I can’t wait to go home…in Kanyawegi

“I can’t wait to go home,” I hear myself saying.

Don’t get me wrong, I do miss my family and friends in Vancouver and I’m completely bummed to miss  Batman and Spiderman, but “home” is now in Kanyawegi at least for the next couple more weeks.  (I’ve watched every single Spiderman on premier day.)

It’s been almost a month, with a week in Tanzania, since I’ve returned to Kanyawegi.  The first phase of our sac garden project is completed. All of the participating community health workers (CHW) have finished building their sacs and baseline surveys are done.  Now it’s the waiting game.  Let’s hope the tomatoes, onions, and kale grow.  Sac Gardens are exactly what they sound like they are.  They are gardens made from potato sacs which help keep the water from evaporating.  It’s a space saving way to grow vegetables.  Often kale and tomatoes are purchased and not grown at home.

Field visits took us to places that I had never been before.  We trodded through mud field, squeezed through maize farms, climbed up hills.  Maurice had told us that we needed proper shoes.  I figured flips flops would suffice since I had attempted to cross a small river with runners and that didn’t go so well even if you try to hop.   All I could think about were the different worms that were lurking in the waters.  Sally had told us about ones that eat through the gaps between your toes. ALWAYS wear shoes.

Well, the farmers wearing sneakers skipped and jumped from rock to rock, which redirected the streams and narrowly peered from the water.  I switched into my flip flops and Vic, whose flip flops broke in the battle of sticky mud, put plastic bags on both her feet.  We mimicked the farmer’s familiar  movement, stepping carefully on each rock balancing my camera and my backpack that was pulling me backwards.  First rock, done!  Left foot on the second rock…the mud seaped between my feet and the flip flops.

Next thing I knew, I was sinking.   My feet were dug inside the mud past my ankles.  The CHW farmers came out with no dirt on her sneakers.

“This is why we need rubber boots,” a young lady said me as she in her rubber boots tried to pull me out.  I dug through the mud searching for my sandals.  Who knew rainboots were needed in Kenya?

A local farmer, Barack, grew tomato, kale, and onion seedlings for the sac garden project. We were well under-budget

“Erokamano,” I thanked as the first farmer brought me water to clean my legs. I knew that water was difficult to get. It is disrespectful to have dirty legs and my refusal would be an insult to her generosity even though we knew very well that the return trip would be just as chaotic.

Maurice had said that the house was close. I had forgotten about the relativity of “close” and noted to myself to ask “how long does it take” instead.

She was beautiful in a bright blue Kenyan dress with complementary flowers and pointed shoulders paired with clean beige sneakers. Her face was gorgeously modern. Placing down her canvas bag which looked like something I would buy from Urban Outfitters, she carried little Leonard who had evidently ill. He was getting close to being marasmic.

We visited other houses via a different route and after eating fried fish, papaya and mangos as welcoming gifts, we headed home.

I guess we just aren’t skilled in our hopping and jumping through mud because I still ended with mud all over my calves and shins.

“You need lots of practice,” the farmer concluded.

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