After breakfast we gathered and waited for the bus to return, praying that it would and that the driver hadn't headed back to Nairobi as he wanted to the night before! Once loaded we made our way through Mbita and crossed the causeway to Rusinga Island! We had paved roads until the causeway and from there on it was bumpy, rutty, dirt roads. I took in the sites from all the windows, amazed at the beauty I saw in the midst of the poverty. I believe it was Jeff Jurgis that coined the phrase that has stuck, "Paradise in Poverty" There were people walking everywhere, I don't know why that would surprise anyone. Picky Pickys going back and forth carrying people, livestock and furniture wherever they needed to be. (A picky picky is a motorcycle) Little children headed to school, women with jugs on their heads, on their way to gather water or do laundry. They have some major neck strength! We made our last turn and headed up for the last mile of the journey, this road was the ultimate 4 wheeling experience, very narrow with shrubs, and ruts that I am sure were rivers when the rain came!
We turned into the area outside the school and parked, we got off the bus and were greeted immediately by Lillie and a group of preschoolers with wide eyes! Lillie has a million dollar smile and if so good with the kids, what a blessing she was and has continued to be for the PH team. It didn't take long for all of the FA's to have at least one of those precious kids in their arms, checking out their name badges and smart phones. Every picture taken had to be examined by the kids, they had never seen such magic before! To say they loved having their photos taken is a huge understatement. Lillie gave us a tour of the school and then Leo Trey Fetch and I broke away for the group to start lunch for our group, we volunteered to be the "camp cooks" for the first week. We found the area that we were to build a fire and started gathering wood. What had we volunteered for?? It wasn't long before the women I call "Fire Ester" brought us more wood and showed us how to really get the fire going. (Ester is a popular name in the area, so we specified by what they contributed, Fire Ester also makes all the school uniforms (more about that later)
I am surprised we didn't succumb to smoke inhalation and die. Needless to say all meals after that were cooked on a propane stove!
We FA's were busy playing games and singing songs with the kids. Teaching them the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken dance. The giggles were a joy to hear. Suckers were handed out, but you had to be careful, you could cause a stampede and get injured, the kids love "sweets". I can't remember how many kids attend the school, but by the end f the day the amount had doubled when more kids showed up to see "the white people" they hung around the entire time we were there. I really think it was the "sweets" that brought them, and maybe a little curiosity.
Mame, the other nurse that was there with me and I spent the day examining scraped knees and other boo boos. At one point she left to go visit a man we now call "Jack" and I left to go check on a little girl named Whitney who was very sick.
Lillie asked me to go check on Whitney, so I gathered my supplies and Molly one of the FA's who had taken some nursing classes before changing her career headed down the hill to journey to Whitney's house. Lillie spoke with her mother and told her why we were there, she invited us into her home, a small 2 room house with a couch and a couple of chairs in the main living area. Whitney lay on the couch covered in sweat drops the size of dimes. Her heart rate was in the 120's and her breathing was rapid. Man I wished I had read up on yellow fever and malaria before leaving the states!
Leo Trey Fetch cooking using the butane
Molly having fun with the kids
Jeff and Leo Trey Fetch, usually had one or two kids hanging around their necks!
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