Posted by: hilarycole | November 3, 2009

Piles of Potential

It’s been raining in most of Kenya, a massive blessing after nearly two years ofdrought effects drought (a blessing and a curse for a few areas that have suffered El Nino’s flooding). But people are definitely rejoicing and I’m especially happy for the food growers and livestock owners – life has been most tragic for them.  These dead cattle were likely left by a Masai herder who had taken them hundreds of miles in search of pasture. This grass turned green too late.

Work with Mama Mercy on the Children’s Centre in Kiserian has taken off, with lots of community members and extended family on board using their trades and skills wherever we need them. Mama Mercy wants to engage as many “idle” (jobless) youth as she can in this project.

We’ve enlisted a new company to complete the bore-hole well and Mama Mercy went all over town last week negotiating prices and hiring lorries to deliver the stones, sand, ballast and cement to buid the tower that will hold the water tanks. (After the experience of Erick’s workshop, I’m throwing terms around like a pro.) We visited a few other boreholes in the area to observe tower designs and garner advice, but Mama Mercy is no neophyte. As she likes to remind me, “My house in Rongai? I know it from the foundation!”

Mama at the Borehole siteRight now at the site we have a few holes in the ground and huge piles of rock and sand – pure potential. Our plan for the next six weeks is big: construct the borehole tower, build a cook house, dig a second toilet, build walls around both new toilets, finish ceilings and walls in the two dorms, have metal doors and gates built, get electricity installed, paint the exterior (I get to pick colours!), and do some landscaping to make things look like a beautiful, vibrant home.

It sounds like a lot of hard work and sweat, but make no mistake, I’m not the one toiling. Together, Mama Mercy and I plan, then she mobilizes the troops. Aside from hopefully putting some plants in the ground, I’m just hanging around, taking more snaps. (At the moment, I’m sitting in a posh coffee shop surrounded by British ex-pats. I just had a chocolate croissant. Please, hold the e-mails about my great sacrifices.)

While the wet weather is being celebrated here, I have to say, it’s messy. If it rains much more at the work site, trucks won’t be able to drive in over therain in Rongai muddy rural roads. Yesterday, we had to walk in from the main road; on the way back I had to help push our taxi about 100 meters. Rural areas aside, getting around anywhere in Kenya now is downright sloppy. For those of you in the Pacific Northwest about to begin your annual five months of complaining about the rain, I have one word for you – sidewalks.



  1. Thanks for the updates Hilary – you are all doing such an amazing job- Thank you.
    Big Hugs to you and Mama Mercy!!!

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