Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sand, Cement and Fundi's!

It has been another huge ESTC week and another huge distribution. But this time we haven’t been negotiating bags of beans and maize, we have been negotiating bags of sand and cement! That’s right, the final ESTC tasks focus on finishing construction at the two primary schools we support in Massailand - Oli-oshabar and Ilnarooj.
During the first distribution we did when Julie and Laura were here, we delivered much needed desks and chairs for the students. This time around with your ESTC donations we are going to finish a classroom and administration block which was left incomplete due to funds running out at the schools. The buildings have no window panes or doors which are not suitable for the kids or teachers to use as they are not protected from the weather… or the wildlife! Well, I don’t know how many lions there are out there in Massailand where the schools are but there are lots of giraffe! Oh it was so beautiful seeing their long bodies elegantly walking in the distance, their heads poking through the trees. There is something so cool about seeing giraffes on your way to work or school don't you think!
So the ESTC construction fun began last Wednesday at the hardware store in Ngong. Headmaster Paul and Chief Daniel had given us a list of the supplies they would need to finish the buildings so it was then up to Irene and I to make the order and take care of delivery. Sound simple enough? Wrong.
I reckon we spent a good FOUR HOURS at the hardware store with Mama Chika who owns the store with her husband. She is a top lady and I attempted to practice my Kikuyo with her - rather dismally I might add! During this time Irene negotiated, people came and went, we drank soda, negotiated some more, more people came and went, phone calls were made… I started fading so Mama Chika ordered us some beans and chappati which really hit the spot and gave me the energy to go on. Waiting around has to be one of the most exhausting things one can do, haha!
So finally the transport arrived and the boys went about loading up the truck with all sorts of goodies – bags of nails, iron sheets, bags of cement… I found myself again wanting to help but sometimes you just have to let people get on with it…
We headed out to massailand and managed to finish the deliveries just as it was getting dark. Mission complete. Well not quite.
On Tuesday we headed back to Mama Chikas hardware store to order a few more items - paint, timber and bits and pieces. Actually I have learnt lots of new ‘hardware’ words too during this week, if only I know what they meant! Words like white wash, y 8, flash doors… sounds impressive eh!
So the last task of the day was hiring labour. Irene had already received a quote off one fundi. Ok a fundi is like a workmen or trades person. Funny story actually, when she had called me that morning she said “Lauren do you want to come with me this morning to get the fundi?” But what I heard was “Lauren, do you want to come with me this morning and get the food (as in breakfast)?
I was like, “Sure Irene.” An hour later we were driving out towards Ngong and I asked Irene where she was taking me for brekfast. “We are going to get the labour, the fundi,” she said.
It was then I realized I was not getting breakfast! Haha!
So back to the story… we met the fundi who originally was going to charge us 8000ksh for the work but when he saw me (A.K.A the mzungu in the car) he hiked it up to 18000! Over double! What! Stern words were exchanged, I sat and listened quite amused as usual until Irene got the price she wanted, haha! Ahhh….. funny… She told me that I would have to wear a bag over my head from now on… not funny Irene!
So hopefully by next week the construction at the two schools will be finished and ESTC funds for Kenya will have been done and dusted! Then it will be full steam ahead as we start preparing for ESTC 2009 which is going to be huge! I hope you guys have started thinking about your parties already!

Ok, that’s it from me, I am going to go to cook some fundi for dinner!!

Amani (peace)
Lauren xo

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