Whirlwind

Saturday June 9 Arrived in Nairobi 6:35 am on Saturday, June 9. Mumias, a driver who first picked me up at AIM Air on my return from Duk in 2010 and has been driving me ever since, picked me up and drove me to Mayfield Guest house, also run by Africa Inland Missions. Nine of ten plastic totes and bags I checked in Fargo made it. The tenth tote arrived Sunday. I showered and organized my things and then Mumias picked me up and we headed to Nakuru (2 1/2 hour drive) to meet up with Moses and visit the kids in our Kenya program. Moses, the first student who began our program with Joseph Makeer as his sponsor, is now attending college in Eldoret – a two-year civil engineering program. He’s our on-the-ground manager, receiving the money we send for tuition and board, clothing, rent and medical care. He pays tuition for ten students at five schools, and reports back to Ron Saeger, our board member in charge of that program, on all expenses and the student’s performance in school. He handles medical issues and other matters as well as any parent I’ve known. This past year has seen our students suffering from malaria, typhoid, intestinal disorders and ulcers. Most recently, one student has been suffering tremendous pain, breathing problems and so on. This has gone on for months, but he has been regularly misdiagnosed–most recently as appendicitis. Moses finally took John to a teaching hospital in Eldoret where they determined he had a cracked sternum and ribs, an injury suffered playing football (soccer). He was captain of his team and a star player. Rest is recommended, and so he is staying at the apartment in Eldoret and attending a day school temporarily as the regimen at Kabimoi is too strict and won’t allow him the recuperation time he needs. We met up with Moses at Roots Academy. joining the ranks of parents on the monthly visiting day. Five primary students to see here: Sarah, Abraham, James, Simon, and Daniel. First Daniel appeared from the crowd, a big smile on his face. He looked great–handsome. His skin has cleared from the bumps that had covered it. Moses attributes it to a cream he got for Daniel and Deborah (at Shiner’s Girls School – secondary school) who suffered from the same problem. Sarah waited at the table they had saved. A hug, a shy smile. She introduced me to a girlfriend who was sitting with her. With her was her brother Abraham, who has grown taller.  Moses plays the parental role and brings treats on visiting day. The bananas were smashed in the crush of the matatu ride. There were mangos and a fruit I didn’t know. The colorful rigid cake frosting had cracked and slipped off the cake sprinkling the bottom of the package. Soon James appeared, but I didn’t see Simon until after we visited the teachers.  First we met Madame Margaret, Daniel’s teacher. His performance has improved from 190 to 254 – a tremendous gain after his disappointing first term. He has gone from the bottom student to 2nd to the bottom, so there is still room for improvement. I expect he will succed as his attitude has improved towards school, he is working hard, and he is getting along with all our other students. There is not even an “inch” of a problem, Moses reported. Sarah is number four in her second grade class. Sarah is fourteen years old and a year ago couldn’t read. Now she is the teacher’s pet. Abraham is near the top of his class as well. He’s at grade level for his age. James is number four in his class. Simon is near the bottom. Tutoring is not an option for Simon as the class eight regimen has no time available for tutoring. From Roots we went to Shiners Girls High School, but we were unable to see Deborah as she was taking an exam. From there we traveled to Pleasant View Academy, which was anything but pleasant, to see Michael. Michael is in a problem of his own making, having left the good public school he was attending, Narok, for this school. He was the only Sudanese at Narok and was unhappy there. Moses had found him another school, but on his own, he chose PV. The school has been a disaster and this year suffered rioting and damage by students rebelling against the decaying infrastructure. It is hard for us in the US to imagine that a school for which you paid tuition, could be so corrupted and insensitive to students and their families. There are unfinished buildings started four or more years ago. The latrines don’t work. The water they use for cooking, drinking, laundry is contaminated. There is no effort put into fixing these things. Enrollment has dropped from 400 to 70. Michael has paid for the full term and is in Form Three. There is little chance of moving him this year. And even for next year, schools do not like to accept new students for Form Four. Yet PV has little chance of opening up again next term. Michael also suffers from ulcers and the school is not giving him the special diet we have paid for. No chance to visit Kabimoi and see Joseph as it is too far away. Moses had to return to Eldoret for class at his college. John is in Eldoret recovering from his  long-misdiagnosed injury–cracked sternum and ribs from football. And attending a day school there until he is well enough to return.

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