Saturday, June 12, 2010

So, This is What Hell Feels Like...

They said it's not a matter of if I'll get sick, it's a matter of how often and how severe. Well, I had my first experience. (Note from Lacee: I'll just put the whole email in here so Dal can describe it)

I woke up Wednesday morning and it felt like someone had started a fire in my throat. I could barely even swallow anything without feeling like I was going to die. I pretty much just spent all day Wednesday in bed with a gnarly fever and going from super hot to super cold. Then Wednesday night I started dry heaving because the only thing I was pretty much putting in my mouth was water, so I had nothing to throw up. All Wednesday night I honestly thought I was in the seventh circle of hell, my whole body felt like it was just seconds from shutting down completely.

Then Anthony called me Thursday morning to check up on how I was feeling and I said, “dude get me to a hospital”. So Buffalo knew this guy who works for the sheriff of all of Kinango district and he has a car that can avoid traffic completely by driving on the shoulder of the road and no one can stop him cause it is a government car. So this dude comes and picks me up and Buffalo and Chief Tuku road with me.

The traffic was soooo bad because it had been raining all the night before so this dude just starts four wheeling through the shoulder like it’s not even a problem. The shoulder is basically just like dirt road and potholes everywhere, so I’m just getting tossed all around inside this car, dry heaving like every twenty minutes. We finally got to Mombasa like an hour and a half later and they take me straight to the emergency room which I don’t know why because it wasn’t an emergency, but I guess since I’m white or something. It is a way nice hospital too, I thought for a minute I was back in the US.

So they started taking my blood pressure and all this crap and then this Arab looking guy came in and said he is my doctor and I’m like, “dude don’t stab me with a syringe or anything”. So he asks my symptoms and everything and I thought for sure I had malaria, even Anthony and Buffalo thought so too. But he said, no it can’t be malaria if you are taking your malaria medicine every day. So he checked out my throat and said he thinks that is the problem but he wants to be sure, so he wants to take a blood test.

All the sudden he just grabs my hand and jabs this needle into the top part and you know how I am with needles, I am out like a light. When I finally came to I had an IV hooked up to me and I was soaked with sweat. He came back and said that there is no malaria it’s just a bacterial infection in my throat. I was so stoked! I thought for sure it was malaria.

So he gave me a couple injections in my IV to stop the throwing up and stop the fever and a whole list of antibiotics we had to go buy from the hospital pharmacy. Luckily we were only there for a couple hours and Anthony thought for sure they would admit me. Then on the way back to KCC we stopped by the little shop Buffalo owns and he asked me if I wanted a sprite or something and I was like dude hook me up! That was the best thing I had ever tasted. So all in all yesterday the only thing I ate was a couple spoonfuls of beans and that sprite. I woke up today and I feel so much better than yesterday. I’m still not completely better, but there is a huge improvement for sure. I’m telling you this story only on one condition though, you can’t freak out! (mom) because I promise you everything is fine. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I get every hour from Chief Tuku, Buffalo, Anthony and Chakaya all making sure I am ok, it’s getting so annoying! Even Baba Chengo came to Mnyenzeni last night because he hasn’t seen us in Dzivani all week so he was worried, such a champ he is. So everything is totally cool now, I promise!

The Arrival of Mutuwa

The other day these two ladies came walking by and started talking to Anthony in Duruma so I had no idea what they were saying. So he turned to me and said these ladies have a monkey that they want to donate to the school what do you think. I told him heck yea get that monkey here right now. So we build a monkey cage behind the KCC with wood from the kitchen we tore down and the next day they brought my new sidekick. His name is Mutuwa and I'm so psyched! I've always dreamed of having a monkey. They said that he'll ride on my motorcycle but I'm not so sure about that. Right now I have to keep him on a leash all the time so he won't run off and he doesn't like it. We're getting used to each other, he bites me when he gets mad at me and I smack him when I get mad at him. It's gonna be fun to have a sidekick.

The Kitchen Construction at the KCC

Last year sometime a big storm destroyed the kitchen at the Koins Community Center. That's a big problem because they prepare food for and serve hundreds of students and adults here everyday. Since we are mostly done with the Austin Frampton school one of our new projects is to rebuild the kitchen. Since it's the rainy season we have to work hard and fast whenever the weather gives us a chance. Like the school, we started by digging the footings. Right after we got done digging it rained harder than I've ever seen so we spent a few hours getting the water out of the trenches.
Once we got all the water out we could pour the concrete and start to build the walls with the blocks we made. When I first got here I would wear my Vans to the construction site. I guess I've adopted their sense of work clothes now, "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem".

After we got the foundation done, it was time for the floor. We did it the same way as the school, we cover the whole area with big rocks, which we then pound into gravel with a sledge hammer. Once we've done that we pour cement over the whole thing, it mixes with the gravel and makes a super strong floor.

We have to take advantage of the breaks in the rain which means sometimes we work late into the night.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The School Is Almost Finished

So, we haven't been very good about keeping the posts up to date! But here is the progress of the Austin Frampton school. Once we finished with the bricks we put the timbers up for the roof.

While the guys were working on the trusses for the roof we kept working on plastering the walls. That's way fun because we just throw the cement on the wall and then smooth it out using trowels or boards. Some of the dudes are really skilled at it, they laugh at what a rookie I am.

Once the tin got here they started doing the roof. They are so protective of me they wouldn't let me get up there and work on the roof at all. That's cool because they are a lot faster at it than I would ever be.
So Malau and I kept working on the inside, plastering and painting the walls. We're not gonna completely finish painting because I want to save some for Austin to paint when he gets here in July. But it's starting to look way sweet!
Here's what it looks like from the outside with the roof on. It has two classrooms and I think it will house 80 to 100 kids. We still have some work to do on the outside, we're going to plaster the walls and paint it. We should be done in another week or so.
I know some of you are asking what I'm going to do when we finish the school. Don't worry, I still have a ton of work to do. We are going to build all the desks for the school. We are going to build a new kitchen for the KCC, the old one got destroyed in a storm last year, and we are going to start building some other schools in different villages. I will have plenty to do!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Progress of The Austin Frampton School

What's happening my brothas and sistas? We've been working hard here in the mother land getting some stuff done! The school is going up so fast it is killing me. Monday we finished one of the peaks where the roof will rest and then yesterday we finished the other two. Then today was fun, we started plastering the walls so you won’t see all the crappy cinderblocks and stuff. All you do is grab some concrete and throw it against the wall. Malau thinks he is such a stud when he tries to work with the actual concrete guys but really he just doesn’t know what he is doing and I die laughing every time. It is so funny when he gets excited or mad and tries to speak English cause he isn’t fluent enough to really know what he is saying so his mouth just opens way wide and he just goes “uhhhhh” and his eyes go all big and he can’t find any words and it kills me every time. Then sometimes he will talk to me in Duruma thinking I will respond and then he will just bust up laughing cause he forgets. We had some fun putting up the peaks on the school and then plastering the walls.
I can't believe how much more finished it looks when we get the plastering done. These concrete guys are really good and really fast. Madzo and I are just trying to keep up!

We finished some of the plastering early today, so baba Chengo and I cruised down to Ghandini to grab some coconuts and break in my new machete, which is way dope by the way. We got down there and I saw this coconut tree that I wanted to climb and so I asked him if I could climb it and he started saying no and listing all these reasons why I couldn't. I'm like "Dude, relax" and I started cruising up that thing and he was yelling at me the whole way, and I just laughed. I think he finally realized I wasn’t some white boy wuss who doesn’t know how to do anything cause he stopped yelling and started laughing haha. Then we grabbed a buncha coconuts and skinned them like we had been doing it for years and sat back against a banana tree and just killed it for an hour or so. I am honestly making a summer home in Ghandini, that forest is the most unreal place on this earth.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Kenyan Brothers - New Pictures

Several of you have asked for pictures of the people that I'm always talking about so here you go:

Anthony, the local head of Koins for Kenya. He is everybody's boss and when he talks they jump! He is the biggest stud in Kenya, he works his butt off and knows everything that is going on within 100 kilometers of here. He has me securely under his wing and it's his personal mission to make sure I get out of here alive.

This is Malau, he is so laid back and dope it is awesome. He's living with me in the other room in the hut. Notice the bunk beds, they are so if there are other Koins people in Dzivani they'll have a place to sleep. Malau is my companion and protector! I love the dude

This is Madzo, he's the foreman, supervisor, all around stud of the Austin Frampton school. He doesn't take any crap from anybody! He speaks about 5 words of English but when he talks to the crew they understand exactly what he is saying!This is Buffalo, the largest Kenyan I have ever seen. He is buttery and sweet and I love the guy! His daughter is way hot and Anthony always jokes with him that I need to take her out and it freaks Buffalo out. Anthony is going to give him a heart attack!
From the left, Mondero who is the head of the workshop in Mnyenzeni; me (in case you couldn't pick me out); Malau my roomie; Matano who is the tractor driver for Koins, he giggles everytime I see him, I get stoked just to be with him. The last two are two 19 year olds that are both married and have kids, I can't remember their names, but crazy that they are my age and married with kids!

This is the river we have to cross to get from Mnyenzeni to Dzivani. When it's not raining it's a dry road, when it rains you have to cross early or you don't cross at all. During the rainy season it becomes impassable for weeks at a time.

And one last picture, here's the progress of the Austin school, cinder block walls are going up. We're ahead of schedule! (Really there's no schedule I just like saying that!)