We left on January 19 with an organization called Engineering Ministries International (EMI) http:// emiusa .org/ out of Colorado Springs. They are a non-denominational organization doing volunteer engineering and architectural projects in 3 rd world countries. Africa 2007 Dale and Sue Kanen
<ul><li>After a stop in London we flew on to Nairobi. There we spent about two weeks doing topographic survey work for an orphanage in Karen…about 10 miles outside of Nairobi…if you saw the movie “ Out of Africa”, we actually stayed in a cottage that was Karen’s husband’s hunting lodge and is now the guest house for the orphanage…which is run by the Anglican Church of Kenya. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Sue was a big help and ran the theadolite (transit) during the survey and did the water quality analysis. </li></ul>
<ul><li>It was hard to survey for the first 2 days because the kids were so friendly and curious. They had so much joy and yet their parents had either died of AIDS or starvation and they had few material possessions. We learned so much from those kids. </li></ul>
We shared the guest cottage with 12 other people and shared the one toilet which occasionally even flushed-yeah! But we didn’t complain because the orphans in the dorms did not have flush toilets or tissue. I asked the maintenance man for some nails so I could put survey controls in the ground. He came back an hour later with a few rusty nails he had straightened for me…that was my first real clue as to the depth of the poverty…later I learned that the staff at the orphanage had not been paid in a month.
It took us six days to survey the 12 acres. Then it was the architects’ turn to design the new school and dorms. The whole time we were always running out of water…it took me almost 2 weeks to figure out why. Five years ago Living Water International drilled a 300’ well for the orphanage and built a 30-foot tower with a 2,000-liter tank …the orphanage now has excellent water. Prior to that, they had to beg for water for the kids. 30’ water tower
But Kenya Power would cut back on electricity to rural areas during the day so the 3 phase electric pump could not run to refill the tank. In the meantime, the maintenance man, whose heart was in the right place, was selling water to tank trucks for $5/truck…to make money for the broke orphanage. He could fill 2 trucks before the tank was empty. And as I said, there was not enough power during the day to refill it so the kids were going to bed without washing and we had to wait until 11pm every night when the electricity was back to full power to flush and take showers. The maintenance man always acted like it was mystery that they were out of water and there was no electricity to refill the tower during the day.
I finally figured out that he did not like heights and did not want to climb the 30’ tower to check the volume in the water tank before selling to the trucks, so the last day I was there I drilled a hole in the bottom of the tank and ran a clear plastic hose up the side of the tank and floated a red ball in it. It was just a manometer. Now they can see the level from the ground and decide if they should sell. They have not been out of water since. What it took to find a drill and then a drill bit to make the ¾” hole in the tank is another 2 day saga.
Sue brought craft projects like key chains and beads for the kids. They were a big hit! She also brought rubber bands and hairclips, but many of the girls, due to malnutrition or lice problems, had little or very short hair. It made her realize that she was not even aware of needs, let alone how to meet the needs that we encountered.
<ul><li>Another orphanage, in downtown Nairobi, in the second largest slum in Africa, asked us engineers to look at a wall that was collapsing under the room where the littlest kids slept. </li></ul>You can stay at this hotel for about $5/month
<ul><li>One lone woman was taking care of 200 kids. She could fit 4 small kids on a mattress or 8 per bunk bed. </li></ul>
<ul><li>At mealtime I watched 3-year-old kids eating rice and beans next to an open sewer in the alley with a duck bathing in it. I can’t forget. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The good news is that the orphanage was given a small area on top of a land fill to keep some pigs and a cow so the kids would have milk. </li></ul>
I tried to fix things around the Anglican orphanage in my spare time but there were no tools. The only tool the maintenance man had was a broken claw hammer. So we went tool shopping in the afternoon. Many of the kids had no lights in their rooms because the 60-cent porcelain fixture was broken and the maintenance man did not touch electricity. So I replaced light fixtures and wired in a stove that had been given to the orphanage 2 years ago…so our cook at the cottage would have an oven to bake in. However, all of the meals for the kids were cooked over wood fires. I still don’t really know what their world is like .
<ul><li>Kenya seemed to have either extreme wealth or poverty and no middle class. The roads were in very bad shape. At the end of our project we went on a 7-hour very fast and bumpy drive to a safari in the Masai Mara…an extension of the Serengeti National Park. We spent 3 days looking at critters while they looked back at us….the only difference was that we had cameras…it was world class but Sue and I opted to spend the third day visiting a Masai village . </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Masai village put on a show for us for a small charge. The men and women danced and welcomed us and showed us what their life was like. The dung and stick houses form a circle and the animals are brought in at night to protect them from the lions. The youngest animals are brought into the huts. Traditionally these villages are moved every five years. </li></ul>
<ul><li>A man can have several wives each with her own hut. The men are good jumpers if you need a basket ball team! </li></ul>The young men still surround lions that attack their cows and jump toward the lion who tries to tell which warrior is weak and will give a opening in the circle. The young men brand circles on their forearms for each lion killed. They can only use spears, no firearms. It is not uncommon that a lion will kill several men in the process .
<ul><li>Masia women like to wash and carrying things. (Maybe?) </li></ul>
Next we flew from Nairobi to Burundi <ul><li>We spent 10 days working with Quakers who were building a trauma and healing treatment center for the survivors of the ethnic cleansing. They had a new ceasefire in January but there were still some UN troops in the capitol city of Bujumbura where we spent the first 2 days. We met a new crew of engineers and architects there. The Governor also gave us guards armed with AK 47’s </li></ul>
<ul><li>David Niyonzima is the Quaker pastor we worked with in Burundi. In 1993, soldiers had massacred his seminary class of students. They had arrived one afternoon while the students were on the front steps and just started shooting (the Tutsi Soldiers thought all the students were Hutus). About 25 were killed but David and a few others escaped the hail of bullets. Within a year he had forgiven some of the local towns people who had led the soldiers and he is applying the same process of forgiveness and healing throughout Burundi and Rwanda. http://www.thars.org/ (Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services). </li></ul>
<ul><li>As we drove into the mountains toward Gitega we noticed that the roads were in very good shape compared to Kenya but that there were fewer cars also. Kenya is poor but Burundi is much poorer. There were a lot more bicycles and they were in better shape. There was less garbage along the road as well. </li></ul>Cyclists would grab the back of a passing truck for a 6-mile tow up the steep mountain.
<ul><li>We drove for 2 hours into the heart of Burundi to Gitega where the Governor had provided 5 acres to build the healing center. On the way we passed a gas station that is now a shrine. Soldiers had herded 75 kids (ages 6-12) from a Quaker school into it and set it on fire…. shooting any who tried to escape. The bullet holes remain. Much of the violence had been against the younger population…in ethnic cleansing you need to get rid of the breeding population. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Sue had a fan club of women because she was running the theadolite and appeared to be in charge of the guys. In the surrounding fields women plowed the earth by hand. They do not show public signs of affection and one day, when Sue gave me a kiss (she couldn’t resist), the women all put down their hoes and cheered. </li></ul>The 5-acre site that Sue and I surveyed was in a beautiful pastoral setting. There was a UN refugee camp next to it. Again, lots of kids and adults gathered to watch .
THARS 5 acre project site UN Refugee Camp All fields hand plowed by women
<ul><li>We never saw any oxen or other animals used for work in Burundi (it was common in Kenya). They did however have lots of cows with big horns called Pharaoh’s cattle. </li></ul>Women frequently carry huge loads on their heads.
One day the city water stopped so they let the school kids out to collect more water.
<ul><li>Peggy, a Quaker psychologist, was working with David for 3 months. She has a practice in Salem, Oregon and she is trained in 911-trauma treatment and posttraumatic stress disorder. Peggy was shot at in 2003 but she was back again and headed for the Congo where they are still shooting. </li></ul>
<ul><li>There is already a treatment center for women with a listening room. It is run by a woman who was raped and who raised a child that was the result. In Burundi the police look the other way if a man is beating his wife…unless it is life threatening. If a woman is raped, her husband or family throws her into the street where she is even more defenseless and further victimized. The governor of the province provided us with armed guards with AK 47’s. You can buy one on the street for $10. Somebody is subsidizing the violence. </li></ul>
<ul><li>While surveying we got to take a break and tour a near-by orphanage that Youth-for-Christ was building from a design done by an EMI crew the previous year. Most of the construction was with the typical adobe. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Our last few days we got to spend at a resort on Lake Tanganyika with a real mattress and hot running water. We were almost back in civilization, although men with AK47’s guarded the resort’s beach. </li></ul>Hippo sighted…The EMI guys give chase!
<ul><li>We had time to visit the local market. We did not see any refrigeration for all the fish and meats being sold. The chickens for sale were alive. Sue did start to buy some socks but realized they had holes. They get bales of unwanted clothes from the US and resell them. You’ll see the wrong team’s name as the winner of the Super bowl on t-shirts. In America they print the shirts for both teams up ahead of the big bowl game and sell the loosing teams shirts overseas. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Randy, one of EMI’s full-time engineers, was able to find just what he needed at the market. </li></ul>
While in Africa, all of the places where we were housed had high walls with barbed wire or broken glass on top. English will get you by in Kenya but French is spoken in Burundi. The good news is that I had 3 years of HS French. The bad news is that I left behind a lot of confused people in Burundi who wish I had studied harder or gotten laryngitis.
<ul><li>and so much about courage and forgiveness from the people of Burundi. It was a privilege to have met and worked with such fine people. All of them were so gracious and so willing to share from what little they had. </li></ul>We learned so much about joy and peace from the orphans in Kenya,