Tired but content
Tired but content – this pretty much sums up our journey to Nairobi and Matunda. We were busy with visits to the provincial and district government offices for the necessary permissions and to pay taxes on the ground and registration. We also made a surprise visit to the chief of the area and two chairmen of the elders in the neighborhood. They summoned us to appear when they were told that we didn’t have permission to dig a small trench to mark our land instead of building a fence, which would soon be replaced once we build.
It seems they also have the power to confiscate land that has not been built on and they used it on us. When they found out we only recently purchased the land, and were there to help the local children and the neighborhood, we ended up as friends. And got our land back!
In a land where corruption is a way of life, we are learning to get things done without these extra “services”. When we left the chief, he did ask that we come and visit him next trip, and with a smile asked if we would bring him a pair of shoes.
We went to our destinations in small busses (20-40 cents, depending on the distance), through the heat (around 85 degrees), and the dust (it was very dry). We stayed in a small apartment not far from Matunda and did not feel threatened on foot or in the bus at any time. In fact, everyone was very friendly called out regularly “Mzungu” (white person) or “How are you” when we walked by. Smiles all around.
We had meetings with three architects for the new building and finally chose someone who works at a large office in the rich part of the city. He has a lot of experience, also with large buildings, so this should one not be a problem! He is also is willing to donate his services, which we are very happy about.
Now comes the part about the money we need to build the new building for our kids. Please remember us with donations, for alternative birthday presents, instead of sending Christmas cards, etc.
We also had plenty to do with meetings with Fredd and Patricia (the leaders of Matunda), with plans for better communication and ideas for the (near) future. Further points were daily life at Matunda, the improvement of the kids – also those now in school, the new building and discussions on business opportunities to increase their financial independence and involve the local community. At the moment we have a flourishing business in old cell phones and laptop computers brought from The Netherlands. All profits go to the center.
On returning home we felt humbled by how good off we are here, and all the people in this world who are not as privileged. To continue this project and achieve what we want to achieve for the kids of Matunda and those in the neighborhood, we need your help. When you see the smiles on the faces of these kids, you know why we do it!
Charles and Marianne Pfeifle