A wedding and an unsuccessful trip out to see wild elephants; as well as some plumbing and rainwater harvesting. Taking it easier on our 8th day in Kenya.
First there was some glue/welding of the old rainwater harvesting pipes, so good old fashioned plumbing. No more rainwater had gathered in the collection tanks as it didn’t rain last night.
Some of the young people who come through here don’t live at KACH, there is a technical college which teaches to official standards on the premises. Students from here put on a pretend wedding so that the catering students could practice mass catering. It was great fun and everyone was in a great mood, playing weddings.
People dressed in their finery as guests and the bride and groom really went for it, someone even played the part of a pastor for the occasion!.
The groom was picked up from town and his family party went to collect the bride from the hairdressers (there is a hairdressing school here at KACH). This is a very traditional part of the proceedings and there has to be agreement between the two mothers before the bride in her dress is allowed out. She was then transported in the van to the ‘church’ (actually the dining room) Everywhere was decked out with tinsel and balloons.
We all sat on either side of the room according to whether from the bride or groom’s families. There were bridesmaids and a best man and women.
To start, an assistant berated us for not looking happy enough, he got everyone to sing and dance to cheer us up!
The ‘pastor’ delivered the service with the aid of notes and every time there was a gap he praised and was joined by the congregation. More singing and dancing in our seats.
Eventually, the ‘marriage’ was complete and we all went outside to where there was the cake ceremony and the giving of presents. Due to the heat, this was punctuated by bangs, because the balloons kept exploding.
We ate the wedding food as well as cake and everyone danced, among much laughter.
Later we were given a proper introduction to the work of IPI/KACH by Enoch, who met Dr K (as most people here refer to Dr Karambu Ringera who founded the community home and who is it’s guide) while he was studying in US.
The work is highly holistic, ensuring that wherever possible the children who live at the Community Home maintain as much contact as possible with their birth families. Support is given to those families so that whenever possible children can return, if only for school holidays and Christmas, but sometimes, permanently.
Young people from the Community Home and wider community are supported through the technical college and for exceptional students (again from the Community Home and the wider community) there is the Scholars Scheme, which funds some young people who do exceptionally well through university. Joy is one of these scholars and is completing her degree at the University of Surrey, although right now, luckily for us, she is here.
Many of the children who live within the Community Home do exceptionally well at school, some gaining results previously believed to be impossible to achieve!
Outreach work is carried out in the local communities and teaching of the holistic methods used here is carried out in other communities throughout Kenya and further afield. This is part of the reason Dr K is currently touring US, taking the methods proven here, there.
Plans are afoot for replicating the system once this community is 90% sustainable. This March it was 55% sustainable, now, in October, it is 60%, so it won’t be long in coming!.
We finished the day by going out at dusk to try to see elephants in their natural habitat. We drove around and stood, peering out into the forest darkness to see them for around an hour. The place we picked was where they had broken through the fence on Sunday when they came onto the farmers’ lands and trampled crops – which is what we heard.
However, they did not oblige. It was pleasantly cool though.