We went for an excursion
(Based on the blog entry of our volunteer)
In Kenya we took 23 village children to the nearby Homa mountain in Aug 2014. Two elderly teachers joined our company so we had a team of almost 30 members. The mountain is approx. 20 km from Kowuor and is visible from almost all houses there, still, none of the children had ever been there and only one adult was there once. (He just went there out of curiosity to see how the mountain looks like… 🙂 )
We took children whose parents we would like to work together with in various projects – maximum 2 from each family. (There was only one exception: there was a family with nine children and a 17-18 year old boy came as an almost grown up with two smaller brothers). It was the parents who decided who could come…
We planned to set off at half past 9 but we could start only after half past 11 – very Kenyan style – when the two matatus rented arrived from Kendu Bay… (Kendu Bay is the nearest big village with supermarket, hairdresser, ATM and a starting point for buses and matatus.) The children arrived at the meeting point (150 meters from us) by then but did not find anybody there so came to the house and just sat down… Luckily everybody knows everybody here so you cannot get lost or left out from an important event like this… 🙂 (I did want to go to the meeting point but the locals convinced me that it is pointless, the children will come to us anyway once they do not find anybody there. And they were right!)
We travelled for 30 minutes on very bumpy gravel roads to get to our first destination, the Abundu hot springs – there are many springs there, small and big ones as well – that cannot be approached by car so we walked down from a small hill (then back up again) – as the springs are in a valley. In Kenya the official language is Swahili, but everything has a name in English, and these springs are called „hot springs” which is very talkative as they are very hot indeed. (They do seem to boil as they bubble but I put my hands in one of them and they felt about 70-80 Celsius degree.) One can boil eggs in them – we tried, it takes 15 minutes – or corn (that we did not try but the locals usually do). The water is a bit salty that precipitates around the spring and is collected by the locals – though not as intensely as before. Many children were collecting soil to take home because it is full of minerals and they believe that if they give it to their animals they eat and drink more and give more milk plus it makes their meat more tasty. They themselves consume this salty soil to soften vegetables and meat… (Lucky that we did not have bags otherwise I could have had “soil stew” – although looking at their kitchen hygiene I might have had some anyway… :-)).
The next stop was Victoria lakeside where we had our picnic lunch near to a fisherman’s village. The spot could not be approached by car so we went there on foot, dragging along all food and equipment: soft drinks, tea, water melons, bananas, bread, margarine (butter is only known in hotels here), jam, muffins, cookies. The food seemed too much for me but finally we took back only some soda, cookies and the leftover margarine and jam. The cookies were not consumed due to lack of time (or opportunity) to distribute them. The picnic was quite a mess – with European standards – we started with muffins and soft drinks then we ate bread with butter and jam. Bread means toast-bread here (as a single option): one slice is buttered the other has jam on it then they are stuck together. This is how it works here and this is what we “normally” have for breakfast… 🙂 After sandwiches we had bananas then drank tea – and the lucky ones had water melon too. Two out of three water melons were uneatable and the third would have ended up as compost or food for chicken at home – but here only two went to the chicken and the third was consumed by the lucky ones 🙂 ).
After this we climbed to a makeshift sightseeing tower – without protective rail though the mountain was really high and steep – where the view on Victoria lake was breathtaking.
Then we returned to the village (where the cars were left) and we took a pleasure boat trip on the lake. This was the first time for almost all children to travel in a boat, despite that they live next to the lake… Some of them were afraid, especially when the boat banked or the engine stopped 🙂 – they all thought that it broke down – but altogether they enjoyed it very much.
It was funny though that when a one year old girl saw me in the village she started to cry. She had never seen a mzungu (as the majority of the locals) and she was so shocked that she started to cry. The whole village was laughing and I kept apologizing… 🙂
This was the end of the excursion so we were heading back home. The children allegedly liked it and had a good time though, to be honest, it did not show all the time… It was strange that even those who were in “my family” did not show much enthusiasm but they said they had a great time indeed…
By the time we got back to the village – the last 150 meters on foot – the rain started to fall and by the time we got home we were soaking wet, but still, we had a really fine day.