Monday June 29, 2020
People in Kenya await July 6th, the day the current restrictions because of the corona-virus will expire, and President Kenyatta will address on this topic once again. Expectations have been high in the hope of some change, especially the opening of houses of worship and international travel. Plans are being laid for the anticipated opening of schools in September. In areas of life, people have “voted with their feet,” that is, social distancing has not been observed and many people have stopped wearing masks in public in the villages and rural areas. (It must be said that social distancing is very difficult in this country with its population density and social customs.)
I continue to celebrate daily Mass with the six sisters who live in the convent next door. Our Mission Saturdays are held with one member of each family coming to receive the allotment of maize and the monthly stipend; I am anxious for the day when we will be able to have all the orphans attend Mission Saturdays and hand out the academic awards of chickens and goats obtained by primary and secondary students with very good grades.
These past weeks many orphans returned applications for either a house or a heifer. In fact, we received 30 heifer and 23 housing applications. We have been going to the places where these orphans live to do our evaluation. These trips take us up and down mountains, with the vehicle or on foot (when walking, I have the habit of counting the number of steps we take, one visit had us trod 343 steps down and then back up a very steep, wet slope); we travel rutted roads full of potholes that are made more challenging when it rains; and we have made our way to the edges of the parish boundaries. Most importantly, our visits give me an opportunity to see the places where our orphans actually live and meet members of their extended family. We are welcomed with joy into these homesteads, and children are eager to see ‘the Mzungu’ (the ‘white man’ who is a priest). Unfortunately, on these trips I have forgotten to bring my camera and take pictures.
Last week, I recorded an overnight low of 12.5°C (54°F), the coolest temperature observed since I started keeping track nearly two years ago. I know this pales in comparison to December 1983 when the temperature in North Dakota hovered around -40°C (-40°F) for nearly two weeks. In this frigid weather I traveled home from college, a trip of 600 miles. But, here in Kenya, 12.5°C is a cold temperature; many people say, “Kuna baridi sana” (There is much cold). In the month of June, I have recorded 9.85” of rain.
Bird of Paradise blooming in the backyard.