Sunday July 22, 2012: 7:00 am departure to Nakuru with Danny/Church welcome, school hole digging
I had been changing the time on my clock and phone to reflect local time zones as I flew around to the other side of the world. I thought I had set it all to go off at 5:30, which would give me plenty of time to shower, check my email and grab a nice buffet at the poolside, which Amy McLaren had highly recommended. I was somewhat dazed when the alarm was not going off and I fell into a deeper sleep.
It did go off though at 6:30, due to my not actually changing the phone settings correctly for the time zone, which gave me only 30 minutes to do everything I wanted to do in an hour. I was able to rush through everything though and showed up a couple minutes after 7 where my driver was now waiting reading the newspaper to take me to Nakuru and to meet up with the rest of the group.
We first headed out to pick up another American, Danny, from Texas, who had been working with a couple groups setting up businesses and had been connected with Irene as well. He filled me in about a lot of the area and how people were here. Hearing this reminded me of my times in the Solomon Islands and Belize. The people are living in the poverty level, but still always looking to get better one way or another.
We enjoyed the country side and I soaked in the Great Rift Valley, but did not see too much animal life yet…this would come later on Safari for sure.
When we finally arrived at the school the main group was not there, but touring one of the Pipeline camps where many displaced people had resettled with their mud/stick houses (though with Tin roofs) as well as a plot of land with which to grow crops. They soon came one by one from across the way along with many of the community members towards the church area we were waiting by.
I finally got to meet up with the group, much to my relief!
Slowly I was introduced to about half of the group, included the people who made this all possible for me, Russell Brunson and his wife (from Dot Com Secrets) as well as Stu and Amy McLaren (from World Teacher Aid) as they got right into a church service, praying in both Swahili and English. There were times or prayer and times of song, times of dancing and playing the drums and times of quiet. Stu gave a short speech as well and then we headed out as a group, otherwise we might have been there for a few hours more.
We walked back to the camp area where our tents were set up and I was able to introduce myself to the rest of this all star marketing group who had given so much to help this community build school rooms and start feeding programs.
People like David Frey, Armand Morin, Stu McLaren, Russell Brunson, Mike Lopez, Bill Harrison, Mark Jenney, Justin Bowen, Scott Brandley, Garrett Pierson and Ellyn Badder to name a few along with some of their guest which included business partners, relatives and spouses and children.
We had a quick lunch and I was able to get my gear settled into the tent I was sharing with Mike and I got to know some of the group better before heading to start our first work day at the school.
I grabbed my work gloves and changed my clothes quick and we walked back to the school. In my mind, I had envisioned lots of heavy lifting and strenuous work to feel as though I was earning my keep here in Kenya, though this really never came on my part. With the help of Marianna, Mike and Armand we were on hole digging duty. They were setting posts to support the overhang in front of the school room and needed some holes dug to fit them in and set with concrete. Me and Marianna ended up digging four holes which seemed pretty easy overall as the ground was mostly dirty/clay and not too many rocks to worry about.
There was a lot of down time as people were figuring where to put the holes and then setting the posts so we all were able to look into what some of the others were doing. Jobs like slinging concrete/mortar into the stones, leveling floors with a piece of wood, mixing cement, carrying water, painting and other small task were taking place at the same time as playing with the kids, which was one of the most important parts of being there.
Show them how much you care!
They may remember that they got help in building a school, but what sticks the most is the relationships that develop.
Take Russell Brunson for example…He is a trained wrestler and figuratively got his butt kicked over in Kenya by a group of little kids. All kidding aside, he spent quite a bit of time running around and having them jump all over him. When he headed back at the end of the day, it looked to me as though he had been drained of his last bit of energy after a grueling match with someone twice his size. All in a day’s fun though.
I ran away from some myself in games and held many little hands along the way. They would just come up to you as a total stranger and grab your hand or a finger in hopes of developing a relationship…or in an attempt to “have my gloves!”
We had yet to give all of our donations out that we brought, but they were not shy at all to ask for things that we had like our sunglasses, hats, shoes and more as they had such a need for these. With an easy “I need them still” they were quick to move onto another subject.
After a few hours at the build site, it was time to head back to camp to clean up and get ready for our dinner…Most of our meals included rice, potato, cabbage, beef/chicken and a type of curry which I was ready and willing to eat all of when the chance presented itself.
We all got to know each other more as we sat around the table and later the fire sharing stories from the day as well as our past. As many of the group are involved in online marketing and related professions, much of the discussions were based on this field, which was to my enjoyment as I was ready to absorb whatever bits of information I could. Being a sponge was a side goal of this trip in addition to helping out in building a school and bringing over supplies and sporting equipment.
Many of us headed to the tents to call it a night much earlier than I am used to going to bed, but after all the travelling and jet lag, I was ready as well.