Jambo friends! This is Mark reporting from Bomet at 7:00 AM; 11:00 PM for people back in Minnesota!! There is an 8 hour difference and I am finally starting to get acquainted to the time change.
Traveling with the same people for 17 days is a challenge, and I have been waiting for some "Survivor" or "Expedition Africa" moments! Nobody has been kicked off the trip yet; although we have been having fun giving each other a hard time throughout this adventure. Everyone groans when I think of a game like 21 questions, and we all laugh when we are referred to as the Patty Hall Team. She has been called "Party Hall," "Petty Hall," by a few different community leaders and I called her "Pansy Hall" when she jumped three feet after an ant crawled on her foot while a community leader was thanking H20 For Life for our help with Waterlines!!
Val has been giving some great speeches, especially at the first two churches we visited yesterday. Her nuns would be proud as she explained our organization and referred to water as a "spriritual and physical necessity." The congregation and ministers were so grateful and they thanked Waterlines and H20. Singing beautiful songs and dancing were of course part of the program and it made me think about how big this "little thing" that Patty and Val started has blossomed into a worldwide initiative.
I have been showing pictures of my family to people that we meet as an icebreaker since not many people speak English and most of these communities don't even speak Swahili. They are amazed to see pictures of snow and my kids playing hockey. But their favorite picture is one of my extended family with grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. It truly shows how important family is to their wonderful culture.
After visiting two congregrations, we traveled to a spring tank where a community receives their local water. It is a great set up where pipes are set up at a tank at a spring that carries the water down a hill at least 300 feet to a huge water tank where it is filtered. There were two spigots and we watched kids fill up buckets and carry the heavy containers up a hill. What a great dry-land exercise for my football and hockey players! Of course these kids don't complain and they do this six times a day!! I gave it a try and put a strap over my head and had the container rest on my back. It is much easier than carrying it, but it is still a great workout for the legs since we walk straight up a hill.
A few tidbits: Steve is the Scrabble Champion of last night (I did win one game), mosquitoes are much faster in Africa than they are in Minnesota (I had one in my net last night that I couldn't kill - hopefully malaria doesn't set in), we found out by looking in a dictionary at a local library that a bird is indeed an animal (we had heated discussion during a 21 question game that a bird is indeed an animal and not separate - Val didn't think so), and our driver Christopher can change a tire and fix the brake pads in 15 minutes - unbelievable!!
So, you can see - we are having a great time and maybe getting a little delirious!!
Talk to all of you soon.....