We’re staying at the White House Hotel in USA River. I think it only costs $8 U.S. a night. It’s quite pleasant with an open courtyard in the centre. The mosquito nets are crappy though – they don’t drape over the edges of the bed well.
I slept in my own room last night. Dan ended up in some meeting room with Solomon.
This morning, Corrie Lynn and I walked to the ADRA complex while the rest of the group took the bus. It was good to get a little alone time with her.
The ADRA compound is a little confusing. We’ve seen such different approaches to mission work around here. This compound is lavish and large, with beautiful grounds and buildings. They’ve put a lot of money into it. And they run a furniture manufacturing plant on the grounds. The whole thing kinda smacks of colonialism – the rich missionaries with all the servants, the beautiful grounds, etc. I know I shouldn’t judge, but it just doesn’t quite make sense to me.
This morning Bongo, who works for ADRA, took us to visit the International Health Food Association. It’s a big factory owned by ADRA which processes and fortifies flour and cookies with the intent of making them available to the general public in an effort to improve nutrition. It seems a little strange that they would beat all the nutrients out of the maize, and then add them back in artificially. They’re trying to make a product available to the public that is comparable to what they use. It seems more logical to me to educate people about what nutrients they need and how they can find them in natural sources, but what do I know?
After visiting the factory, we went to the market for our food-buying experience. We teamed up and Dan gave each team 5000 shillings (approx. $5 U.S.) which is approximately what a family has to survive on for a week. With that money, we had to try to buy enough food to feed a family of 6 for a week.
I was teamed up with Brenda and Micheline. The experience was quite good. At first, it was rather intimidating to walk into such a foreign environment and not know who was trying to help us and who would take advantage of us. One fellow helped us quite a bit and we gave him a tip.
We ended up with about 2 kilo of maize, 1 kilo of rice, 1 kilo of beans, about 700 g of fish, half a tub of oil, some bananas and a couple of onions.
I think I could enjoy living in an area where markets like that are common. It didn’t take long to get caught up in the energy of the place. It was crowded and noisy, and dirty, but people were friendly and helpful. Bartering can really get my adrenalin pumping. I rather enjoy playing the game.
After that market experience, we went to buy our lunch at a large sanitary supermarket. Although it was clean and well organized, it didn’t seem as interesting or energizing. It felt quite cold and sterile and lifeless.
We had some ice cream on the bus and headed back to ADRA to compare our purchases and our market experiences. Every team had a slightly different approach. Mos of us had too much protein and none of us had enough starch. We gave all of our purchase to Max and Nevartus (the mechanic travelling with us).
When we’d finished comparing notes, some of us went for a ride to see Mount Kilimanjaro while others stayed at the compound. It was hot and dusty and the mountain was clouded in mist or dust. We didn’t get a very clear view, but at least we can say we saw it.
When we got back, I helped with the orphan babies for awhile – gave one of them a bottle. I find myself enjoying holding the babies, and I certainly feel SOME compassion for them, but the whole thing doesn’t tear at my heartstrings as much as it does some other people.
We had supper at the Danish Centre again, and then walked back to the hotel. Some people are hanging out around the tables, but I’m beat, so I’m going to bed.