On Sunday we drove all day from Nyeri to Kisii. We stopped a few places, the most notable being Thompson waterfall, the tallest in Kenya. We got really close to the bottom of it and I got awesome video and pictures of it.
Kisii was very different from Nyeri and Nairobi. Nyeri was very small, you could almost drive through it without noticing it was a city and Kisii was similar in that regard except there were literally no buildings more than two stories. There was a big outdoor market packed with people that seemed like it was the center of the city, but besides that the only attractions were little shops and a few restaurants.
When we woke up on our second day in Kisii, we drove about an hour and a half to Lwala Community Alliance. Lwala is a very rural village that didn’t have a heath center within 20km before two brothers from the village built the Lwala health center that evolved into the comprehensive community project that it is today. For such a rural area, Lwala’s facilities were more like a US hospital than anything we’ve seen.
Kelly Baird, their education coordinator talked to us when we got there about what exactly the center does for the community. They work on everything from health care, to education, to sports, and water sanitation. She stressed the importance of focusing on what resources the community has versus what they don’t have and encouraging the community to be independent in improving the quality of life in Lwala. The ultimate goal was for there to be no need in the community for the LCA as soon as possible.
We went to the village school and repainted the black square on the classroom walls that functioned as the chalkboard. The students were so appreciative it was awesome. I felt like we were doing something so small but they were so happy about getting improved chalkboards that they came in and helped us paint and then bought us sodas after we finished.
The next day we had a guest lecture on herbal/traditional medicine and then visited a traditional healer. Before that day, I thought that traditional healers in Kenya may have had some legitimacy but after that day, I realized that the entire practice made no sense at all. The tell people to swallow coal to fix certain diseases, give mentally disabled people something to smell and then in the morning they will be completely healed, and for pretty much everything else they burn a pile of plants and sell the ash to people claiming that it will heal whatever they have. It was ridiculous but I am definitely glad I got to experience it firsthand.