Saturday, August 4, 2007

Nakuru, Kenya Day 4: Piave Maternity Ward

Even though my body had not slept for a long time it seemed as though I was not tired and last night was a good night of sleep regardless of the many times I woke up thinking it was morning. You can't blame my organism for wondering what went wrong with my internal clock... AA batteries needed maybe?

Breakfast like we know it, peanut butter on toasts and a banana which is twice the size of the ones I knew by the way! Getting outside the hut in the morning was an unbelievable experience for the view was breathtaking. Mountains on the horizon, a small peak at Lake Nakuru and the Rift Valley at it's best with clouds dancing sometimes letting sun rays through.

Time to all get in Roth's blue van. The volunteers named it Betsy for a reason unknown to me. If Betsy was a real person she'd be around 85 years old with a worn-down body yet a big smile on her face, capable of accomplishing what you think was impossible. She would smell a bit and not clean too often but with the help she'd give you, you'd forget all about it and still be thankful to have met her. Betsy!

To get to the Piave Maternity Ward construction site, Betsy and her driver Paul needed about 15 minutes negotiating a compact dirt road with severe craters in it. Along the road the scenery was a mix of local people happy to wave at us, young abandoned infant sleeping on the side of the road as well as a majestic landscape of valleys and fields.

Once arrived at the site, I saw what had been accomplished so far. The outside structure of the Ward was completely done along with the roof and the inside divisions. The volunteers got to work where they left the week before building the walls of the septic tank while the other 40 workers on site were busy with interior wall finishing and erecting a small building for the kitchen. Although I had been on many construction sites in my diversified career, never did I see one without electricity or any kind of machinery. A construction site where the only sounds were tools digging in the dirt, shovels mixing mortar and axes banging on rocks. I couldn't believe the pace at which these local workers were going, they make the hardest of tasks look effortless. I take it they were one of the main reason why this project was on schedule from the get go.

Lunch time well deserved for the crew and the volunteers. While local workers were fed on-site, the volunteers made their way to the Piave city center to a small cafe where the menu consits of beans and rice or eggs and bread, pick your winner! The cafe is a very small place with very few people in it. The walls were of a dust out white paint with clouds and at the end of the room was a small counter behind which the owner stood. "If you want something, you tell him otherwise he won't bother" Paul told me in his Irish accent. While some went for the eggs, I chose the most popular beans and rice which I have to admit was quite good. On the outside a crowd of young kids gathered as it is the custom when they know Mzungus are in town.

Lunch filled us up but it was harder for the volunteers to get to work after such a meal. Still they managed to pick up where they left and finish the day while I took some 1500 pictures of the site in all angles possible. At one point one of my two cameras started going a-wire, the shutter wouldn't stop regardless of if the camera was on and off or further more if I had my finger on he shutter release or not. I took the batteries out and figured she didn't want to be part of the trip anymore or my life if that's the case. I looked at the sky even though I'm not a believer and asked the clouds to make my second camera strong enough to last my through this trip so I can at least do what I came here to do. I promised a bunny-shaped cloud that I would pay it back for this favor.

Betsy rode us back and after a good shower, some picture downloading and some good food I went to bed trying desperately to hang my mosquito net from under Francis' bunk but I had to give up what I thought to be a very good plan to skip to plan B which was to just make it hold for the night.

It had yet to sink in just where I was and what I was doing there but I knew the next two weeks were going to bring me to places I've always wanted to visit and I was going to make the most of it.

Related Links
Nakuru, Kenya
Getting Ready for Kenya Part 1
Getting Ready for Kenya Part Deux
Africa Trip Day 1: Friday the 13th...!
Kenya, East Africa Day 2: By way of Air
Nakuru, Kenya Day3: Finally Got There!
Piave, Africa Day 3: Cookie Run

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