This morning was our earliest start in Kenya – we woke up about 5:30 to be at the Lake Nakuru National Park by around 7:00am. Nakuru National Park is known as Birdwatchers Paradise, and is home of the the most concentrated collection of Black Rhinos, along with many other of the large mammals of the Region (giraffes, gazelles, lions) , all with the backdrop of the Nakuru City in the distance. The park itself is ~180 square Kilometers (~70 square miles)
After being warned about the long wait time at the entrance, we were delightfully surprised it only took long enough for a stop at the restroom, and a group photo; then, we were on our way. We were lucky enough to see water buffalo, black and white rhinos, baboons and giraffes.
The highlight of the day occurred at a beautiful overlook while we were taking pictures. A large baboon came and joined the crowd, perching up on the fencing along the cliff. After our own Jim Shelton joined the ranks of the brave souls having their picture made with him, the baboon caught sight of Happy J throwing away a bag. He leaped from his perch, and bounded for Happy J. Happy J threw the bag at him, and the baboon took it into the woods. After loading up the vans, we started taking off. The baboon was back, and he jumped on Happy J’s van, to try to get a more substantial meal. Happy J sped off, and was able to leave the baboon in his dust.
In the evening, the safari group joined back up with the rest of the team to enjoy a wonderful evening as Bill & Chat hosted the entire team for a fantastic dinner.
While most of the team went on safari, 6 of us were tasked with visiting Lanet and gathering the necessary data that will enable the SWOK team to tract the effectiveness of the water filters over time. Our hope is with some usage data, SWOK will be eventually able to prove to some potential organizations that issue large grants that is filter is worthy of their investment.
The 6 of us split into 3 teams and were assigned a cluster leader and a local official. Each cluster leader is responsible for 25 to 150 households. I was impressed with the level of detail that my cluster leader, Kunju, had in regards to his constituency. This 80 year old man was charming, bright, articulate, and exuded hospitality. His English was many times better than my Swahili!
The household ranged from nice middle class homes with in-door plumbing, electricity, and concrete floors to temporary shacks with dirt floors, shared pit latrines, and no electricity. I was taken back when I saw mom’s cooking on wood fired stoves that were inside the home with no ventilation except the cracks in the walls and ceiling. The smoke was stifling and the children and adults seemed to be oblivious to it. That could not be healthy.
Some key data points we were trying to gather is the source of the household’s water and if the household had experienced water borne disease in the last year. The collection process was tedious but the opportunity to engaged with the families was tremendous. Every home treated us as though we were honored guests. Probably the most common trait I have noticed with the Kenyan’s is their cultural commitment to hospitality. One of our team members’ and I was talking about that trait and how different Kenya and the US are in this regard. That team member said that if folks in the US started to treat their neighbor the way Kenyan’s do, we would be far better off.
After we had spent our allotted time gathering data, we met the safari go’ers at Bill and Chat’s for an evening of food and fellowship. Bill treated the 25 of us to Kenyan bar-b-que chicken, the best macaroni and cheese, fresh salad, and ice cream for desert. Bill and Chat have certainly assimilated to the Kenyan culture as they opened their home to the 25 of us completely!
A special treat for many us that was our friends, Irene and Grace, bringing their handmade jewelry for us to experience and purchase. This artwork is amazing. The jewelry is made from discarded paper and formed into unique and colorful shapes. It is impossible for me to do this gift justice so if you want to see something really amazing please go to http://oasisjewelrydesigns.co.ke.
After dinner Sam did the devotion and challenged the group to experience the love and the issues that is all wrapped up in Kenya and to be willing to take the message of God’s Agape love (pass the baton) to other’s.
And thus another day was done!