Monday, June 7, 2010

Eye on Ndandini

It's Sunday morning and we are still waiting for the truck with the well pump test equipment to arrive (to test the output capacity by pumping water for at least 12 hours).
So while we wait ~here are some observations from the last week ~it is one week today since we arrived in Ndandini ~who knew one week ago that both the shallow well and deep well would be productive and that the deep well would be the most productive well that our drilling crew had ever drilled!
The villagers are thrilled and arrive every day starting at 6am to watch what is happening at the well site. They come and go all day long. Many ´if not most´ speak only their Mother tongue which is the Kamba language. Some speak good English and so we can converse and discuss ~we try to use these villagers to talk and interpret for those who cannot speak English.

Many of the school children can speak a little English and some of the older children speak really well ~ however many of them are so shy that they find it very difficult to have a conversation and will look away and giggle in embarassment. Ndandini people are a physically beautiful people with bright wide eyes and teeth. They are very courteous and greet each other and us every time with their 3 way hand shake to let each other know how happy they are to see each other ~and this can be many times every day.

The children go to school Monday through Friday and Saturday morning for those who require extra tutoring but only for those parents who can afford to pay for the extra tuition. The provision of school uniforms and paper and pencils is a burden for these Ndandini villagers all below the poverty level. Andrew the headmaster tells us the average daily income is 45 Kenya shillings about 60 cents Canadian.

Today being Sunday the kids have been here since early morning filling every container they can get their hands on. By the way our empty water bottles are like gold around here ~for the entire week each bottle we empty disappears very quickly.

There is no garbage in the village since almost nothing is purchased other than fruit and vegetables. They do occasionally buy bread but that is a big luxury at 30 K shillings about 40 cents.
I asked the headmaster and sub chief about aids´female circumcision rape and safety (they were very open with me).
There has only been one rape and it was by someone from outside the village visiting a family in the village. We did read in the newspaper last week that incidents of rape in Kenya are increasing and the age of girls and ladies being raped is decreasing .
There is no female circumcision in the Ndandini area who are the Kamba tribe. Apparently there are a couple of tribes within Kenya who do still practise female circumcision as part of their culture.
Aids has a terrible stigma and I was told that usually the family only finds out that a family member is sick ~then when they take that family member to the clinic they may find out that the reason for the illness is Aids. The people I was talking to had a huge number of questions for us ~do we still have Aids in North America ~ can it be cured ~what happens in Canada to someone if they have Aids and they pass this along to someone else.
During our conversations they also were fascinated to find out that in Canada everyone has running water in their homes and almost everyone has a vehicle ~ they came back and reconfirmed this about 4 times . There are only 2 motorbikes in Ndandini ~there are no cars or trucks. There is 1 bus a day (that was a unique experience for us) that passes about 4km from the well site.
One day one of the village elders brought us a live chicken with its' feet tied up to say Thank You. Since we had no plans to be killing chicken and this was such a generous gift ~we said Thanks but he shoulld keep it for his family. The next night an old lady arrived with 10 eggs. She also had with her a young girl ~ maybe late teens. The young girl asked us for a job and told us she was a single Mum and asked did we have a job for her. We told her we weren't hiring anyone ~she was extremely shy and nervous. She then asked do we have a job for her at home! Just to imagine what a huge decision this must have been for her to come and ask us this question is heart wrenching to say the least.
Thats all for now ~our next update coming very soon will be all about the well!
Jan and Terry

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