Friday, February 25, 2011

Finished with the Research!!

When I awoke, Amber was on the phone with Madison. When she finished, she asked “what was is that  noise we are hearing”.  It was a donkey but it was not the familiar hee-haw but a crying sort of bray. Loud and annoying!
This morning began as usual with breakfast…fresh fruit (passion, pineapple, banana, watermelon), tea, eggs and toast. I pass on the sausages and cereal and juice. We again joined John, Mai and Roger. We are learning their personalities and our conversations are profitable to us and hopefully to them. John gave Amber a book about peace and reconciliation and some tips about traveling ‘round Paris…a trip she plans for later in the year.
The drive from Sosa to Chevakali is short and I was intentional today about pointing out a few things to Amber. They seem common to me (for Africa) but I have to remember that this is Amber’s first trip. We saw a carwash…a spot alongside the road with a rain tank and a few men washing vehicles. There were many small children, maybe 2 or 3 years old, walking about near the road while their mothers tilled the ground with jembas (similar to a hoe). 
We were at the hotel by 9:30 for our meeting which was to begin at 10. The six people on the secondary school peace curriculum committee arrived one by one until about 11 when tea was served. I was expecting USFW Kenya women to come and meet with me and they also arrived at about 11 (but our appointment was for 11). We arranged for another room and ordered tea. It was a wonderful meeting with Gladys Kang’ahi, Dorothy Selebwa and Janet ??. They had come from Vihiga, Kakamega and Kitale. Gladys had traveled since 6 am. We chatted a bit and then talked about USFW International and USFW Kenya concerns. They invited me to come to the USFW-Kenya Triennial in April of 2012 and be the installing officer. I imagine it may also involve speaking but maybe not. We ordered lunch which came at 1:30. I told these women that I had shared with FUM General Board about the regular prayer meetings that they hold….when nearly 3,000 women come together from far distances to pray all day. They do this 4 times a year. The ladies were humbled that the board was informed.  (The location is moved around but nearly half of the women who attend will travel at least a few hours to attend!) More conversation and then expressions of appreciation. They wanted to meet Amber so I went up the 3 flights of stairs (for now the 3rd time today) to see if she would be able to get away for a few minutes. The committee was also finishing up so I remained there for those expressions of appreciation and prayers, then asked Amber to join us. We visited with the women a few minutes then headed for the vehicle. Henry was taking three women, two from Amber’s meeting and one from mine, so they did not have to pay transport. We stopped in a small village to check on mail for one of them. Finally we were dropped at Sosa. We will not see Henry and Wesley again on this trip. Amber gave me a letter that a former student of mine had sent via a committee member. He was on the committee but had had a death in the family and was not able to attend. He sent greetings and regrets that we did not meet as “you are like a mother to us”.  
 Amber was especially impressed with the caliber of teachers she met today. They are writing curriculum. She told them that in the US, major companies write curriculum, not local teachers. They are doing the student text and the teacher manuals. 
Sasita has introduced me four times…at Vihiga Secondary School, at Kaimosi Primary School, and at the two Peace Curriculum Committee meetings. He tells them that “She is Patricia Shrock, the president of the USFW International…president of the whole world!!”  Receiving honor is almost unQuakerly as we do have the Testimony of Simplicity and the Testimony of Equality. In the evenings though, Amber jokingly reminds me that I am the president of the whole world. : )
We spent the afternoon processing much of what we have seen these last four days. This evening she will work on getting her data categorized. I need to write an article for the USFW magazine, The Advocate.  I will try to post a blog or two and pay our bill. I have told them that we will pay tonight after supper so that it is taken care of.  We also have to pack up everything as we leave at 6 am for the Masai Mara for two days of game drives! Let’s hope that the internet is better there and you can see some photos!!
Posting on Fri. We talked and talked last night and did not get our work done. We are now at the Mara...had a great day, have great internet access and hope to post many photos tomorrow. The trip was an 8 hour drive and the last two hours on jutted dirt path across the floor of the Rift Valley to the camp.
We are at a tented camp. The generator goes off at 12 midnight so we won't be working late! But the game drive is at 6:30 am! We had one game drive this afternoon and saw baboons, eland, Thompson's gazelles, Grant's gazelles, zebra, giraffe, warthogs, ostrich, cape buffalo, topi, water buck, dik dik, secretary bird, a lion from a distance and two cheetah stalking a small herd of wildebeest.  We watched the stalk for about half an hour, then they pounced and ran. The wildebeest scattered and the cheetah are still hungry. The verandah on our tent overlooks the river where the hippos are half submerged. The monkeys threw things at Amber when she sat outside. Most of the animals listed above were in groups of four or five or even herds. Amazing! Beautiful!!

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