Last Saturday I spent most of the day working with the Kenya team for team building, fundraising planning, and trip logistics. Over the next few months much energy is going into getting this trip from planning to reality. Our lunch which was prepared by a church family of East African origin, was an example of standard meal of goat, cornmeal mush called ugali you use in place of silver wear, cassava, and kale. Believe it or not it was really good.
Our team is comprised of 15 people, half of which are parents and their high school aged kid. It is an awesome dynamic to see parents working with their kids to get ready for this trip. So much to say that the thought has crossed my mind of if I would ever do a trip like this with Ben or Ian.
I've been asked by several people just what we are doing while we are in Michura.
1.We are helping the community of around 1,500 people build a clean water project, i.e I will be digging trenches, laying pipes all while wearing a skirt.
2. What up with the skirt? The area is very conservative, meaning ladies cover legs as well as suggested arms. I will be investing in some super cool clothes as it will be spring season while we are there with daily highs in the 80s. Since we are at the equator I will be slathered in 50+ sunscreen.
I'm looking for suggestions on shoes as I am planning on tennis shoes with my skirts (lovely). We have a 30 min walk from where our bus will park once we arrive since the village is located where the bus cannot travel. We will be carrying in our daily supplies including water, food, and hand tools in backpacks.
Our heavier tools will already be at the work site since there are teams traveling in March and July to also work on this project. I am not kidding when I say that over the summer I plan to be working on stamina and endurance for this trip.
3. Is it safe? At before nightfall we will return back about 45 mins to our hotel in Kusumu which is on Lake Victoria, near the Ugandan boarder for dinner and what I imagine will be collapsing into bed. We do have indoor plumbing while at the hotel, but obviously not when in the village. Yes, upon hearing this I still wanted to go.
Since we are literally where the roads have no names, we likely will be stopped in transit with animal crossings. Overall the area is safe with little concern to be robbed or stopped when traveling. We are traveling with two Kenyans that work for our parent non profit 410 Bridge that will help translate as soon as we reach Kenya. On our last day we are going on a safari as we make the 4 hour drive back to Narobi from Michura. If anyone is injured we have access to medical care in Kusumu or if need be evacuated to Narobi.
4. Relationships- On our first day as well as last we will be participating with the local 4 churches in a community service and meal. The meal in particular will be prepared using our clean water and food as one major concern we all have had is being sick and unable to work. No cheeseburgers expected, likely more goat.
During the day we will also be working with and meeting members of the community in between working on the pipline. We've organized ourselves that each day we will visit families, the school, the pastors using our translators during a part of each day while others on our team are working outside.
There is a large focus on not just showing up, working and then leaving at the end of the day, rather on cultivating our relationship with Michua. Several long standing and future projects including building a health clinic and secondary school are in the plans for future teams. Water is of the most important and urgent concern as each day the villages have to travel several miles to the nearest water source.
So to answer what has been Bill's biggest question. What part of crazy are you wanting to do this?
I really have no other answer than what I have already written about wanting to be part of something bigger than myself. I am moved by what this church is doing not only locally but also thousands of miles away to make the lives of people better.
The idea that right now a community of families are going about their daily life just as I am and a matter of a few short months our worlds are about to collide is kinda amazing. I fully look for this to be a life changing experience, thus making all the work in the next months worth every bit of the work now as well as once we are in Michura.