In the West when we think of Africa we think “Slow”. We imagine lions lazing under the acai trees, Herders standing on the hilltop watching their cattle, or maybe we think of people sitting in the shade hiding from the brutal African sun. But, standing right before me, was the proof that “Slow” was definitely not the right word for Africa.
Just a couple of weeks ago I woke up to an amazing video shot by Erick Aluru, our team member on the ground here in Kenya. People were dancing and cheering and right in the middle was one of the local chiefs dressed up in full uniform putting two stones one on top of the other. It was the ground breaking ceremony!
The Kamrongo Kiosk was finally going from a grand plan to reality!
And Now as I stepped off the road in the cool afternoon air, I was coming up on that same spot. I was so excited to catch my first glimpse of the project that so many people had come together to make possible!
I’m not sure what I expected when Erick asked if I wanted to go see the Kiosk, but it certainly wasn’t a fully built building I was looking at. The community had to have been working non-stop!
Sure enough as I started chatting with Mama Maria, who had donated the land for the kiosk, she told me how the workers had only stopped when they had to wait for the cement to set. And she had been out there everyday checking on the progress of the kiosk and making sure that everything was done right!
Even as we were inspecting the progress the work never stopped. Plaster was being added, and I was told that by this evening the doors and window shutters, made by a local artisan, would be installed.
After checking one last time that the workers were going full tilt, Mama Maria took me back to her house to meet her grandson George Okello. As I walked into her living room I was greeted with two smells hot chai, and corn! (dry not cooked sadly).
16 years old, George was on a break from school and here he was with a basket of corn between his feet popping off the kernels from each cob by hand. Filling a second basket bigger than a gumbo pot at a pace I couldn’t believe. As I joined him on the floor and started to lend a hand I couldnt help but laugh. For every corn cob I stripped bare he was finishing three!
And boy was that corn rough on the hands! By the time I had finished my chai and made sure my new set of blisters wouldn’t cause me too much trouble, George had cleared his first basket and was on to the next. Packing up my things I said my good byes to Mama Maria, and jogged back out to the road to catch the Matatu roaring down the road back to Kisumu.
Africa may be many things…but “Slow” is not one of them.
I can’t wait to see the Kamrongo Water Kiosk take shape before my eyes, and I look forward to sharing every minute of it with you!
To find out more about the Kamrongo Kiosk go HERE and find out what happens #Wherewomenare!
Or visit our website at www.mamamaji.org