Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pole, Pole

"Pole, pole" -- pronounced "poly-poly," it means "slowly, slowly" -- we laughed and cried, as our driver Kenneth negotiated winding roads this morning. The potholes between here and Esihoola are only slightly less death-defying than those between here and Kisumu. The difference is that ambitious kids who are unable to pay for secondary school put their shovels and their shoulders to the task. They twist makeshift flags into the middle of the highway to indicate "road construction ahead," dig up the red roadside earth and fill as many holes as possible on a given day. Grateful drivers reward their labors by reaching out car windows to contribute much-needed and much-appreciated coins. Meanwhile, along a different stretch of road, the kids' older counterparts cut and bake bricks from the same ochre clay, or else they sit and break large roadside rocks into stone chips for potential sale. It is all backbreaking labor for meager potential income.

Nancy and Liz invited me to join them and three Maseno mamas/grandmas to travel to the weekly Mothers' Union meeting today. Afterward, we stopped for supplies in Luanda in the Maseno Missions' one (mostly) functioning vehicle. The women's gathering itself was, as always, a remarkable combination of business meeting, prayer and powerful support group. Discussion today focused on their own elections in January, with the explanation that the Mothers' Union officers would change -- not because of dissatisfaction with anyone's work, but because it is important to develop leadership skills in every woman "to make ours a strong country of strong women."


Anonymous said...

Dear Dianne,

I can't put in words how great it is to have you share your experiences with us. The stories are humorous,sad and uplifting all at once. In a season that we should be preparing for Christs birth your experiences nudge my conscience daily to remember how we all should treat our fellow Brothers and Sisters.

I wanted to let you know that St Francis's Church in Holden has been great. Very welcoming, hands on in the community work and lots of kids (a livley family service for sure)We can't replace St Andrews but I sensed that we might have found a good copy.

We miss you

Tom & Dianne

Julie said...

Dear Dee,
We're thinking of you every day. Your frequent posts give Mom much comfort because she knows you are well. They are fascinating reading and they touch us in such a personal way. Today we are having a big snowstorm here. 10" expected and it looks as though the forecasters may be right for a change. The birds are frantic at the feeder but most of the world slows down in the quiet snowfall. Families use cell phones to check on each other's whereabouts and people are kinder to one another in general. Thank you for sharing your experience in Kenya.
Love, Julie

Anonymous said...


We miss you, too, and speak of you daily. Thank you for bringing real faces and voices and stories to us over here - your words are a gift to us and to the people with whom you work and for whom you provide care. You are giving all of us so much more than the statistics that are prevalent in the media. You are inspiring us to give - in whatever ways we can. I've shared your blog with friends - as I'm sure others have - so your words are reaching more than you know.

Yes, to echo Julie's words, the forecasters are right today - we're getting tons of snow as I write! And yes, people are kinder to each other in times like usual 25 minute commute today took almost two-and-a-half hours, and everone along the way seemed careful and patient. The snow is beautiful.

We went to Huck's winter concert last night, which was really lovely - Nell had a ball, dancing around like a wild child. Speaking of dancing, Nell has begun a dance class, and she couldn't be more thrilled.

We'll get our tree this weekend and decorate it while Huck is with us this week. We've begun some Christmas preparations, and are feeling busy - but also enjoying the beauty of the season, the lights, the music.

My love and prayers are with you and the many people whose lives you are touching/being touched by. Love from all of us, Jen and the fam