Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rural Africa

Another meaningful day traveling with the CMMB BOD in Kenya. We flew to Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria. It's a one horse airport, but two airlines come in twice a day and our small jet was full. We traveled northwest about 30-miles to an area known as Aluor.
There is a Catholic mission hospital there that is in the middle of what seems to be nowhere.

There are a few moderately paved roads, but most are rutted dirt with deep pot holes. At times our vehicle had to creep over imbedded stones and washed out gullies. The dirt has a tan orange color to it and it is actually pleasant to the eye. It had rained the day before so dust was not a problem.

All along the road-paths people walked. Woman and young girls balanced goods, pots and water jugs on their heads. Babies were nestled into a sling on their backs. Sometimes large carts, piled high with sugar cane, charcoal, bananas, potatoes and what have you were pulled and pushed by two people. One in the front pulling and another in the back pushing. Bicycles were used as carts too. Stuff would be stacked high on the bike as the rider walked along side wheeling the contraption. An occasional motor scooter would weave in and out and over the ruts and bumps.

Livestock of cows, goats, donkeys were often herded along the road heading to some unknown place, unknown to me anyway.

The terrain is one of rolling hills with some small mountains. Lush valleys are sprinkled with grass huts, tin shacks and a few packed mud and stick buildings.

Every walker, from the elderly to little uniformed school children, would step to the side and stare at this apparition creeping by. A van loaded mostly with white faces is an unusual sight in this rural area.

Ten years ago in this area 40 percent of the population was HIV positive with little hope of survival. There are many reasons why such a large percentage were AIDS infected. Superstition, transient fishermen along the shore of Lake Victoria, lack of education, and little medicine all played a part. Today because of the help of dedicated volunteers and organizations like CMMB, the percentage of HIV positive people is down to 18 percent.

We then headed, over similar roads to Maseno and another rural hospital. We did pass President Obama's family homestead in Kogello. His grandmother Sarah still lives there. There were a few signs proclaiming location.

I am still processing my visit to the slums of Mathare Valley. That post will have to wait until I return home. I have pictures of most of what I write about and will include them in future blogposts.

1 comment:

LAS said...

What you have seen in person is so much more affective to one's senses than watching it on TV. I have seen travel shows that depict the life people live in these areas, but TV only brings you a small glimpse by way of a picture. You can't get the real feel of what it is being there, i.e., the sounds, smells, etc.

It is heart rendering as I have said before to see people living in conditions such as this, but unfortunate we can't fix everything. The work that all missionaries do and the travel shows can bring some assistance to them. It is great to hear about the work CMMB has done and I will support it in any way I can.

Thanks again for telling us all about it and can't wait to see your pictures and hear more about the trip.


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