Nov 23, 2011

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May 2, 2008

Mission to Kenya ~ Fall 2007

Katie McLain and I have return to Kenya to work on the library we helped build. Our mission team of 2 is organized by the United Methodist Church's Volunteers In Mission and our work is planned by the Kaaga Methodist Church and the Miriam Kanana Mubichi Foundation. We will stay in the home of Steven and Florence Mubichi along with their daughters Fridah and Ravena. Fridah's phone number in Kenya is 011254723083267. Katie's phone in Kenya is 011254728525281. Find additional contact information at the bottom of this blog.

This is MY blog but Katie also has a great blog written from a 21-year old's perspective. Her blog is located at

REMEMBER: This is a blog, ie a travel journal, and the most RECENT entry is at the top.
To start at the beginning, scroll to the bottom and read UP.

Nov 25, 2007

Our Library In Meru: The "Advanced Readers" Area

Above, Fridah is visiting with our wonderful "librarian" Joskim. He knows every child who uses the library - by name. We will need to replace him one of these days, though, as we are hoping he will be heading of for college soon.

Our Library in Meru: The "Easy Books" Room

Nov 23, 2007

Nov 23: Katie and Steven Arrive in OKC

Katie McLain and Steven Mubichi arrived in Oklahoma City at 11:25 PM on Friday, November 23rd. Katie's mother, Nan, joined Florence Mubichi and Jean Warner in welcoming them. Steven hadn't slept for 30 hours and was pretty beat. Katie managed to catch some winks on the 3-phased trip (Nairobi to London, London to Chicago, Chicago to Oklahoma City). Above they are gathering hugs and luggage. They are noth suffering from serious Munchie withdrawal.

Nov 3, 2007

Touring Thiiri Center in Meru

On Saturday, we visited with Marilyn Brenchley and toured the Thiiri Center she is helping Bishop Imathiu build in Meru.

Nov 2, 2007

At the Foundation Office

Following our meeting with the Board of Governors of the Kaaga School for Hearing Impaired Children, Wilson, Chris, Fridah, Katie and I returned to the foundation office to review and regroup.

with District Superintendent

With Charity in Lay Preachers' Library

Nov 1, 2007


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Oct 31, 2007

Wed, October 31, 2007

How amazingly blessed we have been to have a cable connection to the Internet while we are in Kenya. Most people in this area of the nation have to settle for a dial-up service which is a long distance charge to Nairobi - i.e., expensive. We suspect the Mubichi home is one of only a handful (maybe less) in Meru to have cable service at this time. It is because (1.) we are on a hill and the computer service people have installed a tower in our yard; (2.) Fridah worked for Dell in OKC and we give the crew good feedback; and (3.) Steven's brother, Lawi Imathiu - the former Bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya, is putting in a Community Center that will feature a computer lab. But all is not perfect as my dear old Dad would say. Throughout my stay, we have had difficulty uploading and down loading data (pictures, podcasts, music, etc) much of the time. Fortunately, we HAVE been able to upload pictures through Blogger and Liver Journal -- but not today. So I have only words to offer you tonight.

It is been awhile since I posted. The Foundation staff (i.e., Fridah, Kate and I) have been busy getting ready for the followup board meeting we scheduled last Sunday and which took place at 6 pm this evening. We got minutes drawn up of the Sunday board meeting and are sending handouts and minutes out to everyone.

Today Kate, Fridah and I met with Superintendent Minister Kiogora to discuss (1) the current status and future operation of the library at the school for deaf children, (2.) ditto for the Preachers' library we constructed to the Superintendent Minister's headquarters (which is on the grounds of Kaaga Methodist Church, and (3.) plans for John Boster's mission team coming in January of 2008. While we were there, we also had a lovely chat with Charity the librarian. She was grateful I gave her permission to throw away the odd books in the collection. She also has a long wish list of special requests starting with Bible dictionaries and Bibles in various translations. I kicked myself for not bringing a Eugene Peterson and the NSRV. Oh well.

Rev Kiogora sits (and represents the Methodist Church) on the Board of Governors of the Kaaga School for Hearing Impaired Children. He was very interested to hear our assessment of how the library is working out - as well as some of the issues we would like to see resolved.

If we had known before we broke ground what sorts of issues would crop up, we'd have prepared a Memorandum of Understanding between the school, the church and the foundation way back then. But it was a new venture for all of us. Now we think a Memorandum of Understanding is needed and he is most supportive.

Indeed, this evening, while our Foundation board was meeting to consider what might go into such a document, the Rev. called to say we are invited to send 4 representatives to the meeting Friday of the school's Board of Governors.

We had a wonderful board meeting tonight - excellent turnout and lots and lots of good discussion (and food - we had tea/coffee/hot chocolate and two kinds of samosas).

We think it might be prudent to organize a coordinating committee composed of representatives from all three entities to resolve management issues (who pays the electricity when it finally gets turned on? who will oversee and pay for any modifications to the building? if we install a copier that generates revenue, who collects the fees? etc).

We decided to send 5 people to the meeting Friday: me, Fridah, Wilson Kinoti and Chris Kinyua plus Kate (who will be our secretary and just take notes - although she certainly didn't stay quiet in tonight's meeting; I was terribly proud of her).

I like the Foundation's board very much and especially enjoy visiting with the younger members. We talk politics (it is Presidential campaign season here) and culture. I think Kenya is changing very fast thanks to this younger generation of well educated business leaders. It is an exciting time to be here. (We did note that while we like Kibaki and want to see him re-elected, he is 75 years old already and his running mate is 80; there is a need for young Kenyans to step forward as Presidential candidates!)

I have wanted for some time to gather up all my income and expense records associated with our involvement in Kenya. Frankly, when I started raising funds for a library in 2005 and then led a team here in January of 2006 to build the library, I had no idea it would be such a large building or that it would be so - not complicated but multifaceted. There was the building and the mural and exterior and the books. But then we needed to fill the gap between the walls and the roof (which is not normally done here) to keep moisture and birds out. And the ground shifted a tad during the rainy season and one wall developed a bit of a crack that needed patching. And then we needed shelves and tables and chairs - and they needed to be small for primary school students and large for older users. And then we hired a librarian who works for a song and a smile. And we needed to catalogue the books and get them sorted and shelved.

And all our wonderful donors have been amazing -- but it has added up. If I had known when it all began that it would grow into such a wonderful but multifaceted project, I'd have been much more conscientious about saving all my receipts and writing down amounts of money whenever one of us made a contribution to the project. So I have done my best to reconstruct our spending and tomorrow, God willing, I will reconcile my records with the Foundation's and, hopefully, be able to put an approximate value on what we have brought to Meru both for the library and in the way of gifts for children and institutions including the church and the School for Mentally Challenged Children as well as the School for the Hearing Impaired plus the local economy (White Star Hotel, etc). And that includes both monetary contributions and in kind (all those baby dolls and school supplies and wheel chairs and who knows what else we tucked into every nook and cranny we could find in the 20 foot shipping container we shipped back in December 2005 or carried to Kenya in our suitcases).

It is late (1 am) and every once in a while I will hear a terrible squealing just outside the living room window. It is the guard dogs getting into a fight. Again, I wish Cesar Millan was around to work with this pack of dogs. I have 79 emails to read but they will wait until the morning.

Love and God's blessings to you all from Kenya.

Oct 28, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Great day. We attended service at Mwaneka Methodist Church. Marilyn Brenchly was preaching and she made Fridah, Kate, Joann e Dolman (a volunteer at The Meru Children's Home), and me stand up at the front of the church and sing. It was truly pitiful. We came home, grabbed our materials and went to The White Star for lunch. (Kate had to have her Masala chips). Then across the street to the wonderful MKM Foundation offices. We had a nice turnout of supportive board members. After a tour of the office, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony -- only we used Makena wool instead! Then we went to the conference room at The White Star and had an excellent board meeting. Home for a late dinner. I'm beat. More - with pictures - tomorrow.

Oct 27, 2007

Alexia Standing

Today was our final work day before the Board of Governor's meeting tomorrow and we are ready. Members of the board have been invited. We will gather at 3 PM Sunday at the new office and, when everyone is there, we will hold an official ribbon cutting ceremony. Then we will walk across the street to the White Star Hotel and hold the board meeting in the Lounge and the hotel will serve tea and refreshments.
It is 11:30 PM and poor Katie is sitting at her computer churning out 10 copies of our handouts -- Agenda; Project Categories for Accounting Purposes; Proposed Budget for This Fiscal Year; Jean's Recommendations to the Board; and the (proposed) Annual Report.
The final thing I have to do is prepare my remarks on what to do about the library; I'll be laying out a range of options from turn the library over to the School for Hearing Impaired Children to continue operating the library and negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the school.
And, on another note, yes the child is standing. On her own. For minutes at a time. and you should see her do sit ups, We push her back on a pillow and whoop - she bounces right back up. We set her on the couch and she sits up for 20 minutes looking around, gurgling and laughing. I am amazed at the changes I have seen in just a little over 2 weeks.
It has been such a joy having Katie here to assist me. She is so gracious and observant and perceptive. She has been a huge help!

Oct 26, 2007

For Grandma Florence

Friday, October 26 Noon

It just poured rain all night and it was still pouring at breakfast. Ever since I arrived, I have been harping about the Russian Rule of Shopping (circa 1980): “If you see it and like it, buy it. You never know what will be available tomorrow!” (Fridah always wants to check 3 other stores to see if she can save 5 shillings- the equivalent of 75 cents US.) So this morning I was thinking, “I should have done my running around chores yesterday as it will rain all day and I’ve missed my chance.”

Every morning, Jackie throws open all the windows in the house. It never gets over around 78 degrees. There are almost no bugs (I have seen 2 or 3 flies, 6 fruit flies and a cricket in the house in the two weeks I have been here although Katie tells me to give my clothes and shoes a little shake when dressing to be sure there are no little spiders sleeping in them). All the windows are covered with sheer curtains that serve as screens and the door to the back yard is often left open (although there is a heavy, bolted gate so no one can let themselves in the house – IF they could get past the 5 or 6 employees who live and work on the grounds and the famous gaggle of “watch geese” who roam the yard).

Now it is nearly 11 AM and the sun is trying very hard to come out. Every time it peaks out from behind the clouds, all the roosters in the neighborhood crow! The birds are chirping. The two cows in the back yard who give us milk every day are mooing. The goats must be eating because they are NOT currently crying like unhappy human infants. (More than once, I have gotten up to check on Munchie only to realize it isn’t the baby crying but one of those silly goats. When one raises a racket when Steven is around, he smiles and says, “THAT goat is the next one we eat!”) The “watch geese” are making happy clucks and there are several golden retriever-like dogs roaming the back yard – covered in mud and utterly happy. (They make up part of the Daytime Dog Pack versus the night watchdogs who are penned up during the day, let out at night and very mean/dangerous. I.e., once they are out in the evening we would never try to “walk” our inside dog Spikey – also known as Sparky and Kiki and “You!” (Steven addresses Spikey as “YOU!” and the poor dog slinks out of the room! I’d give anything to get Cesar Milan to make a call at this house but that is another matter!)

I suspect in another hour we’ll be able to phone or text message Ravena and she’ll come take us to Nakumatt to stock up on those various and sundry things we are running low on. I am falling behind on my promise to send Florence a picture of her grandbaby every day, so here is Alexia with Jackie in the front room.

1 AM on Thursday, October 26

Yesterday morning, Steven, Ravena and Alexia Kanana Mubichi (aka Munchie) left early in the morning for an appointment with a pediatrician in Nairobi. They took the red SUV for the 4+ hour ride (Steven prefers his fancy pickup truck but it doesn't transport a baby's car seat very well). The doctor gave Munchie a good check up and declared her great but asked that she be seen by an eye doctor in the morning because one eye tends to tear. So they spent the night at the Methodist Guest House and saw the second doctor this morning. Then they headed back to Meru. It may be that one of Munchie's tear ducts isn't opening so she'll get litttle cheek massages for awhile. Needless to say, the house was sure quiet with those three gone. We were overjoyed to welcome them back this evening.

Munchie is happily oblivious -- laughing and gurgling and cooing. But Steven and Ravena have to get back to problem solving tomorrow. One of Steven's huge hauling trucks is stuck due to all this rain because - of all things - it has an overly sensitive sensor on it that makes it stop running when the surface is wet! Meaniwhile, Ravena has a truck loaded with stone that needs to get delivered and I am sure the renters at their apartment building have a list of things needing her attention.

Poor Katie; I am working her terribly hard because we have much to accomplish before the recently reorganized board meets here at the Mubichi's home on Sunday afternoon . She's getting mini lectures on how nonprofits work and the basic principles of a well run organization. We have come up with a set of foundation project categories (Literacy, Health & Nutrition, Resource Management and Other) and sub-categories (library, reading barazas, book donations, scholarships, etc) for accounting purposes. We have all the foundation expenditures since late 2005 when they began projects in an Excel spreadsheet and coded by category and subcategory. Based on all the projects they have done, we are recommending a new mission statement for the board's consideration. We have put together a proposed budget for the current fiscal year for the board to adopt. We have also lined out some recommendations for the board that cover governance, financial management and openness that - if adopted - will make their transition from a community based organization to a full fledged nongovernmental organization (CBO to NGO) much easier. And I am working out several options to propose to the board on what to do about the library we built at the School for Hearing Impaired Children. We need to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding with the board of governors of the deaf school but before we begin negotiations I want our board to think through the various options. (It is the old adage "Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it!")

After the board meets here Sunday we will all ride over to the newly established foundation office which now has furniture, a printer to go with Fridah's laptop computer, curtains, bookshelves, beautifully organized files - thanks to Katie -- and more. I have the expenses side of the financial report completed and will tackle income in the morning. Meanwhile Katie is doing a wonderful job writing the balance of what will be the foundation's first ever Annual Report. So, we are getting there.

Tonight, after telling us funny stories about goats (he says they can't walk backwards; I never know when to believe him and when he is just telling us a story versus a teaching parable), Steven anounced that we need some recreation to offset all our hard work. So we decided that next Sunday we will worship at the Methodist church of Biship and Grace Imathiu and a week from Saturday we will go on an overnight safari at the National Park nearby. It is hard to realize I fly home in just 11 days! Love to all. Pray that we manage to avoid malaria and floods and wild things!

Oct 25, 2007

In Praise of Jackie (who also has malaria)

We are so spoiled here. We roll out of bed to find a delicious meal on the table every morning. Around 4 in the afternoon, a tray containing hot Kenyan tea, a bowl of course brown sugar, cups and demitasse spoons appears on the coffee table in the den. Around 7 or 7:30 we get called to a wonderful dinner. The house is spotless because every floor is washed down daily including the outside walkways. And, if we throw clothes in the hamper, they arive back on our beds washed and beautifully folded. All this pampering because the Mubichi's employ a young woman named Jackie who lives in a room behind the kitchen and cooks and cleans and feeds the baby and does all sorts of other wonderful things. If I sleep in, I wake to the sound of her scrubbing the walk outside my window (see above). I got the second shot when Jackie was taking down her laundry in the pouring rain under a collapsed umbrella but still smiling! Jackie walked to the hospital yesterday morning and returned to report that she, too, has malaria. Today we tried to pamper her a little but she went right on with her duties inspite of a bad head ache, aches and fatigue.

Oct 24, 2007

Oct 23 - Visit to Kaaga Primary School

Today Ravena drove me over to Kaaga Primary School for a fast walk around. It is located next to the School for Mentally Challenged Children (where we helped build a water line) and also backs up to Kenya Methodist University and "the forest." Last February, we took a brief tour of this school before the dedication ceremony for the water line. A few weeks after we left Kenya, John Boster flew to Meru with a colleague and they laid concrete floors in about 6 classrooms at this site (the rest are still dirt floors). They would like to have a small library on their campus and need an enclosed place to put the few donated books they have. So I had a look see.

The children who attend this public school are very poor. The school provides lunch for the nursery children (what we call kindergartners) which is prepared in the free standing shed. Everyone else has to bring food from home.

They have a computer lab with 6 computers donated by Kenya Methodist University; 2 of the 6 work and I'm not sure the room has electricity. The room they have in mind for a library is rough but wouldn't take more than about $9,500 to fix up -- redo the floor, cement the walls, install glass windows, fill in the gap between walls and roof (else birds fly in and so does rain). We'd need to buy some sturdy bookcases and get some books in there.

I've met with a representative with East African Educational Publishing Company and they've promised to give us a discount on their reading books. We want to contact McMillan and Oxford too about discounted books. It is certainly a worthy project; these kids have almost no text books let alone story books! The buildings in the background are outhouses. Makes you appreciate the small things in life! If we could just find 97 people who'd each donate $100 . . .

Oct 22, 2007

Tuesday, Oct 23

Today we made great progress on our tasks - so much so that we will treat ourselves to an outing tomorrow.

Tonight is the first day we have had a good hard rain. This time of year is supposed to wet but we have had beautiful weather. But tonight it is 1 am as I type this) it is POURING. I wonder if the roads will be slippery tomorrow.

Ravena is taking Katie and me over to the Kaaga Primary School tomorrow. We saw the school when we were here last February. After we left, John Boster (who was on the first VIM team I led to Kenya) flew in with a colleague. The classroom floors were dirt and John laid concrete in several rooms. We want to see the children and John's handiwork.

Oct 21, 2007

Remarkable Impact of Cell Phones In Kenya

I am intrigued by the impact and enabling capacity of the cell phone in Kenya. We girls laugh at Steven when we are at the table or trying to engage him in conversation because he carries two cell phones and sometimes three. At breakfast today, he handled three business calls within about 2 minutes. Here is a 16 minute video of a talk by Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase. He investigates the ways we interact with technology including the ways illiterate people use their mobile phones. It was recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. If you haven't discovered yet, you should! Incidentally, I carry two cell phones. It turns out my AT&T Razr works over here. I just don't know what sort of roaming charge AT&T would hit me with if I started making calls on it. But I have sent a text message back to Oklahoma with it. :-)

I never realized how much a mooing cow in the back yard can sound like a cellphone vibrating. (This is the back of the compound. There are cows and goats and geese and a cat and - at night - a pack of guard dogs to go along with the night watchmen. )

# 1 distraction

Can you blame us for taking breaks to hug the baby?!?

This is our little computer station for getting on the Internet. Steven brought in a table and set it in the corner of the living room. At least two of our three laptops are always out here either ON the Internet or waiting our turn! It looks like a Fire Marshall's nightmare. Add to that intermittent electricity outages and it is a wonder we are getting as much done as we are! :-)

At the library on Saturday with deaf students.

Fridah visiting with Joskim, the librarian at the library at the School for the Hearing Impaired.

Fridah and Ravena Mubichi have been very busy distributing the extra textbooks out to deserving schools throughout the Central Meru District at official book donation ceremonies. Starting with multiple stacks of textbooks that filled a third of the upper level of the library, the foundation is down to just these few books waiting to be donated to the remaining primary schools in the area.

Assigning mystery receipts to specific foundation projects and entering the data into an Excel spreadsheet requires taking over the diningroom table on Saturday!

Fridah, Alexia and the dog on the couch.

Sunday evening, October 21, 2007

Katie and I are making slow but good progress. Fridah teaches at Kenya Methodist University on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and is terribly tired much of the time as she currently is dealing with a bout of malaria. So Katie and I are doing our best to prepare a projected budget (July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008); a list of current and projected projects and their approximate costs; a financial statement that covers the past 18 months (with income and expenses summarized); a solicitation letter for mailing to friends and supporters in the US; a brochure about Makena Textiles and a general brochure about the foundation; etc. These will all have blank spaces that only Fridah can fill in as she has the time and strength.

Last week, Katie worked on writing up essays about the foundation for a website and we both worked on setting up a more sophisticated system for record keeping. The family members have done a great job of keeping records but, as the foundation grows, it needs a little more jazzy system. We bought a printer/copier/scanner for the office for only $150 and are setting up a computer at the office. We have also just been hearing about all of the wonderful projects the foundation has accomplished since Fridah moved back from Oklahoma.

We got to visit the library and interview patrons andd the librarian. We also got the new office setup.

This week we begin holding meetings with people – starting with Rhoda Kibiti, the Headteacher at the School for Hearing Impaired Children, and Rev. Kiogora, the Superintendent Minister at Kaaga Methodist Church. And we are getting out notices about a board meeting next Sunday for members of the MKM foundation board of governors to discuss various options for moving forward on the library on the deaf school’s campus and other projects.

So we are busy. And we’d even more accomplished except that we "have to" stop and play with the baby on a regular basis and listen to Steven’s wonderful parable/riddled filled stories!

It was good to go to church today at Kaaga Methodist Church. There was a guest minister and the theme was ending domestic violence and community violence (right up my alley). We had lunch at the restaurant at the White Star Hotel. Steven ate a BIG fish with its head and eyes staring at us the whole time. Katie and I ate spicy Indian dishes and Ravena ate her regular (fish and chips). we also paid for 3 big plates of fried potatoes for a very old blind woman and two very small boys who led her in to the restaurant begging for a meal.

We are about to sit down for dinner. Afterwards I am going to make a proposal to Steven and Ravena on how their rapidly maturing family foundation might gracefully conclude its relationship with the School for Hearing Impaired Children. (Fridah, Katie and I have been hatching a plan. We'll try it on family members first and, if it is well received, propose it to the board of governors next Sunday. Wish us luck!)

So God is good all the time and we are very blessed to be here helping as we can this remarkable, grace-filled family. Keep us in your prayers, please.

Love to you all.

Oct 17, 2007

Wed, Oct 17: Progress on the Office

Yesterday we had converted most of our US dollars into Kenyan shillings and put them in the bank. This morning we managed to sell the balance of our clean, crisp $100 bills. Then we went to the office with me carrying an old white plastic shopping bag filled with our stack of 1,000 KES bills because we planned to do major shopping in the afternoon.
We unpacked everything we had delivered to the office yesterday and then headed out for lunch. I thought I had the money in my purse but, when we got to the restaurant, it wasn't there. It turned out it was safe and sound inside the locked office behind the locked door to the storage room. We are buying lots of things and paying laborers, etc so we expect to spend most of this last bit of money in the next two days but we may put a portion of it in the bank first thing tomorrow just to be on the safe side!! (Due to the very high fees banks charge businesses in Kenya, the foundation has a savings account but not a checking account and you can't get out of a bank in under 2 hours - really.)

We ate lunch today at a restaurant next door to the Nakumatt in Meru. The menu had a huge selection and almost all the items were non-Kenyan. Fridah got a club sandwich. Katie got Mexican food. Our British friend Joanne, who is working as a volunteer for a year at the Meru Children's Home, was delighted to order a pizza. Only I ordered classic African food - meat samosas - and they were great. Then we shopped for office supplies, bottled water, a door mat and other items for the office.

We brought Joanne home with us and she stayed for dinner. Steven had to go to Nairobi today to get a part for one of his BIG trucks and stayed in Nairobi over night. So we had a "girl's night in" centered around praising Alexia who is sitting up on her own now.

Kenya Gets a Cardinal and Other Kenyan News

Pope Benedict has named a Kenyan to become cardinal (the second in Kenya's short history as a nation). Read the story here. The Business Daily has an article entitled "China Aid Projects Fail to Benefit Local Business." That article is here. And here is an article about a spinning, weaving, sewing women's group in Kisumu that could just as easily have been Makena Textiles which is receiving attention and assistance from the Mubichi Foundation! An easy way to follow Kenyan news is to go to and click on Kenya.

Here is that link:

Oct 16, 2007

Tues, Oct 16: Determining the Foundation's Scope

Katie and I are also helping Fridah get all her files – especially those related to finances – in great order so that we can produce a first class annual report. Fridah has most of the data in Excel spreadsheets but we are working at identifying “in kind” services and making sure all the many things this foundation has accomplished in its first 3 years gets included. Here is my list of categories and projects so far:

1. Literacy/Education (Provide scholarships to needy children, donate the textbooks we sent to area schools, direct the construction of the Miriam Kanana Mubichi Community Library building and help mission teams catalogued all of the donated books, pay for workers at the library so it stays open 6 days a week, and conduct Saturday "reading barazas" at area schools to tell about the library and let children read books from the library)

2. Health/Nutrition (Installed a water line at the Kaaga School for Mentally Challenged Children, helped a mission team install cement floors (they were dirt) in 6 classrooms at Kaaga Primary School, exploring the Nothing-But-Nets initiative to distribute mosquito nets to area families)

3. Leadership Development/ Resource Management (Work with Makena Textiles - a women's coop that makes wonderful products and is now receiving training on marketing and management, organize and conduct youth community service projects, provide training sessions and workshop presentations on community development, women's empowerment and computer literacy)

4. And what I am currently calling "Other" (Organized a Christmas 2006 food and clothing drive at Kaaga Methodist Church to give youth experience in charitable work, helped coordinate and host many mission teams from the United States and other nations to work on the above projects)
When we are not working or enjoying wonderful meals at the house, we take turns playing with Ravena’s baby, Alexia Kanana Mubichi.

Oct 15, 2007

Monday, Oct 15: Work on the New Office

I am happily settled into one of the 5 bedrooms in the Mubichi home - across the hall from one of the 3 lovely, large bathrooms. (See pic on right of one corner of my room). Katie and I are helping the Mubichi's open an office for the Miriam Kanana Mubichi Foundation (see pic of Katie in front of the office). It is actually an apartment unit in an apartment building the Mubichi family owns. Ravena is acting building manager at present. So when we arrived Fridah was balancing carpenters and painters and electricians and furniture stores and in all honestly, Katie and I find it challenging to adjust to the pace. People are wonderful – they are just courteous and visit first before getting down to business. And they come when they come and are totally bewildered that you are upset when they put the clearly marked paint for the floor on the walls and the wall paint on the floors. So I am working on patience!

Oct 14, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Oct 14: Drive to Meru

The drive to Meru around the east side of Mt. Kenya takes about 4 hours if the roads are good and they were remarkably good this year. (Presidential election in December = lots of road work). We did encounter horrible conditions in two towns (see pic). We saw coffee growing and wonderful terraced farming as we went up the side of the mountain. (Click on pictures to enlarge.) Because we got away so late, it was dark by the time we got near Meru. There are no street lights and all along the way there are people – including children – walking along the side of the road in groups of 4, 6, 10, etc. It was pretty wild but we made it safe and sound.