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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 46 Kakamega June 23, 2011


Storm came as scheduled but the power did not go out yet.  Let’s see if I can make it through this without getting caught up in darkness.  This morning Hezron, Melissa, Bishop Moses, and Morris picked me up at the guest house to finish the process of opening up the micro-finance account for Freedom Ministries at the Co-op bank.  This account is for the micro-finance operation that Freedom Ministries set up a few months ago to assist their churches with small loans.  This is different from the NGO micro-finance account that we have yet to set up.  We are looking to have Freedom Ministries administer smaller loans within their own micro-finance operation instead of having the NGO based micro-finance operation operate such small loans.  These loans are in the 500 Ksh to maybe a few thousand shillings.  The money that had been donated to fund these few small projects we have started are going to be returned into this account so they can continue to provide small loans that might not fit into the NGO micro-finance model.

Today my C-notes were not accepted at the bank.  I went into the Co-op bank and gave the teller 7 Franklins and he would only accept 3 of them.  I left the states with what I thought was plenty of cash and I tried to make sure they all were dated 2003 or better.  Well the bank will not accept any bills older then 2006.  I guess they are just worthless pieces of green paper here in Kenya.  I just can’t figure out how my Franklins are worthless here.  I did find that the dollar is going much further then it was when I arrived just 6 weeks ago.  I think the exchange rate was 80 Ksh per dollar upon arrival and now it is up to 88 Ksh per dollar.  Last year when I was here the worst exchange rate I received was 68 Ksh per dollar.  On a hundred dollars this is a considerable amount so if you are looking for a cheap vacation you might want to consider Kenya.  The flight is a little expensive but once you are here the costs are pretty low.  Today I bought an avocado at the Nakumatt for about 20 cents and it was pretty large.  I have been told you can buy them for less then a dime on the side of the road.  I am going to try and make some guacamole tomorrow with some corn chips.  I think they are corn chips.  Yummy!!

After the bank I asked Hezron if we could go back to the orchard so I could see if the 18 plants that I was concerned with are going to hold up.  We went back to the site with a little map of the concerned plants to re-inspect them.  I am happy to say that it looks like we will only have two that might not make it.  The Chairlady, Pastor John, Hezron, and the widows will keep an eye on all of them to make sure that they survive.  I should be back in a week or so and hopefully all of them will be moving up the support posts.  I am under the impression that they move pretty quickly once they take root.  Here are some pictures of the plot at the beginning and after the planting.

After the first plowing a few weeks ago

Orchard planted only 6 months to some income for the widow's

Another view of the orchard

From the side

One of the 169 passion fruit seedlings

Check out the ladder Hezron built so I could reach the top of the support posts

Tomorrow I plan to talk with Pastor Robert on his progress with the NGO accounts at Equity Bank.  The Mumias branch seems to have no issues opening an account with a signatory without a work permit.  The branch in Kakamega will not open one with a signatory that does not have a work permit.  I am anxious to get the answer to this.  I assume this is some sort of language barrier either between me and Robert or me and the Account Supervisor at the Equity bank in Kakamega.  Hezron had a conference at Lumakanda tomorrow and I told him that it would be best if I stay in Kakamega and finish up with the details of these projects we started.  Hezron will pick me up early on Saturday morning to deliver me to Eldama Ravine so I can meet up with Ken and Susan Black.  The next week or so I will be in Northern Kenya to assist with making some desks for the children in the new school that was built this last spring.  I also believe that Ken wants power run from a generator to all the classrooms, office and church.  If time allows I will work on any other projects Ken might want done. 

Take care and God bless


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