Starting to feel like home in Ondati

Tuesday, March 2, 2010- My first two weeks in Ondati have flashed past like a thirteen seater Matatu flying down a hill carrying thirty, plus luggage. But while I still have much to learn, including the art of eating ones’ weight in ugali during one sitting, I am starting to feel at home.

Getting off the plane, bleary eyed, then stumbling across Russell Brand in the airport was an interesting, if a little alternative, first experience of Kenya. However, a taxi ride through central Nairobi and a night in a safari style tent with the sounds of the night to lull me into a deep sleep was enough to make me know I had arrived.

The Adongo family (by family I mean an extended family of roughly 30) have welcomed me into their home(s) and done their upmost to make me feel comfortable. And while the absence of power and running water felt like a loss at first, it is now nothing but a distant memory.

Taking over the project

As for the project, it looks like Mary and the committee have worked hard over the last six months and I was impressed by the progress that has been made. The school is established and the foundations have been laid for what looks to be an exciting year ahead.

We will soon be underway with our Dairy and Bee-keeping enterprises. A recent visit to nearby Nyambeche School with a very successful Bee-keeping project provided some useful advice for the latter. For the former, government livestock officers have been roped in to assist in the procurement of three very expensive pregnant dairy cows.

Throughout the last month girls have been arriving thick and fast to join the new Form 1 class. While the Forms 2s remain modest in number, they have assumed responsibility for ensuring the new arrivals settle in well. However, care is taken to make sure the Form 1s know who is in charge.

Umbrella and wellies in Africa (?!)
To get anywhere outside walking distance involves seeking assistance from one of the infamous motorbike drivers in the area. And although I doubt that formal training is available for learning to carry three passengers down muddy, bumpy footpaths I further doubt that these guys have so much as a license. Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes, but you may as well forget about smooth journeys once the rains come and the roads run as rivers. That reminds me – I need to buy an umbrella and wellington boots which are apparently indispensible attire during the ‘Big Rains’.

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