Travellers’ tales

08 October 2013
Many of you probably got back to work on Monday after a quiet weekend. Our Irish readers in particular may have enjoyed the rapidly cooling, but still occasionally sunny, autumnal weather. Spare a thought, then, for our friends in Kenya whose weekend was, meteorologically speaking, a touch more dramatic, as we hear in the latest missive from the Harambee team… Home after two days of trekking of which the New Zealanders experienced more than five hours per day of driving up and down and over rocks in the hot sun. There were a few stops, however. They included one during which we met three women who were digging their part of the trench for a pipe that will bring water closer to their community as part of the Kimlogitt water project. Hungry and tired, they talked us through their 6am start and five kilometre commute in canvas shoes with hoes over their shoulders. Each family has pledged to dig 10 feet <3.05m> of the two feet <0.61m> deep trench. We also heard the story of eight local men coming home on Saturday after working on the trench further up the hill. “Water is life,” they said - and they expressed their thanks to Friends of Kipkelion and Friends of Londiani. There were a few more stops to come. Along the way we visited FOL-funded schools and a health clinic. We even met some beekeepers waiting for the queens to colonise to get their business development project in the area humming. We chatted to the local kids and tried out the large bundles of wood sticks women were carrying on their backs down the hill for their wood-fuelled, smoky stoves. Day two finished at Kebeneti, with many goodbyes to the (literally) 100 kids who had accompanied us down the ridge from site known as The Monastery (due to its monstrous size) and along maize-crowded, rocky, gully tracks. Well we thought day two had finished... Not quite, it seems. As the heavens opened, cooling down the day, our nine-seater four-wheel-drive vehicle collapsed into a ditch with a huge crunch. In teeming rain - complete with thunder and lightning - the Kenyans dug out the wheel and we continued on, slipping and sliding our way through sodden clay until at last we reached the local paper-walled chai house. There we enjoyed some mdazi (a highly addictive local doughnut) and hot sweet tea.