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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
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.

3 Responses to “Gatab – Ngurunit – Laisamis – Isiolo – Nairobi”

  1. Theodora Says:

    Cool water development project. The best class I ever took as an undergraduate was an engineering class about Third World water development. The teacher was someone who’d worked all over the world. He emphasized small scale, local, low maintenance, culturally sensitive, suitable for women, cheap, etc. It was fantastic. Then I went a few places, Africa, India, Ecuador, and saw that he was totally right. Big, expensive, mechanized stuff just does not work. Even if does works, it only works for the rich people and they tend to waste water like there’s no tomorrow. Says the gal who lives in California…where we also do the same thing. In my defense, I personally try not to, but I’m sure I’ve got a loooong way to go!

    Glad you made it to Nairobi safely!

  2. Jay Says:

    High-tech simply does not work here…the culture and education system give the people no understanding whatsoever of technology. it’s amazing, they can break -anything-, and do. So yes, simple is an absolute requirement.

  3. Mike Delorenzo Says:

    Hey Jay,
    were using your blog as an example in class. good job buddy!

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