What a lovely few days I have had reconnecting with friends and colleagues and enjoying being back in this vibrant place.
My trip to Safaricom on Saturday was an eye-opener. In the ten months we have been away they have really upped their game. We wrote a blog post a few years ago about the importance of mobile phones in Africa and all that we said then still stands.
Most people here now have access to a mobile phone.
But getting technical support used to be a nightmare with the queue from the shop extending down the road and it could take hours before you were seen.
So my visit on Saturday was a delight.
I left the glaring heat of the dry season sun and entered a cool, well laid out space. I was directed to a machine where I typed in my phone number and the nature of my problem and I was issued with a ticket. I then received a text message telling me how many people were before me and how many counters were open. I was invited to take a seat, watch the screens and listen out for when my number was called.
This gave me time to do some people watching. My favourite scenario was a traditional grandfather with his trendy young grandson. The old man was definitely analogue and digital boy had brought him in from the village to sort his phone out. Grandfather was having the time of his life watching everything in this high-tech place and the love between the two of them was palpable.
After a 30 minute wait my number was called and my phone was sorted out. The whole thing took just under an hour in total.
The phone has been in frequent use ever since as people call with enquiries about the wheelchair distribution. Revd. Evelyn (the director of CBR) has located 35 clients and we have been working together to collate the information and to do a detailed plan for next week. We are doing a split site distribution this year. The team of therapists from the UK will begin their work at the mission hospital in Kimilili (they too are a longstanding in-country partner of Wheels for the World).
They will then come on to us at CBR in Eldoret for their last two days.
We are so grateful to friends in the UK who have donated funds to help us cover the cost of the distribution this end. The staff at CBR continue to live sacrificially as they serve some of the most marginalised people in the North Rift but there really is no money to spare so these donations will make all the difference to this work.
On a personal note (despite having lived here for nearly four years….) I had forgotten how the altitude affects someone who is used to living at sea level- my limbs feel like lead and my eyes are very dry.
Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll be back to my normal energy levels.
Until next time