Bupoto, (actually, Matuwa) is a village, inside a Parish, inside a District, within a Sub-County, within a County. I think I have the order jumbled, but that’s generally how it works. We are within walking distance to Kenya, yet most that live here have never seen it. The village sits nestled into a rock wall that appears impassable and many of the townies will never test their pipes on the climb. For the strong, willing, or unknowing, along with the very poor farmers that inhabit these hills, the rewards of the hike come in the form of a view that brings tears to your eyes.
The first day I spent lying in bed in some purgatory between what I thought was malaria, and exhaustion from running the mountains for just over three miles. (I know, a bit dramatic) THREE MILES? Mr. Wanda, the founder of the NGO we are working for, warned us that the running is tough. There is about a quarter mile in front of our room where the hills roll and I would consider difficult but runnable. Then you hit the down. And more down. And it goes all the way down. I crawled back up chasing buzzing bees and school children. Anything to get me up the hill.
Things turned up after the nausea and chills went away. I jumped into a Community Health Educator (CHE) meeting and listened to the volunteers from the village banter about their compensation; something they call appreciations. Note: key word volunteers. Then the PEP meeting. That is the Patient Education Program. They were a bit less ornery but the meeting still lasted much longer than it should have. For some reason, the attendees of both meetings required a strict agenda that they insisted could, and would, be amended. I'm reminding myself...this is Africa.
The room is plain. And perfect. Jake and I have made it a home with a mosquito net over our door that I call the screen door. There are two twin beds fully equipped with nets, a unit of shelves, and a table for some fruit, glucose biscuits, and other snacks. There is a kerosene lamp that serves as our reading light in the evenings and our Petzl head lamps guide us to the pit latrine. Ah yes, pit latrines. I miss my toilet.
We are sharing great laughs and unforgettable smiles with both the villagers and the staff. Patrick, the Assistant Director of outreach for the clinic and Chief Village Moonshine Drinker has shown us the way to nearly everything the village has to offer. Right away he introduced us to the gathering to drink some sort of fermented sorghum and something else mixture that looks like Ovaltine that hasn’t been mixed up all the way. He hosts about 6-10 takers at a time with long tubes that make it look like some sort of Arabian tradition. No, I didn’t try it. Patrick has been said to be a brilliant teacher and motivator and he knows EVERYONE. Stay tuned for more on him.