Thursday 8th March 2012

Left at 7am with our driver turning up early and Lesley still being in the shower. It was another hairy drive back to Mombasa where the traffic on Nyali Bridge was bumper to bumper in 5-6 lanes on a 2 lane road, together with cars, matatus and trucks broken down and just stopped in the middle of the road, or run out of petrol along with 3 camels who had somehow got lost and ended up in the main part of Mombasa amongst the peak hour traffic. This is Kenya is all I can say. We picked up the architects David and Dennis at the GPO and took them to Ukunda. We were an hour late picking them up due to the traffic, and another problem was the sliding door in the van, which the driver had to wrench open and shut and lock in case it fell off!! Once in Ukunda we decided we’d get some spray paint to mark trees we definitely didn’t want cut down on the plot, then got a call that the landowners wanted a lift to the plot, so we had to wait for them to find the van once again in the searing heat and the sliding door unable to be opened.

The architect climbed out the window to see if he could fix it and thankfully it finally opened to let in the landowners who were very pleased to see us. Old papa gave us a strong handshake and big teethy smile. Mamma was very reserved as usual, but did give a smile. All packed in like sardines we headed to the plot. There was a lot of bantering in Swahili going on, none of which I could pick up many words, but the upshot was Mamma wanted $3000 KS to ‘show’ us the boundaries of the plot. Pretty much nothing we could do until we agreed…. We walked around the boundary on the left hand side very very impressed with what we saw when we got down the back of the plot. There was a huge waterhole that was still green, which meant in the rainy season it was full, and that there was water down under for a borehole if we needed it. The other good thing was it was towards the back of the plot, and the highway wasn’t far behind it, which meant we could put in an access road there and connect electricity from there. It also meant that the ‘tourist accommodation’ could be accessed directly from the highway eventually. It sure was big but Lesley and I were busily thinking how productive the crops could be and what wildlife would be lured to the waterhole and how good it would be to build the sponsors/volunteer accommodation as well as the tourist accommodation around the waterhole – just like on safari. There was a commotion further down where the landowners had walked on ahead while Lesley and I stopped frequently to take photos or chat.

A villager had come out demanding why she had not been told the land was being sold. Appears she was a relative of the Mamma and wanted her share. This is normal here where all relatives expect shares of everything. Mamma and Papa did some serious yelling and pointing and cursing, and we all got back in the car and left. I gave Mamma the $3000KS in the car and she quickly put it in her bag. Along the way back the Papa and the others were asking our driver in Swahili “Why hasn’t this woman paid us the $3000 KS? It should have been paid before we went around the plot.” I told the driver, we had paid the Mamma and I said to her “Show them.” I think she was trying to pull a swifty as she had not said a word to them. She did and they laughed and were all happy. I couldn’t help but think that she had no intention of giving it to them. That is the way things are here. We drove a different way back through little villages to their mud hut which was another way to town.

The lawyer was in Kwali so couldn’t go see him. Went and had a nice lunch of samosas and salad then back to hotel for a swim and nana nap. Lesley and I woke up to thinking we would have that lovely Indian Prawn Curry we’d had before cooked in a clay pot along with rice, pappadams, and ‘bitings’ (which are nibblies) here in Kenya. The restaurant here does lovely food and nothing over $10 Australian, and hard to eat all that is served. Was Lesley’s last supper before she leaves tomorrow. We reflected at all we’d done here and how things fell into place when they were meant to. I will miss her so much next week, but have to make sure all is good with all registrations re the land and the NGO before I leave.

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Umoja Orphanage Kenya is a Project of the Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg 
RAWCS Project Number 51/2011-12
Umoja's founder Cathy is a member of Fitzroy Rotary Club District 9570

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