NEWS FOR MIDDLE OF OCTOBER 2008
Extension Bible teaching news: numbers of students in my classes continue to be relatively low. But there seems to be a new seriousness to things ...
"They told us we should get circumcised so as not to get diseases" said the 18 year old boy. "What do you advise Jim?" Many young men are in this part of Kenya are rushing to get circumcised, following the advice of our Prime Minister Raila Odinga. (One now famous case occurred near here where a young fellow circumcised himself using a kitchen knife!) If they think that the free circumcision currently available will stop them from getting AIDs, then this latest craze could be another route to disaster. I told this 18 year old boy that there was little point in getting circumcised, unless he was planning to lead an immoral life.
Globally we hear of banks collapsing and stock markets plunging. The Kenyan media is almost silent on all of this. Perhaps the concept is incomprehensible, and the thought of loosing the global patronage system just too horrific to seriously consider! For many here, the international credit system is not about a second car, pension or a holiday abroad - but about getting food. ...
I went to replenish my supply of malaria medicine when another child got sick a few days ago. "The malaria medicine is all finished" I was told. "So now we just have to go and die?" I asked. "Yes" was the response. A dose that was recently free now costs ?200 from the chemists.
Converting currencies on the basis of equivalence of pay for 1 hour's work. Assuming that an unskilled worker in the UK can earn £5.00 per hour, whereas here in Kenya it is about KSh15.00 per hour, whereas a dose of malaria medicine costs KSh600. ((600/15)*5=200). At commercial bank conversion rates KSh600 is about £5.00.
"They gave me an injection. I don't know what it was ..." are words probably on the mouth of many young women around here. Booths are being set up everywhere - even at the funeral I was at on Saturday, where women of childbearing age are encouraged to receive fee tetanus jabs.
PS: I note that Google Earth now has detail on my home area - so even the house I live in can be clearly seen at 0.03'55.65 N and 34.32'46.81 E and 1416m above sea level!