Friday, March 06, 2009

JAMBO!! On the eve of finally, after one whole year's work, our grand opening of HURUMA ORPHANAGE..Sunday afternoon - 5pm our time here, 8 hours ahead of Toronto - please come!! It has been incredible...the challenge of putting together this beautiful place in Swahili!!...very funny at times! We picked up the 12 bunk beds two mornings ago, dismantled for travelling and stacked ten feet high into the back of Ford pickup and another jelopy truck borrowed...tied on precariously with three inch wide rubber bicycle inner tubing, Charles being too busy, he is letting me drive the Ford,standard, through town and outside along other side of the road, next to cows, goats and streams of curious people lining up like a parade on both sides, scary, with huge 12 foot deep trenches on either side of the road constructed to catch heavy spring rains which haven't happened this year, yet.

Tables, benches and three rows of little school desks all set up in the classroom designed for a garage with two big open grilled doors looking out onto fields, goats and more cows across the a carpender is blocking off the bottom five feet with ceiling boards to prevent the swinging of 32 little heads everytime someone strolls by. Big beautiful four inch matresses covered in thick plastic which actually fit the beds, wrapped in brilliant green and blue sheets, brand new, 24 little blankets and the end of each bed..ready for cold times May or June i am told...i can't imagine. It is very hot here, and humid...while back in Toronto the winds and snow rage I am told.

Outside they built a little raised up cement kitchen, about ten feet by 5....a great breeze blowing though, with a row of toilets and showers behind the house, laundry...a tap outside providing water for these things...inside i am still wondering about water, without pressure, which trickles...and how they will manage coping with 27 bewildered little angels moving in this very afternoon, their relatives and guardians bringing them over where they will be sort of processed through, where the relative or guardian will officially sign each child over to HURUMA...this is how it works here...3 are age 2 and three..up to nine...I can't imagine what this will feel like for them.

Our two cooks, Hadija and Nuruana, and Martha our treasurer of sorts set out two days ago on an excursion into the market to buy all the kichen need - i am sure it was one of the most memorable experiences of their lives with all this money, and free range to outfit their little kitchen with new things...we started the fourof us, with everyone standing around watching by sitting on the freshly tiled floor of the big open living area a few days ago...with me trying to describe things: pots, frying pans, spatulas...i had a list with their help in English..trying to draw pictures,and then writing it down on another paper in Swahili, much laughter and gleeful acknowledgement, almost like the game of Charades when someone 'gets it!!'....we try to put a price on things..more complications...

i drive them into outside of the market and take off....for a mazunga to be anywhere near the market stalls, the price soars three or four times as much... six hours later with out lunch, they show up with armfulls of stuff....they have only begun. Yesterday the same thing....i am running around organizing bed positions, communicating in sign language, handing out wads of money to gardiners digging huge trenches around the entire front of the place, to plant bougenvillia but i am confused about why the three foot deep trenches and the need to order not one but two loads of red soil all the way from Kiratua up in the mountains where i sometimes go for internet. I thought we were simply doing a wire fence with flowers...but hey! this is Africa and things are done in their own way here, and who am I to know?

At the end of the day in dismay they realize they have forgotten 'hot pots'...well, we had spent $1o0. on pots, huge big ones and smaller ones, frying pans....and i am wondering what the heck are hot pots, cooking pots? No it takes some time for them to describe a time when a child may be sick and unable to come to dinner, maybe at the hospital for a visit, and coming home, they need to be fed a nice hot pots are what they keep this in...again, what do i know?

We are looking today for square, not round mosquito nets...the kids have arrived, i am waiting for someone to finish off the buying spree: firewood, keroscene lanterns, solar lights, maize, rice, a cooker for coal, Swahili...snug in the refuge of this internet cafe which is up and working today. bliss..i have had times feeling very isolated, especially at nigh - what a treat to pick up emails and write, especially this blog which keeps me in touch with what's going on,even here in my own life,the days race by!!

A terrible thing happened the other morning, the day i was driving the Ford en route to Huruma from the carpenders..i cruised by the little police station where there were at least forty people crowded around a van, looking inside. I pulled over and made my way through the crowd all exclaiming, but again, without Swahili i had no idea the full extent of what they were saying...inside, was the most awful sight i have ever seen: two big baby giraffes squished into the back of this station wagon, their legs trussed tightly together, one into each other, dead.

Huge eyes the size of the circumference of a juice glass, open and the colour of robbins egg blue, stark, wide. Dead.

Pole. Sorry...i kept saying as i am backing away,sick...pole...this is just awful. Five guys had gone into the national park at night, shot them with an injection of some drug, tied them up as they went down, and stuffed them into this van. Police stopped the car at a road block...four of those guys ran away, the driver caught. Charles says he is for life; to kill giraffes is even worse than lions or elephanants. They died from overdose and the trusses. The police refused to remove them from the van where they lay dead for 24 hours, until a magistrate from Arusha drove down to see for himself what they have done, knowing he would never believe it unless with his own eyes...

I haven't slept well for the last two nights, i keep seeing those blue eyes...

Another scary adventure. i am taking the children swimming when someone notices a squirmy black snake swimming through the water just before we go in....This is not your every day grass snake i am told later....this is highly lethal, and never seen in this pool before. if they bite, without medical aid, you can die.
Why am i writing these stories this morning...???
We got it out with a big long net...where it squirmed across the paved deckside....Charles threw a small board on top of it and jumped on top of it with all his might..successfully...

Of we go now to guy has just shown up with the last kitchen things...
Tomorrow, to Arusha to pick up Matt from Pennsylvania and his two friends. These amazing and very enthusiastic guys flying all the way over here for one week only, to see for themselves Huruma....with six huge bags of goodies for the children...I have never met them, and can't wait....i haven't slept at all the last few nights for excitement!

Will take some time for setting myself up to get pictures into this blog, early next week....until then, have a great weekend!! Badei...see you soon!! from dusty little hot Mto Wa Mbu...miss you!!

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