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The Season for Thanks


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If you have read my older blog, Writing a Book–The Winding Path, in which I write more about Jackson and the Maasai in general, you have read this post but I think it’s worth repeating at this holiday season and will give you a taste of life in Kenya.

Last summer Jackson had computer problems and traveled to Nairobi for repairs at Elite Apple Centre.  Paying for the repairs was an issue, as you’ll see, but Hellen Mutungi, whose photo is at bottom of post and who has been our computer angel over the past several years, stepped in to make the first donation to the well.  In this holiday season I want to thank her for her help and post this little story to show the kindness of people like Hellen, for whom we are so thankful at this time of year.

Here is the story, as told by Jackson:

TRIP TO NAIROBI. 26th July 2010.
A day that I have been waiting for has finally come. In the evening before the morning of travelling, I informed the public bus driver to pick me up from my village.

I woke up early at 4:00 a.m. to prepare for the journey. It was a chilly morning. Wife Susan prepared some hot tea for me as a warm up stimulant. Before I finished taking my tea, the bus was already at our house doorsteps. I snatched my backpack and jumped into the bus. I sat up front since I was the first customer of the bus for that day.

The bus picked up a few more people in the village and a good number at the local shopping centre, Aitong Trading Centre. It was about 6:00 a.m. The journey to Narok now starts! The bus was already full, hence no more stops on the way.

The route from the Mara to Narok is very familiar to me. I therefore need not to peep through the window much.

We arrived Narok at around 8:30a.m. After stepping down from the bus, I entered a barbershop to keep my hair neat and dust free. As usual, Spear Hotel is where I take my breakfast while I am at Narok. I had some coffee, cake and eggs for breakfast.  The bus stage (stop) to NAIROBI is just next to Spear Hotel. Without wasting time, I booked my seat in the bus booking office. We had to wait for 20 minutes for the bus to get full. And now the trip to the city began.

Mid-way between Narok and Nairobi is the Great Rift Valley. Flocks of sheep, goats and cattle graze on the valley floor beside plantations of maize and wheat.

Twenty miles from the city centre is the start of a four-lane highway. As one approaches, traffic gradually increases. At some point, the bus is slower than walking on foot.  Five miles from Nairobi City centre, I stepped out of the bus. I had to walk to Elite Apple Centre. Having called Hellen of Elite Computers, she already knew that I was on the way.

Now 1:30 p.m. It was fun and a memorable moment to meet Hellen. Hellen had a quick look at my computer. “Your computer needs a software update,” Hellen said. Allan is the person concerned with computer service at Elite Centre. Hellen therefore advised me to take my computer to Allan for a check up.

After checking the MacBook, Allan said that he needed to update most of the software. “Update of the modern software is not covered by the three year warranty ending 14th August, 2010”, Allan said. “You therefore have to pay Ksh 4060 for the Macbook service.” (4,060 Kenya shillings = about US $50)

I left my MacBook to be serviced for one and half days. I had to figure out how to get the money wired from the Mara, otherwise I can’t collect the MacBook. I e-mailed my loving Mum Mary about my being in Nairobi and about the computer service fee but Kenya law doesn’t allow her, in US, to pay by phone with a credit card. Hellen was happy to pay this fee as her contribution to our proposed Well project at Oltorotua village in the Mara.

I spent the night in the city. The night was cool but noisy with traffic on the streets. However, I had a good sleep till morning. I woke up early the following day. I took a shower and went downstairs for a city breakfast.

At about 12:00 p.m., the Apple engineer gave me a call. He had done all the updates for the computer. I took the public transport bus to Elite Apple Centre to meet him. To confirm that his work was okay, I had to send a few emails for verifications. OKAY!!! I found that all is well. I could send and receive mails. BACK ON LINE!!!

My mind started to recall the Mara. I gave Hellen the last hug. I had to take a 1 km (.62 mile) walk to get to the bus stop. Finally, I boarded the bus heading to Masai Mara via Narok.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL AND THANKS FOR THE KINDNESSES OF PEOPLE LIKE HELLEN AND DAN ODERO, WHO CHANGED HIS SCHEDULE TO DO THE SURVEY.  I know Hellen, Dan, Judy, Steve (more about them at a later date) and people like you will help the Oltorotua well become a reality during the next year.

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