A Travellerspoint blog

July 2010

No business like Show business

semi-overcast 26 °C

Endless heavy Luo beats at incredible decibels all night (unless the power goes out), numerous tented pavillions, important dignitaries, marching bands, double-jointed entertainers, curious visitors, pick-pockets...
It's the week REAP has been gearing up to for months. The annual Kisumu agriculture show crashed upon us this week starting with judging on Tuesday. All the REAP staff and workers called it 'Judgement Day' which gave it a very ominous and slightly fearful ring. I did find the prospect frightening and panic me slightly because of how last minute a lot of things became. Painting of the REAP stand was still being done on the morning of the judging as was putting up displays inside the REAP building, all quite intense for me, especially as judging could take place from 9am onwards.
REAP tatoos

REAP tatoos

One of the weird sights you see at the show

One of the weird sights you see at the show

Another of the weird sights you see at the show- this is a man dressed up as a woman with defined African hips

Another of the weird sights you see at the show- this is a man dressed up as a woman with defined African hips

George shows a visitor around the REAP stand

George shows a visitor around the REAP stand

Three big mamas (2 of them were happy with this description, one wasn't)

Three big mamas (2 of them were happy with this description, one wasn't)

Harry's windmill

Harry's windmill


However, I didn't need to worry as the REAP stand looked great (by 12...), completely relaxed and ready for the 3 rounds of judging for the 3 categories REAP had entered. REAP had won all 3 categories last year, so there was a certain pressure to do just as well this time round, though it seems REAP did more than enough to retain all 3 trophies - 1st place in Environmental Management, 1st place in small trade stand, 1st place in non-governmental organisation stand. In the latter category, I heard we were the sole entrant, however, so I don't know if there is much glory in winning that one...
Dancing and celebrating around REAPs trophies

Dancing and celebrating around REAPs trophies

REAP's Big proud Mamas

REAP's Big proud Mamas

Big mama Dom and small Em share the winning glow

Big mama Dom and small Em share the winning glow

Mama Dom and Margaret happy with REAP's winning efforts

Mama Dom and Margaret happy with REAP's winning efforts

Mama Ann and Rosalia show off more of REAP's trophies

Mama Ann and Rosalia show off more of REAP's trophies

Rosalia looks fondly at her namesake goat having won first place as a dairy goat

Rosalia looks fondly at her namesake goat having won first place as a dairy goat

George, Frieda, Pamela and Monica pose

George, Frieda, Pamela and Monica pose

Mama Dom finds the excitement underwhelming

Mama Dom finds the excitement underwhelming


The judges were very impressed, one of them saying things such as there being too much knowledge for him to take in. He kept shaking his shiny black head and laughing, showing his bright white teeth whenever he was shown a new thing. I'm sure the other judge (Father Alfred with thick glasses which kept falling down his nose) was swung to vote for REAP by my kilt as he had visited Scotland in 2006 (Penicuik no less) and enjoyed it immensely.
Kilted barbarian welcomes you to REAP show

Kilted barbarian welcomes you to REAP show


Incidentally, most people here have never seen a man wearing a kilt here, most shouts directed at me were 'why are you wearing a skirt?' Whole crowds of heads turned my way when I walked by (including a whole marching band). I guess a stranger sight than just a white person in Kenya is a long-haired white man wearing a skirt.
Emma has found it a long day sitting in the heat and noise at her little school resources stand, although she has been encouraged by the responses from some visitors who are impressed by Em's creativity and ingenuity, saying things such as they now have ideas to make toys and resources for their pupils or children. A checkers game made from bottle tops has especially been a hit among the REAP staff playing it during the quieter times.
Em's colourful school resources made out of locally available and recycled materials

Em's colourful school resources made out of locally available and recycled materials

Matt and Em enthusiastically promote the stand

Matt and Em enthusiastically promote the stand

Em shows a prison warden her ideas

Em shows a prison warden her ideas

Mama Em relaxes in her colourful school resources stall

Mama Em relaxes in her colourful school resources stall

Facepaint girl tries out Em's tin stilts

Facepaint girl tries out Em's tin stilts


On Wednesday, we collected our trophies from the main pavilion as well as a certificate of participation for REAP. Strangely, the certificate we received was incorrectly written- Rural Extension for Africa's Poor had somehow become Rural Africa with Peoples Poor, which doesn't even make any sense. I received the certificate from the MP for Kisumu who had recognised me as a Scotsman for wearing my kilt the day before, I even had a mention in his speech to the assembled crowd!
Me (the white one), Sam and George displaying 1 of the REAP (Rural Africas with Peoples Poor - obviously) trophies

Me (the white one), Sam and George displaying 1 of the REAP (Rural Africas with Peoples Poor - obviously) trophies

Big fish at show with the big-wig MP for Kisumu asking to eat it

Big fish at show with the big-wig MP for Kisumu asking to eat it


President Kibaki is supposed to be coming on Saturday, so I will wear my kilt again during the day and see if I get any more special mentions.

Posted by africraigs 22:35 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Burnells arrive

Just a quick one, (well, as quick as the internet lets us upload pics..) we've had a busy few weeks with our friends from Edinburgh, Jordan and Helen, and were sad to see them leave.
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The Burnells arrived a few hours later though, so it was a quick turnaround with visitors. We threw my parents in the deep end with a motorbike ride to REAP staff, Rosalia's rural church, my mum had to prepare a last minute talk using the puppets she'd brought, and my dad was asked to lead prayer ministry. The puppet show of the 'Prodigal Son' went down very well. We were invited back to a lady's home for lunch and the family tried the Kenyan dish of ugali.

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Other than that it's been all hands on deck as we prepare for the annual agricultural show tomorrow- one of REAPs highlights for the year. The staff were all working at the showground 'til late tonight as the painter who had been employed to freshen up the REAP stand had agreed to paint 3 stalls on the same day, so he arrived at 7pm to paint the letters on the building when it was already dark. He tried to paint them in the headlights of the car, but I think he will need to finish it tomorrow morning before the judges arrive. GRR.

Another ongoing frustration is lack of running water, which becomes even more stressful when we have visitors. My dad, who spent years researching water leackage, is in his element though as he tries to work out ways to be more efficient with the water we do have, like half filling the toilet cisterns and not washing...

Posted by africraigs 12:23 Comments (0)

Leap of faith into de Nile...

Jinja, Ebenezer and border crossings

Wow, what a lot has happened since our last post... Pictures probably sum up the last week better than me droning on so here goes...
Our friend Helen joined us
Helen arrives in Kisumu...

Helen arrives in Kisumu...

and after much advice from various people we decided to take a trip to Uganda to see whether it would be considered sufficiently 'out of Kenya' to obtain a new visa. This was a bit of a gamble as technically they could refuse to give us new visas as it's still East Africa, but we thought it was worth a try... Unfortunately this meant we had to visit the beautiful spot of Jinja, the source of the Nile, and spend 2 nights camping by the falls...

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Naughty Jordan

Naughty Jordan


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Bujungali falls

Bujungali falls


At our commissioning/ leaving service in Bellevue back in January, we played a clip from Simon Guillibauld's DVD 'Three Seconds' about how life as a Christian is about taking risks, and how when we take leaps of faith we do it in the knowledge of trust and security of God being with us. This was the clip in which Jordan decided to go to Bible college and had inspired me and David with our decisions to be in Kenya, and so without 'over- spiritualising' a bungee jump, it was kind of special that 6 months later David and Jordan did the same jump that Guillibauld had done to illustrate his point...

David jumps....

David jumps....

Jordan jumps...

Jordan jumps...

de Nile

de Nile


Mad men

Mad men


Jordan jumps...

Jordan jumps...


Can't bear to look...

Can't bear to look...

We came across this verse a few days ago which reminded us that whatever the outcome at the border, God was with us and has been with us so far...
'...He named it 'Ebenezer' (Rock of Help) saying 'This marked the place where God helped us'...

We will think back to the Kenyan border crossing as a place of 'Ebenezer' as the customs officer gave us new visas with no questions or challenges or fuss, which means we are now all back in Kisumu, rather than me and David treking to Rwanda or somewhere on a 20 hour bus ride and leaving our guests to fend for themselves in Kisumu. We are really thankful to anyone who prayed for us about our visas and to God.

'God is good' boat

'God is good' boat

Posted by africraigs 23:01 Comments (0)

Sudan or jail?

overcast 20 °C

In many ways today has been pretty rubbish. We had planned to visit Kijabe Mission hospital today to look into options for baby Craig's delivery, and it was a bit disappointing. The highlight was an amazingly helpful American Doctor who patiently listened to and answered all our questions. However, I then needed a compulsory HIV test which took hours and hours to find the results, we were then given the bill of the equivalent of £70, so David had to run back to the house for more money, meanwhile the staff had lost my form, and then David rushed back breathless from the jog at such a high altitude, only to be told we'd been given the wrong bill and it was only £40 which we had on us. All very frustrating and took 4 hours.

We were lucky to get a lift to Nairobi with our lovely hosts, the Yosts, which saved us a hairy matatu ride and spending more time & money travelling, and then we visited an immigration contact, Isaac, who broke the bad news to us that our visa situation is either to leave East Africa or possibly face court charges and jail. Spending 3 months in a Kenyan jail doesn't really appeal, but then flights to Sudan, Ethiopia etc are pretty expensive. We need to be out of the country by Wednesday so I'm not sure yet what we'll do, but we're returning to Kisumu tomorrow so can hatch a plan with Jordan.

David here: Em has been very stressed today and I am finding out more about being the rock-steady husband in the midst of whirlwinds and high emotions when trying to think of a wife and a little unborn who feels the mother's intense feelings she is experiencing. We believe that God is in control and allowing us to go through this confusion and rocky road for a purpose, but we may only understand the reason for the upheaval and complete change of plans in hindsight. We were talking about when we return to the UK and begin living there again, life will seem so much more dull. In some ways, we would appreciate a bit of a dull life just now...

Posted by africraigs 11:49 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Tired from tyre play

This is just a quick one as we're all absolutely shattered, but this has been one of my best days in Kenya so far, so felt I should record my excitement...
We are making the most of another pair of hands staying with us (and a body, face etc) -our new son Jordan and we were working at Orongo (the nursery school for orphans) to make a playground as they had nothing to play on and were jumping off the concrete water tank as their main source of amusement and physical activity.

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Tyre tunnel

Tyre tunnel


More tyre ideas

More tyre ideas


David and teacher Joy

David and teacher Joy


Jordan hard at work

Jordan hard at work


Painting

Painting

I was worried that the playground wouldn't ever get off the ground, there seemed so many links in the chain which could go wrong, but amazingly the pick up truck arrived on time, didn't over charge us, we picked up the 2nd hand tyres we'd ordered at the market with no problems, plus the wood from the local timber yard, and the teacher at Orongo had roped in 2 strong guys to help dig.
The playground wasn't quite finished when we left in the afternoon, but the 2 strong guys and the teacher were keen to continue without us, and had become very enthusiastic about painting everything- even the tree, so we look forward to seeing a very colourful Orongo tomorrow...

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Good to know the petrol station care about our fillings

Good to know the petrol station care about our fillings

Posted by africraigs 13:05 Comments (0)

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