Team Teko has been in Miwani, Kenya for the past couple of weeks. One of the projects they have been working on is a fence around the school #AFCAids supports through Restoringhopes Ministry. Long days in the sun, for sure! Here's a part of the team...four are missing. And Tifany is not part of the team, but jumped in to help.
It all started with one.One person working in the tiny sisal project, cutting leaves to make fiber. Then, there were three. Three people earning a decent salary making fiber out of the thick, green sisal leaves. We bought two oxen and started using them to carry sisal to our new decorticator machine, where a green slurry oozes out of one end, leaving the workers with raw sisal in their hands.The sisal is then washed until it is white and clean, left to dry on long metal lines. There, the sun turns the beige fiber into white, ready for bundling if it is to be sold in this form or, to [...]
A group of five young people walk in, smiling as we greet. We hug for long and in those moments, I am transported back to the first time I met each of them. Mauwa, at 6 years old, feverish and quiet, leaning against my knee as I chatted with her aunt in a slum of Mombasa. Lydia, tiny and quiet around new people, but always with a sparkle in her eyes, pointing towards her incredible intelligence. I remember each of them - hurting children, suffering from the ravages of AIDS, malnutrition, orphanhood, poverty, lack of education, and hopeless. Now, I find myself sitting by a social worker, two teachers, a [...]
Back in Mombasa, visiting Mercy Hospital, Gift School and the young adults we have supported since childhood. We saw this smiley, beautiful child as we left the school, waving on his way to get water.
We park the car on a patch of yellowed and very dry earth, in front of the Gift School. Gathering our backpacks, we make our way to the corrugated metal building - a school in the slum called Bangladesh. With almost 500 children attending, the school has no room for growth as the slum is overcrowded and has run out of space. A woman in pink comes towards us, rushing, with arms and hands extended. She stops directly in front of me and says, "May I guess who you are"? At my nod, she says, "You are Tanya!" And we hug and greet each other, the director of Gift [...]
Normally, I make my own breakfasts with oatmeal or eggs, but with my oatmeal sitting in the lost box in Bangui, I ate locally prepared breakfasts, which consisted of coffee, bread and something else - some sort of surprise, like avocado, fish, pasta, eel, sardines, bananas, or peanuts. Amaranth greens, rice and either pork or goat or fish made up every single one of our lunches this past week, with no variety on how the veggies and rice were prepared. They were delicious and am glad I enjoy the greens with hot peppers added to them. Dinners were more varied - shawarma, pork and fries (!!!!) being two favorites. [...]
The guest house in Bangui is paid up and all expenses are reviewed once again, accounted for and carefully recorded.Packing has been done and I have to leave some shirts, a pair of pants, my awesome boots, some dirty clothes, and a waterproof bag behind because I am out of space. I have received a note from Kenya Air, changing my flight time, giving me an hour to get from the international airport in Nairobi to the national one, as I head on to Mombasa. I am reluctant to check my bag because of the high chance of it not arriving with me, so decide to carry it, meaning I [...]
The rain is hard, pelting the reed roof of the structure in which we are sitting, along with others who ran to this tiny hut for protection from the heavy rains. Our driver, B-13, promptly falls asleep on a wooden chair while Mandaba makes easy conversation with stranded strangers and the home owner who graciously offers us all a welcome. Right in front of me, a bicycle laden with cassava bread, some sort of reeds, and a turtle hanging over the wheel waits patiently for its owner to decide it is time to start the long way home. Half of our motorcycle is under cover, with the baggage, covered [...]
Our driver's name is B-13.He shows up at 5:30am to start the ride back to Zongo, from where we will cross the river to Bangui. From there, a flight will take me to Mombasa, Kenya, where I will meet up with Tifany and Juju, both team leaders-in-training.It rained hard yesterday and the roads are not dusty at all as we take off just as the sun is rising. Our bags are packed tightly into garbage bags, just in case it rains while we drive and we are both wearing dirty jeans because it makes no sense to trash another pair, as we expect mud to be the name of the [...]
The sun is hot on my arms as we make our way to one of our two community gardens in Gemena. Today, I ride with Guy, who swerves around potholes, carefully following Matthieu and Mandaba to the garden which benefits our youth project through the sale of produce. We turn off onto a skinny, curvy dirt road and make our way through tall grasses and shrubs slapping our arms and legs. We burst out of the dense, cool green into a field with us facing a mountain range in the distance and between here and there, there is only beauty. The contrast between the bluest sky, the greenest cassava plants, [...]