Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Victoria's and Evelynn's watertanks

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw Victoria's and Evelynn's water tank yesterday. We were on Margaret Muriuki's farm where we were assessing the practical skills of the applicants for the horticulturist position. She has one of the PHFAMS greenhouses which has tomatoes which have just started production.

Inflation in Kenya

Inflation in Kenya is reaching 19%, according to Jennifer Murogocho and Shaad Olingo.
They tell me about the price of petrol which has gone up from 85 shillings per litre at the beginning of the year to 125 shillings per litre today. The price of a tank of cooking gas has gone from 2150 to 3900 shillings.
The price of cooking fat has gone from 120 to 260 shillings.
The price of 2 kg of sugar has gone 160 to 375 shillings for a 2 kg packet.
Shaad says everything has gone up- especially the prices of spare parts for vehicles. He says that most people just drive their vehicles when they have to.
But farmers can still expect prices to go down when their crops are harvested. All of Kenya has received a lot of rain and everyone expects a good harvest.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Getting stuck on the way back from Kamuketha School

Shaad Olingo and I visited the Kamuketha Primary School yesterday.
The road was difficult to drive over because of the damages from the rain during the past month.
After we had a good visit with the head teacher at the school, the skies started to darken and Shaad said we should get going back to the Mbaaria Market because he expected rain.
We no sooner got into the Gypsy than it started to rain hard.
We got about 500 metres for the school when we stopped- and Shaad tried to get to the upper side of a low spot on the road. However the Gypsy couldn’t make it to the upper side. We tried many times to get out- until we were crossways on the road with the rear tires in the low trench.
Meanwhile it was raining harder and harder and Shaad conceded that we were stuck.
Shaad decided to telephone for help- but there was no network on Shaad’s telephone- and I searched in my bag for my Kenyan phone. It wasn’t there- but my Canadian phone was in a zippered pocket where I had put it away.
In desperation I tried to call Jennifer on my Canadian phone- which showed two bars of network. It worked- and her voice was very clear. We asked her to call the Kamuketha head teacher so he could help us. He then called us back and promised to help.
The head teacher came with more than a dozen boys and a Kenyan hand plaited rope. They hooked the rope under the bumper and pulled the car out of the trench up to the high ground. (The Gypsy is quite light).
The boys escorted us until it was obvious to them that we would not get stuck again. The head teacher got into the back of the Gypsy and travelled with us to Kinyinjere. He helped again when we encountered an ox cart which was stuck- the wheels on one side were in a trench and his oxen would not pull together to get it out.
This was not nearly as traumatic as when Karl Winter and I got stuck in this area during the El Ninya rains. Then there was a foot of water on the road and you could not see the trenches.
But it made for an interesting safari.