During Abraham’s trip to Kenya in April, he met with community leaders in Matunget to prepare for the arrival of Big Blue and construction of the new Kipkalwa School building this fall. Following several smaller meetings, the Kipkalwa School Committee held a 6 hour meeting to lay out plans and record commitments for the Harambee to come, one of the biggest in recent decades, perhaps since Margaret Kosgei founded the Kipkalwa School in 1967.
After finally escaping the Port of Houston in the 40-foot shipping container (and future 320 SF storage building) GRC bought, along with farming equipment and as much stuff for the kids as we could fit in the container, the shipment was waylaid in the UAE Port of Khor al Fakkan for 3 weeks. A friend asked why was it delayed? I responded “I’ll call the Fakkan Portmaster and find out.”
Finally arriving in Mombasa a week after Abraham returned home, Abraham’s brother David, a key member of the Committee, made the long journey and got the container cleared, not without complications. The container finally departed Mombasa aboard a flatbed semi, through Nairobi and up to the top of the Great Rift Valley, 7,500’ above sea level and just north of the equator.
Big Blue was scheduled to arrive during Abraham’s 3-weeks in Kenya, before the end of the dry season. Due to the Fakkan delay, as the truck reached Eldoret, ascended to Iten and then turned right onto the red clay road to Matunget, the skies cut loose. Rainy season arrived and turned the endangered Torok River from a trickle into a raging torrent less than 5K from Matunget!
After its 10,000 mile journey around the world, the container was ultimately dropped off on the far side of the River, where it will wait until dry season to be hauled the last 5K to GRC’s 4 acres of land, perched on the edge of the Rift.
Getting news of Big Blue is a bit like telephone using mobile phones and What’s App across oceans with operators possessing varying degrees of English and tech abilities (and autocorrect doesn’t help things). Several days after arrival, Abraham reported news of “leaking oil” and the need for “new gaskets” and a clutch plate. A day or two later, the following photos arrived, without explanation. I was not able to reach Abraham for another 2 days and had plenty of time to ponder the situation. It didn’t take long to attain comfort with the idea that I have full confidence in the Committee. They are taking on tasks unprecedented in the history of Matunget. Find out how the major tune-up went and the involvement of Kenyan bureaucracy in the next Thunder Blog!
The Kipkalwa School Project is one of Global Running Culture’s long-term projects designed to better the lives of youth through the powers of sport and education in 3 primarily indigenous communities where running is a vital part of the culture: Matunget, Kenya, northern New Mexico and the village of Cusarare, Copper Canyon, Mexico.