We’re not in Kansas anymore
Right now I am sitting on the parked bus feeling the nice breeze, a welcome change from the dust and bumps and noise of moving from place to place.
The water team is working to put together tanks at the second location, a boys public high school. The women are well into their second day of the teaching at the church and our hygiene trainers are waiting for permission to teach the boys about clean water and hygiene in general. This might or might not happen, as it has to go through several layers of approval.
We have had a great couple of days installing systems and at the church. The enthusiasm with which all of the team came back with last night after a long day was heartwarming. Each person had a different perspective and experience but all of them were good.
My job has been to go out and procure tanks and other supplies for the water team; everyone else has a real job and is doing great, I’m settling nicely into my supervisory role!
There is a time in every trip to a third world country when people have that “We’re not in Kansas anymore” moment. I would have to say that came when we got to the recommended hotel in Chogoria Tuesday night. It was late and dark, we were tired, and hungry, we had had a full day of moving around and when we got to our rooms it became immediately apparent that our idea of comfort and amenities was very different than the management at the hotels.
For instance the hot water in the shower constitutes flipping a switch on the wall outside the bathroom and having electricity basically short out the pipe above the head and create heat, it is NOT a good idea to touch that pipe while you are standing in the water. Furthermore at least half of them didn’t work for one reason or another, there was no curtain and the water splashed everywhere including the toilet seat. Our bathroom in the plane on the way over might have been more spacious.
The included dinner consisted of roasted chicken that had so little meat on the bone it made me wonder how the poor thing walked around. And I know my mosquito net is going to heaven because it was so holey.
Then yesterday we got thumped in the head with a perspective check. The principal, Stella, at the grade school where our first installation is, was very excited to take Toni and Cindy to see her house, about a 10min walk from the school. As they entered her home they realized the entire home was smaller than our “roughing it” bedroom at the hotel. She cooked on a hotplate next to the couch and you could reach out your arm and touch the bathroom and the bed from the couch.
Mind you this woman was as dynamic and funny and driven as anyone I have encountered here. She has transformed the school in 7 short months making incredible improvements in buildings and education.
In our society where she lives would be seen as a reason someone can’t succeed, for her it was her home which she was proud of and the place from which she is able to do great things for the kids.