Sunday, June 27, 2010

Last Day at Cura, Recycled Glass, and Kibera

Our time at Cura for this trip has come and gone. It seemed too short, of course, but we all had a great time and the visit was a success, I think.

We worked a bit in the classrooms, held a field day with the kids from the school, and spent a day working at the home itself and playing with the kids. While all of this was going on, Hayden and I did a lot of administrative work and politicking with the board members and the teachers. All in all I believe our trip was a success, and we already have a good head start on our next sets of projects and our next steps when we get home.

Of course we were regaled with song and dance the whole visit, and the ladies endured endless hair-braiding and decorating. I attempted to revisit my youth and served as a goal keeper (target) for the footballers. We did some art projects and took portraits of each child for their sponsors back home.

After watching the US lose a heart breaker to Ghana in the loving company of a few hundred Ghana* fans at Gypsy (of course), we took everyone to Kitengela Glass, one of our favorite stops here.

The artisans at Kitengela make amazing glassware and artwork from all recycled Kenyan products. We may or may not have made a large purchase while we were there. It may or may not be being custom made for us. And it may or may not be shipped to the states when it is complete. It may or may not look like this:

I think we are all ready to slow down a bit and head for the coast. I know I am ready to be out of the smog and traffic of Nairobi for a while, though I do have to say it is much easier to take this year than last. I guess maybe I’m just a little more used to it than I was before.

But before we hop a flight to Malindi, we have one last day here in the city. After I send this post, we will visit Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya and depending on who is doing the estimating, the second-largest in Africa behind Soweto in South Africa.

The population density in Kibera is approximately 750,000 people per square mile. That breaks down to about 30 square feet per person. Stand in your bedroom and ponder that.

It is worth reading and learning more about slum culture and the politic and social failures that lead to the proliferation of slums. As with all issues that plague the third world, the slums are a massively complex problem that will take a significant cultural shift, a hell of a lot of money, and a ton of political wherewithal to repair.

After Kibera we will enjoy a small game drive in Nairobi National Park, and in the morning we fly to the coast. Time to start the anti-Malaria medications!

*But before I cry too hard over the loss, I have to remind myself that it could be worse. Matthew had to watch England get absolutely crushed by Germany. Sorry England. But you looked even worse than the Yanks.

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