15.06.2010 - 15.06.2010 31 °C
Farewell Abuyudaya and Uganda- Jambo to Kenya
15th June, 2010
A very restless night , saw us dodging mosquitoes, feeling most uncomfortable, hot and sitting up wide awake by 2.00am. Staying in the guest house was really stretching it , and perhaps we should have visited like we did in the afternoon and found some other place to sleep for the night. However the appreciation of our hosts for our overnight stay, seemed to make it all worthwhile.
David had a meeting with The Chairman, first up, and Elia a quietly spoken young man gave us the run down on some proposed business ventures of the community. David shared his ideas with him and together with Yitchak- the guest house manager, a lively discussion ensued . I am sure things will happen for them, and that we will try from our end to secure them with some form of income . Support within their community is challenge number one and they believe the sale of spare car or motorbike parts, plumbing parts, second hand clothing and shoes as well as computers and T.V'S could make the world of difference to their families. A quick very simple breakfast served by Rachel, the cook/cleaner was served. She proceeded to share her story with us- she is not Jewish, and when her Muslim husband died 11 years ago he left her with 5 children, his other 2 wives each having 6 and 7 children. She had a piece of land he had left her which was close to this Jewish community we were in. They took her and her children in, she as a worker in the guest house. She cannot praise the Rabbi and his community highly enough- they saved her. Here kids are doing well and the eldest is in university , whilst her second son spends each morning 'shaving hair' in a saloon, and afternoons are spent in school. Tzipporah, the Rabbi's wife popped in to welcome us and to apologise that her husband was away, and would only be home tomorrow.
We left with Elia and Yitchak taking us to the town of Mbale to view the clinic. We travelled on the worst dirt road I have ever been on and after about a kilometre, the wheels of the 4x4 were hanging and turning over a huge rock. We had a number of helpers within minutes and after a few tries, the car was dislodged and we were on our way again- so happy that Joseph was driving as this was true 4x4 off road driving requiring skill and ability.
The Tobin clinic is quite simple , staffed by 3 ununiformed nurses- no funds for the uniforms yet, and once operational will I have no doubt be a good source of income for the community. They have a small ,poorly equipped ward, with all the beds having come from the States. The building is brand new- and much like India, and all buildings here, it looks 20 years old. Its just the simple lack of attention to detail, and general mess. The clinic has a second floor which has retail offices and will also ,once tenanted, be a further source of income.
The road to Busia was about 100kms, with much the same scenery we have driven through before. Only 2 new aspects- the beautiful Mt. Elgon which overshadows all in its vicinity- a smaller version of Table Mountain in Cape Town, was a lovely change to the otherwise flat landscape.
We also saw a number of billboards with the words ' Educate a girl and you educate a nation'. What great words, certainly a philosophy that Judaism holds close. Here in the African bush too, the role of the women is paramount in the education of the future generations what with the health and economic challenges that these counties face.
The border town of Busia was busy and dusty with many huge trucks and loads of people. A Uganda is a land-locked country her access to a port is through this border into Kenya and onto Mombassa on its coast. We cleared customs and passport control, bade farewell to Joseph and re-met Julius from Nairobi with our old friend, the Land Cruiser. We had 2 hours to the Lake Victoria town of Kisimu, which will then allow us a 6 hour drive tomorrow to the Masai Mara National Park where we will spend 3 nights at the Karen Blixen Camp. The tarred roads were horrendous, with the smoother option being to drive on the sandy shoulder of the road. There are plans under way to repair these roads. We noticed heaps of small kids along these very busy, truck-filled dangerous roads, and almost witnessed the killing of one such child. Not sure who was more shook up the child, the driver of the ute in front of us or David who also slammed on his breaks. We agreed to give Julius a lift to Kisumu to save him the trouble of catching a bus, and to also save him additional discomfort- he was then taking a 6 hour drive onto Nairobi. He quite enjoyed sitting in the back seat, whilst 'we' drove him.
Kisimu is quite a boring , dirty town and a quick walk into a close by market, saw us leave post haste. The Hotel Imperial, is a definite improvement over last nights accommodation, probably a 2 star, country hotel. We went to the Lake for sunset and enjoyed talking to a pleasure-boat operator who described himself as a boatman, fisherman and conversationalist- a real character. Dinner was in a local supermarket centre and we have enjoyed having internet and being able to reconnect again.
Tomorrow will be a challenge with the driving- both the roads for David and the directions for me. Looking so forward to being amongst the wildlife again.