Monday, May 15, 2017

Weekend in Eldoret and Kitale Part I: The Gorgeous Drive

LeRon has felt the urgent need to train branch and district clerks on how to budget.  He could see that branches were not "living within their means" and he felt that it was because they simply didn't know how to use the budget helps the church has for them on the internet.  District President Kogo, of the Eldoret District, invited us to go to Eldoret and Kitale and train the clerks.  It was a wonderful chance to drive through the beautiful Kenyan countryside and to see more of Kenya than just the city.

Tourists who come here on safari see amazing animals and interesting people (mainly of the Masai tribe, which is a very small tribe compared to others in Kenya) but they do not get to see the normal people living normal lives.  We are so privileged to be here and to be able to drive from one end of the mission to the other (well, sometimes we have to fly to the other because it's too far to drive) and to get a view of the common Kenyan doing common things.

We saw sheep and cattle grazing alongside the road and in the fields, with one or two or three herders sitting or lying close by keeping watch.  We saw donkeys being used as beasts of burden, pulling heavily loaded carts or carrying those burdens on their backs.  We saw baboons playing on the road and zebras grazing in the wild.  We saw women bent over from the waist, hoeing corn or potato fields with large heavy hoes.  We saw women cooking in their yards and children running free.  We saw people walking along the highway.  Where are they going? we wondered.  Sometimes it was groups of people; other times, it was just a single woman walking along.  We saw people visiting and laughing together. 

We saw towering evergreens and flat-topped acacia trees and cactus trees.  We saw flowering potato fields and tall corn fields.  Banana plants.  Vegetables.  Gorgeous green cropland.  Being farm people, we were thrilled!  The journey from Nairobi to Eldoret climbed in elevation from nearly 6000 feet to 9000 feet in places.  So interesting to see evergreens growing near the equator.  We crossed the equator as we approached Eldoret but didn't stop for a picture this time.

On the way, we stopped in Naivasha to take some pamphlets and Books of Mormon to the missionaries there -- Elder Call and Elder Odhiambo.  Great to see them again!

We've made part of this drive about five times now and each time, it looks a little different.  Sometimes it has been very green; sometimes it has been very brown.  Today it was green but very, very misty.  Clouds hung low over the Rift Valley.

When we were here in February, it was brown and not much was growing.  Now, with the coming of the Long Rains (which are going to be shorter than usual), it is greening up and you can see fields of crops.

Love this silhouette of the cactus trees.  They are not plants.  They are actual trees with thick bark.

Men and women (but mostly women) work in the fields.  This reminded me of my brother and sisters and I hoeing sugar beets each year on our farm near Taber, Alberta, Canada.  Only here they use heavy hoes and they bend over from the waist to dig out the persistent weeds.  If any woman's libber from the US ever came here and saw the heavy, physical labor that women perform here, they wouldn't be so anxious to be equal with men.

We stopped at Naivasha to take Elder Call and Elder Odhiambo some church literature.  This gorgeous bougainvillea plant is blooming near the missionaries' gate.

Elder Call and Elder Odhiambo live in a very colorful place!  Yesterday (Sunday, May 14), they phoned me and sang "Mother, I Love You" to me for Mother's Day.  It made me cry, it was so sweet of them.  What loving young men they are.  Their mothers would be proud of them.

Elder Odhiambo grew up in this area of Kenya but lived most of his life in Nairobi.  So he is on his home stomping ground but has never yet met up with anyone he knows.

Elder Call is showing me where he studies each day.  Missionaries study together and separately each day.  The Western missionaries often learn Swahili from their companions too.

As we left the missionary flat, we noticed this example of Kenyan construction.  It's been there for a long time.  Notice the wooden ladder.  They use whatever material is at hand.

In between the beautiful cropland, were wayside market places.

The markets are definitely colorful!

Here's another example of a small wayside market area.

And then the beautiful cropland.

People working in their fields.  Cows and sheep grazing.  Be sure to click to enlarge.

Two women in colorful dress just walking along the road.  Where are they going?
I love clouds.  We have beautiful clouds back home and there are beautiful clouds here in this green, green valley.  40 shades of Green -- like Ireland!

Cattle aren't fenced in here.  They graze wherever they can find feed.
I wish the camera could see what my eye can see.  If I was a better photographer and maybe with better equipment, you would be able to see the beauty that is here.  Just remember that I'm taking it through the truck window as we go whipping by at between 40 and 100 kph.  Not bad for those speeds.  LeRon has learned to drive like a Kenyan and we made the drive to Eldoret in 5 hours which is pretty good considering the traffic and the rough roads.

Kenyans are often sitting on the roadside trying to sell their produce.

Can you see the beauty?


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