Friday, February 6, 2009

Athi River Village--"The Poorest of the Poor" & Rutty Roads

Rutty Roads

Our ride to Navashia from Nairobi was hysterical. The roads in Africa are anything, but modern and really wouldn't even be considered a good dirt road in the US. On any given highway, if one could call them a highway, there are supposedly TWO lanes. However, in the rush hour traffic it soon turns into a six lane free for all. No one obeys any kind of laws and it it everyone for them selves getting where they need to go, driving however, they chose. We were driving along with a competent driver, when suddenly it was bumper to bumper, and fender to fender. Suddenly people got mad, jumping out of their vehicle and started walking. Leaving the vehicle in the road. Plus, if they want to pass the simply diving off into the bar pit, or the cactus and keeping right on trucking. The entire ride sort of reminded me of the song "East Bound & Down" and the "Wild Mouse," gone bad. I thought of the pot holes on I-15, in Utah County and laughed. Compared to African roads they are not pot holes, simply a little bump!


AILC, first stop was at the Athi River Village, alias "The Cardboard Village." This the poorest of the poor in the Nairobi area. These villagers live literally in cardboard houses, with anything else for structure and support they can find. They live on approximately ten acres of infertile land, that does not even belong to them. They use the near by river for drinking water, bathing, and do their laundry in. It is so sad as there are so many sad lost souls in this village. One little boy about two, sat in the make shift medical clinic for two days. He never spoke, laughed and showed any emotion at all. After we left, I concluded he was probably deaf, but there would be no money to have him tested.

The children of the village can go to school, in a school house the men have build near the houses. However, the parents must pay to go to school and the children must have a uniform in order to go. Some of the uniforms had obviously been handed down for several years. Some of the villagers do work at a near by cement plant, but they only earn a dollar a day. Hardly enough to send a child to school, when the must try to put food in their mouths.

All the children seem very small for their age, as they haven't had good nutrition since birth. Though they are happy and love the attention the group brings twice a year. I know children will play with anything, but seeing these kids play with an old tire hour after hour was very disheartening for me. Americans children have some many toys they never play with them all, yet these children's only toy is a old used tire....

The only bright thing about those at Athi River is the chicken project, established by AILC. There are nine residents who have embrace this project, showing a profit by selling the eggs. They are just in the process of buying another two hundred chicks, just so they can double their profit. Thanks to those who gave money for the chicken project, it is such a positive thing. The coop is spotless and is a coop just like in the US, with the exception of a around the clock guard to prevent thefts. It is the dream of these nine very hard working villagers to have enough profit to enable them to buy a piece of property, build small houses, and leave the village. We call it the American dream to own a home of our own, it is not just an American dream it is every ones dream!!!


From Mom: We are back to Athi Village and on to another this evening. Doing good. I slept very good last night for the first time here. Will text again soon.

From Tiffany: Hello Mom, I miss you hope you are doing well. Oh, wow, what an eye opener. I think we Americans are spoiled. Love you and see you in 2 weeks.

From Mom: Tiff, could you please have Brykn leave a message on my phone. I so want to hear his voice each day. Love you all.

From Mom: Well, the 2nd day at Athi River Village when well. We seen most of the people yesterday. The ride to Navashi was 6 hours long and it was like a bad wild mouse ride. The road here makes the ruts in I15 look small. Plus, there is no order whatsoever. Everyone drives where they want and of course on the wrong side of the road. And, it's only 5 feet wide! Oh wow, what a ride. Love ya. I will try to call in a few days.
In Nairobi
2/5/09From Mom: Hi everyone. Well, our first day in Nairobi was spent at Athi River, a cardboard village. Everyone is very poor. All the children were happy as they know no different. They are amazed at our white skin. The children just wander about the village with no purpose. We have treated people with many different things and pulled several teeth. We will go there again tomorrow before going on to St. Catherine's school.Love ya.
From Jacquie: Glad you are having a good time. Being in another country is eye opening. Be careful. Love you. J.