Kimilili!! - We’re here after all the planning, praying, and dreaming. We arrived in Kitale here early Saturday evening, on a somewhat rickety Dash 8 (37 passenger). OK, that was putting it mildly. It had a great paint job…everything else was pretty decrepit. But hey – we made it here. The countryside here is incredibly beautiful – rolling hills, lots of trees, such nice clean air after the pollution of Nairobi We were greeted enthusiastically by James and Victor (2 sons of Mary Bunyasi, Omwabini’s founder) and Christeena Nienhuis – a fellow Canadian who has been at Omwabini teaching for about month.
We met Mary and some more family members in Kitale, then off for the 45 minute or so drive to Kimilili. The road started out smooth enough, but became incredibly bumpy and pot hole ridden, resulting in some less than settled stomachs by arrival.
It was dark by the time we arrived – it is petty much is totally black here by 7:00 pm. We are actually staying in Mary’s house, which is a fine house provided by a US donor. There are 3 bedrooms for us, a bathroom, a large living room and a kitchen. Not that we need the kitchen – we are waited on like kings and queens. There is a couple of women (Redempta and Millicent) who bring us all our meals, do all our dishes, and I think are slightly offended that we cannot possibly eat all the food they bring us. This house is about a 5 minute walk from the Omwabini project.
This morning (at 8:15 am) we went to an English service of a small church in Kimilili – about a 10 minute walk away. Aside from the sound system being loud enough to break our eardrums, it was a fine service. There was a guest preacher (not that we’d have known) who talked of the freedom brought by forgiveness. According to Christeena it is a rare thing for an African sermon to actually have a point.
We then visited the Omwabini- home of 300 orphans. We learned today that this project is only 9 years old, and we are so impressed with the accomplishments that have been made. Just this January they opened their own school (our grades 1-8). They were finding it far too costly to provides fees for the children, it was far better to have their own school and pay the teachers Their student’s begin their day at 5:00 am with an hour of prayer and worship, then breakfast, then studies from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. There are about 3 breaks in this day. Pretty intense! The school is performing extremely well on government exams, which is attracting outside pupils whose parents can pay, so this helps in providing funds. Tomorrow we will visit some the community projects run by Omwabini – the orphanage is only a part of their work.
The orphans were so excited to see us – apparently they have been praying for us for a year. There are so many of them! They are divided into buildings according to age, and have a very organized schedule – there has to be! Education is a primary goal there, so the kids past grade 8 are funded to attend secondary school 4 miles away. Beyond that they are taught skills to try to ensure they will sustain themselves or they are funded to attend college or university. I hear the local lab tech is a “graduate” of Omwabini’s Project.
|Here's our WWII vintage plane (OK - slight exaggeration)|
|The Kitale airport. Yup, that's it, there ain't no more.|
Notice the armed guard leaning against the wall.
|Here's our morning friend. It's bigger than it looks here!|