05 February 2009

"It's a Carry-all"

nakumatt firejpg Employees who worked at the Nakumatt in Nairobi that locked customers into the mega-store are to be charged for their actions.  It has been reported that people were locked in the burning building (pictured right) last week.  Employees wanted to see receipts for the goods that they were carrying as the inside filled with smoke and the fire grew.  Over twenty people lost their lives because of the fire and there is good reason to believe that some may have been saved if people were in fact locked into the building.  I will do my best to bring new revelations to this story, but I wonder why so little focus is placed on the 30 minute response time and the lack of working fire hydrant.  Is it easier to blame individuals?

The World Food Program has estimated that 3.2 million Kenyans will need food aid due to the food shortages in the country.  The issue can be traced back to the election violence of last year and the economic slow-down that ensued.  More than a year later, the country still reels from the violence.  Crops were burned and replanted during a drought.  With no government aid the crops have yielded little or no food.  There has been a crisis for awhile and all that has taken place thus far has been a whole lot of talk.

In other news, the Daily Nation had an article interviewing Obama's grandmother about her trip to the United States.  The basically said that she was very impressed.  Particularly by the police who did not start fights or any sort of disturbances.  She also said that she missed ugali.  I do not know how people here can like a dish that is maize flour and water shaped into a mountain.  It has no flavor and sits in your stomach for years.  I used to hear that gum myth about it staying in your stomach for eight years and watermelon seeds that would grow watermelons in your belly.  Ugali is no myth, I do not think that my body is able to process it in any sort of way.  I have had it twice and I think that I need to be a cow (multiple stomachs) to deal with the brick in my gut.

William came by and I gave him some of our leftover chicken noodle soup (though there was no chicken and only a few noodles).  He did not eat much of it.  He made a funny face with the first taste and I could tell that he would not be coming by for a meal anytime soon.  We sat and discussed American and Kenyan colleges, more politics, and he showed me his cell phone games.  Michael again came in at the end of his visit to sit and listen to William dictate some great thought about some minor thing in his high English.

At the center, the Toms (basically the Bobs to the nth degree) were back at it working on our bridge.  Judi wanted it wider and we complied with the request/order.  However, by adding boards to the sides we made our stable bridge rickety.  I am a bit perturbed to say the least because today we should have installed it into the ground and completely finished the project.  Now we have to improve a bridge that is in worse shape that it was to start the day.  Do not worry, the Toms will fix it. 

When it came time to wash up, after working, to have tea.  Tom and I went over to clean our hands with the soap and water.  The buckets are located in the right corner of the center as you walk in.  I went to grab the soap from the dish but it was not there.  Below was the dirty water bucket and I reached into it assuming that the soap had simply been dropped into the bucket.  After giving a good swish around my hand hit the soap.  I wrapped my fingers around the soap and pulled my right hand out of the bucket and moved my left hand down to start scrubbing.  As I glanced to see my hands to be washed, right before the two were to meet over the soap.  I realized that my right hand was not holding soap.  In my grasp was a rat.  I eased the rat back into the water and told Tom what had just happened.  He laughed thinking I was joking around with him.  I insisted that I was not and gave him the bucket to look.  He turned it around a bit and up came two dead rats from the bottom.  He passed it on to Nancy who then thought he was kidding.  She went outside to pour out what she expected to be only dirty water and out came the two rats onto the lawn.  Needless to say the whole incident brought about a few good laughs and good hard scrub with soap in the most hasty manner.

A man came in with his son, I assume, carrying a black bag.  Attached to it was a silver chain, but he was holding it in his hand at full stretch beside his leg without any sort of indication that it was his.  Upon further examination (double take) I realized that it was a purse.  I did not think much of it and assumed it to be his wife's/girlfriend's.  Expecting her to follow behind in a few minutes.  When it was time for them to leave, the two walked out of the center side by side.  Father strolling towards the bike with a black purse silver chain over his shoulder.  I tell this story because it was a strange sight to see, but I probably tell this and the purse holds important things pertinent to the mans son.

The work day ended with the first weekly meeting.  Each Thursday we discuss, over tea of course, the past weeks events and make note of anything important that needs to be dealt with before the next Friday staff meeting, which will actually be next Tuesday afternoon due to schedule conflicts.  The meeting was pleasant.  I was ribbed more by David and Neto about supporting Chelsea.

The rain is back after a few day absence.  As water continues to build the bugs are following suit.  More mosquitos and flies each night.  I do not want to think what it will be like when the rainy season hits at the end of the month.  Tonight's dinner will be grilled cheese and left over chicken noodle soup (minus the chicken).

Addendum: Last night the power went out at about 6pm.  We had dinner and relaxed outside until the sun set.  I read my book for a couple of minutes but then decided to give up and go to bed at around 8:15pm.  What was a bummer turned out to be a much needed good night of sleep and full recharge of the batteries.