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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
October 18, 2008 4:17 am
Published in: Uncategorized

The drive.  Just a reminder of why we fly.  I picked Mom up at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi on Sunday morning.  Wonder of wonders, the plane was a half hour early.  I thought we’d get home about 9 or 10. Nope.  Home by 7am.  No traffic on the roads so the trip back from Jomo took about 15 minutes.  Immigration and customes went very fast and the luggage was all there waiting to be picked up.  Wow.

So.  Tuesday morning, bright and early we left Nairobi for Gatab.  We stopped in Nanyuki and had lunch at the airport there, at Barneys.  Then on to Maralal.  We left the pavement behind at Nanyuki, and we got into Maralal about 5:30pm.  It was a relatively easy drive.  Mom has a different opinion though…she was ready to fly after the first couple hours.  Oh well.  We did see a herd of elephants about halfway to Maralal, and lots of zebra, some ostiches, and a number of antelope.

The car performed well…always a concern when you leave all spare parts and assistance behind with the pavement.  The right rear wheel developed a squeal the first day out, so I pulled it apart at Yarre in Maralal.  Turned out that one of the keepers for one of the parking brake shoes had fallen apart and the remaining parts of the keeper were squealing against the drum.  New keeper time. I removed the shoes from the right parking brake for the rest of the trip.

Yarre is fun.  It’s more properly “Yarre Camel Club.”  About 12 cabins and a restaurant.  Very nice, and about 2 miles outside of Maralal proper, so very quiet and secure.  Ken and Sue Black came by that evening and joined us for dinner. They’re AIM missionaries who’ve recently shifted to Maralal to work with the Samburu in the area.  It was a fun evening.

Wednesday we made the rest of the trip, up the Maralal mountains and down the escarpment into Oparoi.  Going down the escarpment we met with a land rover with a flat. I tried to assist but the tire was too far gone to just air up.  One of the wheel studs had come free and we couldn’t get that lug nut off to remove the tire.  I’ll have to start carrying a cold chisel and hacksaw.  Anyway…the rest of the trip was without a problem.  We stopped in Kurungu to say ‘hi’ to the Maples and Middletons, and then finished up the trip to Gatab.

About 275 miles, about 6-8 hours in the US, two days here.  Or a two hour ride in the airplane.

October 11, 2008 1:37 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

I filled in for another pilot the other day, Frank Toews came down sick, so I got to fly the RVA kids (RVA is AIM’s boarding school, elementary and high school) out to Daba, along with their Parents (the Scheenstra family).  A good flight.  Also. woo-hooo! I got to file IFR to get out of Nairobi, and to get back in. Yay!  No more dodging clouds!  I passed my IFR checkride with Capt Nguma on Thursday.

Anyway…the flight was routine.  Daba is about 125 nm east of Nairobi.  It was interesting, when we landed, to listen to the kids greet the locals, in the local language.  Humbling too. We’re still struggling away with swahili, and these three kids were rattling off the local language just as well as the locals (I forget the name of the tribe…Orma, I think, but I’m not sure).  I stayed for a cup of tea, and talked with the missionaries and the local wazee (old men) for a bit, then flew back.

October 11, 2008 1:18 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

We went to see Wycliffe and Selene in their new house the other day.  Wycliffe has been after us to go see the house now that they’ve moved.  It’s bigger than their old house…there’s room in it for a couch and 2 chairs, and a little space for cooking.  The house is rough timber framing holding up mabati (corrugated sheet metal).  They have electricity, and there’s water nearby, and long drop toilets and bath facilities.  They are very pleased to be in the new place.
School is going well for Selene, though they’re chafing over the expenses the school didn’t warn them about: all the supplies and the need to get 20 people to come in for each procedure so she can learn how to do nails or hair or whatever.

Brian, their son, though is another matter.  He’s been removed from the pre-school he was in.  We’re working with another missionary family, the Browns (actually they’re doing most of the work, since we can’t really do it from Gatab) to get Brian assessed by doctors. We suspect at least a learning disability, if not some mental retardation.  He’s getting his hearing checked on Wednesday, beyond that, we’ll see.  We’d suspected something was not right with Brian the first time we met the whole family.  It’s good they’re finally getting some real help for him.  Wycliffe has been a faithful worker for a number of AIM families for some time.  We need to take care of our own.

October 4, 2008 5:20 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Here’s a couple pictures of the dam that Temple is building at Lasipis, near Ngurunit. 

The first picture shows a good overview of the site.  The dam wall is going where the men are standing, arcing around the top of the natural wall there, about 105 feet long, and about 4 feet high at the highest.  At the far end, another wall is being built, as a screen against dirt and rock getting into the pool, but with a spill-way to allow water from the southern catchment area to fill the pool.

The second picture is Temple Knowles on the right and Jim Teasdale on the left. I flew Jim over to Ngurunit for the day to consult with Temple on aspects of the project. Right there he’s talking about fencing the whole area around the pool, particularly the upper catchment area to keep kids from thinking they can jump into the pool.  At the top right of the picture you’ll see a mountain with sheer sides and a rounded top. Ngurunit is just to the left of that mountain, about 15 miles away.

And the third picture:  I got stuck in the sand at Ngurunit that day as we were leaving.  We dug out, and then pulled the airplane onto firmer ground, and off we went.  That’s Jade Teasdale there inspecting the problem, and in the background, Temple and crew charging to the rescue, huge dust cloud behind.

October 3, 2008 3:38 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

We drove down to Nairobi the last two days (Wed. and Thurs.).  It was a good trip. We drove the first day to Ngurunit and stayed the night with the Knowles (Temple and Beth, and 4 of their 7 kids).  Temple is building a dam to extend a natural rainwater catchment near Lasipis.  When complete it will go from holding a couple hundred thousand liters of dirty water to around a million liters of clean water.  He sent his kids out Wed. evening to camp at the worksite (it’s an hour+ drive out into the desert from Ngurunit) and get things ready for a concrete pour the next day.  He’s in a time crunch…the rains are due to begin any day now.

Alex was invited along, and went, and camped out in the desert with the Knowles kids. When we picked him up in the morning his first question was “Got any water?” He’d gone through the gallon we’d sent him out there with.  He had a great time and helped with the work in the morning.  Susan and I enjoyed our time with the Knowles, as well.  Samantha and Beth had a great time playing with their youngest two daughters, Mallory and Matty (14 and 9 respectively).  Great kids.

However, Temple’s description of the road conditions leaves a bit to be desired for accuracy.  “The road from Laisamis to Isiolo is fine. Just a bit of corrugations.”  A bit?!?!  I thought we’d shake the truck apart.  Good grief! I’ve never been on a worse road in my life, and that includes roads here in Kenya and all over the Australian outback.

Despite a horrendous road, though, we made it to Nairobi. Just in time to get caught in rush hour traffic brought to a complete standstill by President Kibaki going somewhere.  His motorcade shut traffic down completely for about an hour.  We were tired when we got to the house, but no troubles.  The car did give us one scare.  We heard a thump thump thump thump at one point shortly after we got onto the pavement.  Stopped, looked all around. Nothing. Underneath. Nothing. No, wait…oil… differential oil from the front diff, and the diff is hot. Hmmm.  Nothing obviously broken though.  Start off again, up to speed, thump thump thump thump.  Susan said. “I think it’s up.” So we open the sunroof cover.  Ah-hah! THe spare tire cover for the tire on the roof rack is flapping in the wind.  I snugged it down, no more noise.  The diff oil is the result of all the dust we were plowing through between Ngurunit and Laisamis.  The breather tube plugged with dust, and eventually the diff heat up enough to create enough pressure to blow the dust out.  And a bit of diff oil as well.  Thus the mess.  I’m getting the hangar maintenance shop to change the diff oil on Monday, and do all the belts for the car as well.

So. here we are in Nairobi.  We’ll keep you posted.