossing the clothes piece by piece to people that look like they are the right size.  Hopefully, they will sort out the sizes better after we are gone.  We passed out a soccer ball and smiles abounded.  Nothing can top a soccer ball for a gift. 
 
When we first designed the sand dam project, Utooni Development, surveyed three sites, A, B & C.  Utooni doesn’t build sand dams themselves but provides the engineering and construction expertise.  They instruct the local volunteers what to do.   Site A and C have been built on.  The local sand dam committee headed by the Chief suggested we not build at site B as water from site A would be backed up to the sand dam at site C.  so they had another suggested site.  It is amazing how far we have progressed on our sand expertise and that of the local Pokots.  We had trouble getting them to understand what we wanted to do when we first started.   Now the local Pokots know exactly where to take us.  They took us to a narrow part of the stream that had bedrock visible in the stream.  You want to pour cement directly adhering to the bedrock for strength purposes and using exposed bedrocks avoids digging a big trench.  In our 2 sand dams we had to dig 2-3 meters down into the stream bed.  The guys using the pick axes could not be seen in the trenches dug.  So building on bedrock saves a lot of work.  On our first sand dam we didn’t know for sure if there were viable sand dam locations.  You have to hire someone to survey the streams for potential locations and Rotary won’t normally give you any advance money.  But faith accomplishes many wonders.
 
Building a sand dam has become quite an operation.  I was told that there was over 300 people as part of the construction team.  We had 102 on the first sand dam construction and had a great challenge to mobilize that many.  The concept of sand dams has really sunk in with the Pokots.  Fortunately the Natan River appears to have a bunch of very good sites.  We will be surveying for 3 sites soon.  So I think you will find it interesting how Hifadhi Africa and the local sand dam committee have organized themselves.  It is almost like a mini-pyramid building project.  Here are the various teams:
  1. A water team.  Usually made up of women.  They are responsible for buying water when needed and insuring that water is delivered to the appropriate site.  Because sometimes there is water in the stream bed as you dig down, they are responsible for getting the water out of the trenches that construction is going to take place in.  On the second sand dam they used the water for mixing cement.  On the first sand dam we had to buy water and have it transported to a 10,000 liter tank which is very expensive.   If there is excess water in the construction site, they use the old bucket brigade trick.  They line up with bodies up the stream bank and over the top and pass buckets till the water is gone.
  2. A sand team.  They are responsible for finding and getting the right type of sand in the stream bed to mix with cement.  For the 2 sand dams 70-80 tons of sand are transported by each team.
  3. A Cement Mixing team.  They have 3 subgroups:  One that moves the cement from the staging area to the construction area.  Each bag weighs 120 pounds.   A second subgroup that measures the sand  ratio with cement and insure that the ratio is correct and does the mixing using hoes to do the mixing.   There is a third subgroup called the wheelbarrow group.  They insure that 3 wheelbarrows are hauling one load of cement, two loads of sand at all times during construction.
  4. A digging group.  One part of the group digs and the other part shovels the soil and gets the soil wheelbarrowed away.  The digging team splits in two with one team working each bank.  I was told that they had 39 diggers on the last sand dam.  I questioned that because I didn’t think we had that many pick axes but I was told that we did.
  5. A rock group.  Their job is to first collect the rocks.  Fortunately there are a bazillion rocks right on the surface in East Pokot.  I never have seen a place that had as many rocks on the surface.  I guess they are there because of volcanism.  So they use a truck to gather tons of rocks.  I believe over 70 tons per sand dam.  I see rock piles  in various locations.  I believe they are stock piling for future construction.  So a lorry is hired to take the rocks to the staging area.  Then part of the team transports the rocks to the construction site.  The Utooni construction site supervisor may call for little rocks for a while.  Then he may call for big rocks.  Big rocks require 3 men to carry them.
  6. A cooking team.  It consists of 3 people.  When doing sand dam construction, the caloric need can skyrocket to 4,000 calories a day.  You have to feed them big meals to keep the workforce strong and healthy.
  7. A security team.  Consists of 2 people.  Stuff will develop legs if left lying around. 
All of these teams are supervised by Johnny and 2 subordinates.  Johnny is the WASH supervisor for Hifadhi Africa.  Hifadhi Africa and the sand dam construction committee have established strict rules.  One of the things that happens is that people work for 2-3 hours and then sneak away.  During Johnny’s inspection tours if he finds a worker not as his station, he forfeits that days hours and goes back to zero.  People are paid with food like maize which they can take home to their families.  We were told in the town meeting that some Pokots around Natan would have starved were it not for this food.
 
Before start of the construction Hifadhi Africa has 4 functions:  1)Raise awareness.  In other words brief the people on the project;  2) Mobilize people to start construction.  Much of this is done through the local chief.  Rock collection which is time consuming is the first thing done; 3) Negotiate for labor reimbursement; and 4) Recruit the workers.
 
Why does Hifadhi Africa do it this way?  1) It cuts the days for construction.   Goal is 5-7 days rather than 10-15 which is the norm with Utooni.  The Natan river apparently has a huge watershed and I am told that there are informal groups that phone the Natan Pokots when it rains upstream in their area.  I am told that there have been rains over a 100 kilometers away that the Natan people would never know about unless they were called.  A number of people have drowned in these flash floods and people are warned to get out of the stream bed and get far away from the banks because the river overflows.  2)  It helps spread the knowledge among a lot of Pokots as to what sand dams are.  3) It provides food.  During the 2nd sand dam construction, people were starving because of the severe drought.  4)  It keeps youth from getting in trouble.  Cattle and goat rustling are a major problem in this area and keeping young people busy reduces the potential violence that occurs when rustling takes place.  I am told that the sand dam construction exhausts the total available manpower(Or should I say womanpower) in the Natan area.  So it helps further to reduce conflict and spread knowledge when Hifadhi Africa reaches outside the area for labor. 
 
So where do 300 people sleep?  On the ground with no covers or mattress or anything.  Or they walk home and come back in the morning.  Most sleep at the construction site.  I guess you have to be careful not to step on someone sleeping.
 
So we finish our inspection and community town meeting and start heading back to Soi Lodge.  Collins had told me that there was a Polio victim near Natan that he wanted me to look at.  So I get to play Dr. Bob.  I know little about medicine.  But last year I asked one question:  Was there any other polio victims in the local area around where Peter lives?  I was told yes.  So the individuals were gathered and we went to meet them the next day.  What we were shown were people with other afflictions besides polio.  One was a man in his 40’s with 1 leg.  The other 3 were children with some kind of medical problem but between Chris and I we could only speculate.  We offer advice which is all we can do.  All these people have sometimes is hope.  Hope that somehow their lives will be made better.  So we are speeding across a flat area and Collins yells stop.  The driver backs up.  There are 9 individuals alongside the road, 8 children most of which were under 5.  There was one girl carrying a baby in a cloth strung over her shoulder.  She looked like she was 7 or 8.  I was afraid to ask if she was the mother because here she could be.  One girl was in a ratty wheelchair.  The leather area where you sit back was torn half way through.   She appeared to be about 10 so polio did exist here 10 years ago.  I asked to see her legs and they appeared to have suffered from polio.  She had virtually no muscle mass in her upper or lower leg.  I asked whether she had muscles in her upper leg thinking maybe she could wear braces.  Her lower legs were totally immoveable and she had to fold them underneath herself.  I recommended that they try to see the medical people at Chemolinogot.    Then I was shown an open wound on the upper calf of a girl’s leg.  It had what looked like 3 puncture wounds one of which had puss dripping out of it.  I asked if she had been to see a doctor.  The answer was yes.  The medical people said that maybe it was because of a broken bone in the leg.  What that tells me is that wherever they went didn’t have an X-Ray machine.    The medical people were told that there had been no traumatic injury that would have caused a broken bone.  It was obviously swollen and dripping puss.   There was nothing I could do other than recommend she go back to the medical people for treatment.  The way medical situations are dealt with in this area is quite simple.  If you get a serious illness, you die.  Last year we saw 4 people in a much more populated area.  If there had been sick people around, we would have seen hundreds and I speculate that the sick people just die off.  What a tragedy.
 
After that we made our way back to Soi Lodge.  It was a tiring day, physically and mentally.  But to our surprise we were treated with an unexpected outdoor dinner and show by the pool at Soi Lodge.  They have a very nice pool and I hope to find time to use it.  So we listened to loud African music, a serenade by all the hotel staff parading around the pool and a group of Turkan tribal people doing a show.  They were all in elaborate native dress and did singing and dancing.  They shanghaied victims from the audience.  I was lucky and avoided getting snagged.  But Johnny, Collins and Kevin were willing victims.  In Africa a lot of the dancing is vertical up and down jumping.  It can get very tiring, particularly for old guys.
 
Well enough for now.
 
Sincerely,
 
Bob Cairn
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African Adventure Journal #5
Hi Everyone,
 
Before I get started on yesterday’s events, let me provide some updates.  Concerning the finishing of Peter’s house, the appearance of the man who helped with determining the materials needed to finish the house was the 2nd contractor who left the job.  Collins called him to find out what had happened.  Apparently here when someone tells you he will do a job for X amount of dollars, if he runs out of money because  of poor estimating on his part, he just quits and walks away.  So with replenished money, the contractor procured the remaining materials needed to finish the job and they were delivered to Peter’s house the day after we visited.  But we forgot to include a $40 dollar delivery fee for the materials.  Contractors here do not have a vehicle so everything is delivered by transport companies.  Construction should have started.
 
In Africa inconveniences are just worked around as no big deal.  At the Soi Lodge on Saturday night when we arrived, the electricity went off.  For most folks, no big deal.  But for me an inconvenience.  I use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea and it takes electricity to run.  However, like a Boy Scout, I try to always be prepared.  I have always in our African travels carried a battery that will power the CPAP machine for 1-2 nights.  The commercial electricity was off for 2.5-3 days but the Lodge has a backup generator.  Except for the noise of the generator you wouldn’t even know that the Lodge was running on a backup generator.   I talked to the manager of Soi Lodge about my need for a CPAP machine and he kept the generator running at night.  The manager said he had talked to the power company and the recent rains had caused the power outage.  Sounds like the Pacific NW.  And yesterday there was the minor inconvenience of no water.  When we got up, couldn’t take showers and even shave.   So went to breakfast and after we came back, there was a trickle of water.  There was just enough of a trickle to wash off my razor as I shaved.  The trickle increased little by little.  So I go bold and tried the shower.  Didn’t work.  When you press the button to shift the water from the faucet to the shower head, there was not enough water pressure to flip the valve that redirects the flow.  But with patience and time, the trickle increased enough to trigger the switch to the shower head.  All is back to normal.
 
So yesterday was a day to meet with teachers and participate in a PLC(Professional Learning Community).  Twenty two teachers showed up.  Just attending such an event is a major challenge because of the lack of paved roads and the roughness of the dirt roads.  You don’t ask someone how many kilometers it is from point A to point B.   Distance is meaningless.   You ask them how many hours from point a to point B.   Some of the teachers from the most distant schools had to stay overnight in a Kenyan hotel($5.00 a night), in order to be on time for the PLC.  While in Taeta Tavita, we had a heck of time getting all the teachers to training on time because of broke down buses, insufficient buses, etc.  All the teachers were on time.  On the shoreline of Lake Baringo, there are some benches cemented into the ground.  It is a neat place to sit and watch the lake.  The teachers all assembled and Collins talked to them for 30 minutes.   I wish I was better with languages so I could understand even a little of what is being said.  By the way,  just being at Soi Lodge for some of the teachers was a treat.  They would not have enough money to stay at a resort that caters to Westerners so seeing it was something special.
 
Soi Lodge has a nice building built right on the shoreline 2 years ago.  It is used for conferences and we have seen several events take place there.   So Kevin chaired the meeting and we started out by the teachers being asked to use their reflection sheet(done prior to the PLC) and use their reflection sheet to share what they tried and provide an impression of how it went.   Next the teachers were asked to talk about their students reflections(Again filled out prior to the PLC) and summarize their student reflections.   Teachers were asked to share what they plan to implement before the next time the team meets.   One of the things that the Rotary Grant money provided was the cost of transportation to the PLC.  In the USA, teachers would just drive to a meeting.  Since they have no vehicles they have to use public transport.  For those that have 2 schools over this small Mountain range you must cross to go south to civilization and where the PLC meeting was held.    Only a boda-boda goes from the 2 High Schools to Chemolinogot.  No buses.  The mountain road is too rough.  The boda-boda drivers charge $20.00 for a ride which is a big rip-off for the distance.   The point is that without Rotary grant money the teachers would most likely not be able to attend joint meetings because they can’t afford the transportation expense.
 
The strongest messages or reflections that came through were:
  • We need ICT(what we call IT) tools to enhance learning.  Help us get projectors, document cameras, laptops, tablets, etc.
  • Student centered teaching is the best way of enhancing group learning. 
  • Grouping students based on their varied abilities helps them learn from each other
  • It is important to have learners perform an experiment, come up with observations and conclusions.  This type of training enhances student confidence and improves their attitude
  • Getting teachers together in PLC’s helps develop teamwork between schools and exchange of ideas.
  • Help get us electricity so we can use the technology tools
  • Further STEM training would sharpen their skills and ability to prepare, teach and evaluate my learners.
  • Young people were leaving their goats and returning to school because school was fun and interesting
  • Group learning helps retention of knowledge and learning by doing.  Group learning has improved student attitudes and students that have never talked before are participating.
  • Teachers are using Seavuria(NGO formed to document learning in Taita Tevata) videos and CAHOOTS program(computer based learning)
  • The STEM learning training for teachers has helped 4 of the teachers qualify as           trainers for the new Kenyan curriculum
 
Each teacher filled out an evaluation sheet and these made interesting reading.  One of the benefits of this training is that it has exposed me to the challenges that educators face.  One of the verbal comments I heard was that if we could educate all the children, in 2 or 3 years we would change East Pokot permanently.  Education is the key. 
 
The teachers all turned in teacher surveys and student surveys.  I will hand-carry these back to my Rotary partner on the STEM training.  But I thought I would lighten my suitcases because I wasn’t carry all this stuff to be donated.  But I have a mound of papers from Baringo teachers and expect to get an even bigger mound of papers from the teachers in Taita Taveta.  A teacher from Taita Taveta is going to drive up from Taita Taveta and drop the forms off at the HEART Lodge.  We will pick them up there.  Here rather than using DHL to transport stuff, they often just hand carry.  Efficiency is not a commodity in great abundance in Kenya.
 
After the PLC concluded, I asked the teachers to expound on what they needed to be educators.  What they said was pretty much a repeat of what had already been said.   The 2 biggest wants were more ICT equipment and more STEM training.  I would love to be able to be able to provide a lot of East Pokot teachers the opportunity to attend STEM training.  The challenge is funding.  It was suggested that maybe we could find teachers within Kenya to conduct the training to keep down the travel expenses.   Lastly one of the things I have been doing in my speeches is correcting the impression that Hifadhi Africa has money.   Almost everyone here thinks Hifadhi Africa has money because they see all this money spent by Hifadhi Africa doing projects, etc.  What they don’t realize is that this is Rotary money or private donations and that Hifadhi Africa is not the owner of the funds but the executor.  I further explain that Rotary has strict rules on how the funds can be used.   Like a receipt is required for everything.  Normally receipts are not a big deal for us in the USA.  But if you hire someone to pour a cement foundation for a water tank and he can’t read or write, how do you get a receipt.  Answer is that Hifadhi Africa makes out a receipt and they put their thumbprint on it.   When maize was given out last year, I had 11 pages of thumbprints. 
 
In order to take advantage of having a Land Cruiser, Collins and Johnny departed after the first hour to travel to a village beyond Natan.  We were going to go there on Thursday but we ran out of time.  Their purpose was to deliver skirts purchased.  I talked in an earlier journal about these skirts costing $2.50 each.  So thanks to a donation by Tom Teague, 40 skirts were delivered to this village.   After the skirt delivery, Collins conducted a town meeting.  I haven’t had time to talk to Collins about how it went or the pictures taken.  And the journey for Collins and Johnny was eventful in that they get stuck in the mud.  But after an hour of digging, they were able to get the Land Cruiser unstuck.  The last 3 years our timing of the trip to Kenya was driven by outside forces.  In the future I will do my best to schedule a trip during the dry season.
 
One of the frustrations in Kenya is getting internet access.  Last year the only way I could transmit these e mails was to go to the lobby of Soi Lodge.  It’s about ½ kilometer walk to the lobby so not very convenient.  Last year in Taeta Tavita, we saw what I would call internet boosters.  They are a little device the size of a small 2x3 inch notebook and they pick up weak Wi-Fi signals and boost them up.  We have been able to receive/send from our room.  What I didn’t know was that you have to put a SIM card in the booster and buy minutes for it to function.  We couldn’t understand why the minutes got chewed up so quickly.  So after $20.00 of minutes consumed in 5 days, we decided to bag the booster and try to use other methods to transmit electronic data.  We have had some success connecting to Safaricom(big phone company in Africa) to transmit our data. 
 
Will close for now.  The weekend is not so jam packed as the last few days.  Should be able to get some rest.  I love afternoon naps when I can get them.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Bob Cairns
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African Adventure Journal #6
Howdy Everyone,
 
I am reporting on Saturday and Sunday events.  Things have slowed down considerably, particularly on Sunday.  Will get some rest with a couple of practice naps.  On Saturday, we had one major goal:  Begin the disbursement of bursaries funds provided by the Bremerton Rotary Club.  Hifadhi Africa has something like 57 students in 30 plus primary, secondary and university level.  Collins does most of this work.  He knows their grades, their strengths and weaknesses, and what their family situation is like.  It is still hard to believe that the Bremerton Rotary Club donation of $5,000 is the largest single donation to bursaries in Baringo County.  We discussed it with the Head of the Ministry of Education and when we told her the amount, she disclosed that would make it the largest gift within Baringo County.  Hifadhi Africa has a decision matrix in order to be equitable to all concerned.  It was decided that the bursary funds would go to High School students.  Grades and need are also considered.  Family situation may be pertinent also.  Interviews with the students are also done if possible.  Tangulbei, Chemolinogot and Barpello High Schools have the largest numbers of Hifadhi Africa sponsored students.  Tangulbei is 2-3 hours one way so to go this school requires 4-6 hours of travel time.  It has been a challenge for us to get there so we decided that there was time on Saturday to make the journey even though the schools were on mid-term break and students would not be there.   Teachers at the school total 26 for 600 students and 90% of the students owe on their school fees.  The amount owed by students is $250,000 USD which is a huge amount.  The average per student is $410.  With so much in arrears, the school has to use work-around solutions to resolve problem areas caused by a lack of funds. So the school accountant provided a summation of the 12 HAO sponsored students.   With the Deputy Principal, Edwin Kembo, providing input on performance, it was decided to help 8 of the students with bursaries.
 
After visiting Tangulbei we decided to head to Nginyang and check on Peter’s house and food situation.   I was pleased to find 4 workmen working on Peter’s house.  One was using cement to fill in gaps in the walls while the others were installing the roof joists.   The contractor told us that he would install the corrugated metal roof on Sunday.  One of the things that the house will provide is security for Peter and his family’s personal goods.  A hasp with a big lock will be put on the door.  Hopefully, this will prevent theft.  I’m not always the most observant person but while looking at the unfinished door area, it was obvious that it was not wide enough to get Peter’s wheelchair through the door.  The bricks around the future door were not even close to being rectangular so the contractor said he would make it wide enough presumably by knocking some bricks out.  Advanced planning apparently is not done here.  I asked whether cement floors would be installed along with smoothed walls.  Answer was no.  Having a dirt floor with a wheel chair not as easy.  I asked Johnny to find out what it would cost.   Another challenge will be to get 2 beds.  The nearest place to get beds is 100 miles away in Nakuru.  Furniture does not exist in a Pokot home normally.  After that I wanted to talk to the store where food was supposed to be provided to Peter weekly.  The owner was not at his store so follow-up will be necessary.  The store owner contends that food has been furnished weekly.  Goal was to get Peter and the owner together to get to the bottom of the issue.   I was shown another food store.  Hard to describe but basically beyond what anyone outside of the area can imagine.  All the goods are behind a wood counter with heavy duty wire mesh on a wooden frame.  The counter is designed like what you would use seeing a bank teller.  You ask for what you want and it gets shoved through a hole in the wire mesh.   I was told that there was another food store that was more trustworthy.  Eventually, the goal will be to purchase food in bulk in Nakuru and lock it up in Peter’s house.  Next to the 2 food stores was a bicycle shop.  It too had little goods.  I was seeking to purchase 2 bicycle rims with tires already on them.  None in stock.  The shop had to order for Nakuru.  The shop called and was told the 2 rims and tires would be $40.00. 
 
After these trips, I thought we were heading back to Soi Lodge.  But as we are speeding down the tarmac(paved road), Collins tells the driver to stop.  Joy Akeno and Havillah Selemo emerged from some shack buildings along the road.  What I have realized over the years is that Collin orchestrates a lot that happens and I find out about when it is happening.  Collins is constantly on his phone arranging, checking, negotiating-you name it.  He is the master wheeler-dealer.   Joy attends Tangulbei and was sponsored by Cindy McGregor of the Bainbridge Island Rotary Club.  Havillah was one of the first students sponsored by the Port Orchard Rotary Club and has graduated from HS.  She is waiting to attend Kenyatta University in Nairobi.  It was fun talking with them and seeing how that had changed through education.  It had been 3 years since we had seen Joy Akeno.  She was more confident but still shy.  What I observed Collins doing was to give Joy a pep-talk on the importance of staying in school and excelling.  Joy’s father is dead and for all intents and purposes so is her mother.  Her mother has significant mental issues.   Collins tells Joy that with education she will be able to take care of her mother.
 
On Sunday, the plan is to meet with Friendly Water and discuss sand filters.   Sand filters are cheap, reliable and sustainable way to filter water.  They remove 99% of the bacteria in the water.  We learned that the filters can be constructed with mainly local material, will filter ¾ liter per hour and one filter can serve 70 people.  However, they are challenges.  Muddy water will cloud the bio-filter layer.  One of the principals of these filters is that it uses good bacteria to eat bad bacteria.   If you have muddy water, which East Pokot surely has, you have to pre-filter the water before you pour the water into the sand filter.  It will be a challenge to get the Pokot people to do this.  I suggest just letting the sediment in the muddy water settle out.  Almost everyone has seen how water will clear over time as the crap settles out.  One of the major challenges in arid areas is that water has to be processed through the sand filter daily or the good bacteria will die.  Consequently to be effective you need a year around supply of water which theoretically exists but not really.  The tried and true method of obtaining water during the dry season is to dig down into a stream bed till you hit water.  The experience is that people who are already tired from digging for water and then hauling it many kilometers, will not have the motivation to filter the water.  Friendly Water did a program of sand filters in Turkana County, which is north of Baringo County and borders Ethiopia and Uganda.  It is even drier in Turkana than in East Pokot.  The project worked where the people could draw water year round and did not work in areas where water is hard to find.    There is also no recognition that when people die here it is most often from water borne disease.  A significant cultural education will be necessary for sand filters to be successful.  Friendly Water does a 5-day training session for 15-20 individuals which hopefully will overcome the cultural bias.  I was told a story that the water kiosk’s at Natan put in by the Japanese government had installed a cement water trough.  There was no realization of how the locals view how animals should get water.  Their believe is that animals only drink out of rivers, puddles, ponds, and pans.  So the concrete trough was never used.  The locals dug down and disconnected the pipe from the concrete trough.  What they do is redirect the water to form an artificial stream and they construct a dirt dam to form a pond.    I witness a huge ditch dug by the water to the pond.  I guess they have no idea of how much water is being wasted and the extra wear and tear it puts on the solar powered well pump.  I discuss with Johnny the need to overcome this cultural bias and install corrugated metal watering troughs like farmers use.  Otherwise, the pump will be worn out and then they will have no water from that well.   Another cultural bias I learned about after starting sand dams was that the Pokot believes were that a stream never gets blocked.  That cultural bias has been overcome and now all the locals want a sand dam.  I presume that Collins did some education convincing the locals that sand dams would benefit them. 
 
After finishing our 2 hour discussion with Eric of Friendly Water, we had a chance occurrence at Soi Lodge with Father David Conway.  Father Conway is the reason that Barpello High School exists and has achieved academic standards as good as any school in Kenya.  We talk about bursaries, reusable sanitary pads and our work in East Pokot.  We talk about Father Conway’s dream of a teacher college in  East Pokot.  Teachers from outside of East Pokot but stationed in East Pokot do not want to be here because of the isolation and the persistent warring between tribes.  Teachers exit East Pokot whenever there is a security incident.  Two years ago one school went from 7 teachers to 4 teachers for 325 students.   Father Conway has dedicated 31 years of service to Tangulbei and Barpello HS. In August, he will being a 2 year sabbatical in Ireland, where he is from.  It was great to see him during our visit.  Maybe another God arranged event.
 
That’s a wrap on the last 2 days. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Bob Cairns
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