Thursday, July 17, 2008

Are you listening? Part 2


All is well here. Very busy though. But what else is new? I have to stop saying that. People will start wondering. After all, everybody's busy nowadays! Too busy.

We're doing concrete work today. The floor slab for the final floor of the large building is going in today. I think it will be (at least) a two day job. They have to throw the cement up grade, one shovel at a time, in order to get it up to the fourth floor. I can't imagine people even DREAMING about doing it that way in Canada! Very labour intensive. We need to maybe see if we can get a winch lift or something the next time. Incredible amount of work!

We don't want to go through the same thing as last time, where people "striked" on us, refused to finish the job. So this time we tried to just find people whom we know. We pray, in that way, that we've avoided hiring any trouble makers. Prior to working I then got everybody to agree to the terms and sign a paper. It's not worth the paper it's written on, but it's better than nothing I guess. Anything just to prevent the problems that so many people have here in ********* when they do concrete work. It's awful! We had over 200 people outside the gate waiting for a job this morning. When our foreman opened the gate to let one person in, they all stormed into the centre. Once they do that they then insist that you MUST hire them. So I immediately went to the gate and threw them all out. At least they listened to me. We were then able to get the people in that we wanted, one by one. What a drama!

In addition to the local people, we also have about 13 people from the refugee camp whom we've been able to give a temporary job. They are so glad for that! Dad's even been able to hire two of the pastors to help, including the guy who lost a hand in ******. He used to be a construction supervisor apparently and thought he'd never be able to do that type of work again. So he is so grateful for the opportunity!

Since we now have a cook we're also able to provide all the workers with a cooked meal. Even have some meat in the meal which is a special treat. The cook tells me it's "African meat". You wouldn't get me eating it! It's pieces of stomach, stuff like that. All the things that are cheap but at least give the flavour of meat. And that's what people like, especially as meat is so expensive!
53 people working up there today! It'll cost us about 60,000 Ksh (at least!) on labour alone to finish that slab. A lot of money. But it'll be good to get that done. Then we can put the walls up for the final floor, and then the roof.

The drama continues down at the Kedong Camp. The police came at night again and tried to get people to get into lorries so that they could be transported "elsewhere". They refused. The police then returned in the morning, yesterday, and confiscated all the tents and other shelters people had set up, including some personal effects, threw them into a waiting lorry and drove off with them. Now the owners wonder if they'll ever get their stuff back. They don't even know where it was taken. Anybody else doing stuff like that, it would be considered theft. But of course, not the police. So people are starting to get tired and slowly are drifting away. Nobody is taking any notice of their plight. It really is sad! We went down yesterday and gave out some food and some more clothing. Someone from our church had donated some brand new stuff. Lovely clothes! People were so grateful! It made it all worthwhile.

Anyway, that's just an update from us. Hope you and yours are doing well.

God bless

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kenya Update

So, it is summer and I will be a little late posting my updates...but keep the replies coming!

So, is one of two emails from our 'friends' in Kenya.

Dear Friends and Family,

Shortly after 06:00 AM this morning my mobile phone rang. "Of all the…!" Why do people always insist on calling us so early? There's no such thing as office hours. We get phone calls at any time of day or night. It gets rather tiring. So I turned my phone off – which in this case happened to be the wrong thing to do. But I only found out about that this evening.

I was just returning ******, (a teacher), when the chairman of the.... refugee camp came up and told me what had happened at the other refugee camp. All of the inhabitants of the Kedong camp – the one set up by the flower farms for many of their employees – were supposed to have left last weekend. We had been to the camp last week to give out some clothes to some of the more desperate souls still there. On Monday I went to see what was happening and found a few tents remaining, about 100 people. I spoke to the camp chairman, and he told me that those still in the camp had nowhere to go. None of them had a job and all of their businesses had been destroyed. Nor did they have anywhere to go in their tribal ancestral homeland.

That all changed today. The camp inhabitants had a rude awakening when the police and DO (District Officer) showed up at 0430 this morning to throw them out. This wasn't just a courtesy call. The police meant business. They went from tent to tent, tore them out of the ground, and threw the people's meagre possessions about, indifferent to what was damaged or destroyed. In the process one little boy's arm was broken. But that didn't stop the police. In the end everybody was thrown out of the camp and out onto the road. There they were left, to fend for themselves.

That's when ****** tried to call me. The news was all the more shocking as we know some of the people who were involved in the attack. ****** himself has expressed the desire to join one of the courses we are running here at the centre for the displaced people from the camps. He just needed to sort out first what he was going to do, where he was going to live.

By the time I heard what had happened it was already dark – too dangerous for me to be travelling about. I needed to leave the ***** camp and get back to the centre. I'll head down to the other camp first thing tomorrow morning to see if there is anything we can do. But for now the refugees will have to find a place beside the road to sleep. Some will now be taken to their tribal ancestral homes where they will be "dumped" (their words, not mine). Others are still waiting to find out what other options they may have.

The displaced who are living in the other camp in ****** are now all terrified. They fear that the police will come and do the same thing to them. And, like the stragglers at Kedong, they too feel they have nowhere to go. But the government is desperate to close the camps. As long as people are in these camps it shows that there is a problem.

On another note, there is a cholera outbreak in our area, from Naivasha to Nakuru. The news reports that 4 people died today in Naivasha and more than 50 have been admitted into hospital. It's all the more worrying as there is a large open sewerage leak in one part of town! The stink is bad enough. But now with cholera in town, it's downright worrying!

This week a couple from our church, good friends, were attacked by four thugs (one with a gun). Fortunately they were able to get away from the carjackers. Our friend's arm was quite badly cut by the flying glass from a broken window but they were otherwise okay. Praying for God's protection is a very real and necessary part of our lives here!

And so our work continues. Thank you for thinking of us and remembering us in your prayers.

God bless