I have been very fortunate to have met wonderful people at Save The Children and in Kenya and everyone has made me feel very welcome. I have been a major amusement to school children as we passed several schools, for whom I am a novelty. I think I may have even been the unwitting disrupter of an examination. Anyway, no one has done more to welcome me than Paul Kuto.
Amazingly he was the first Kenyan I met, as we were sat next to each other on the long haul from Amsterdam to Nairobi. Paul and his wife, Grace, now reside in Portland, Oregon and have dual American – Kenyan nationality. It transpired they both grew up in Chwele which is only about 30 minutes from Bungoma, so when he heard I would be working near his home village he offered to meet up and show me around.
Paul & Grace are an inspirational couple and have been raising funds in the USA for Kenya and over the last 10 years have built a medical dispensary and a community centre for the people of Chwele. Paul was back to oversee the finishing touches to this major building project, which will provide a centre for community groups and visiting volunteer workers such as doctors, who Paul also recruits for the community. Not satisfied with that, Paul obtained a community grant to build a water purifier to provide fresh, clean water for the community sourced from the river that passes through his property.
Several Kenyans have shared with me that even though they move around the country for work, where they grew up is still home and they feel a strong affinity for it, returning often. For Paul, the peace and community of Chwele are still a major pull on his heart.
So despite only meeting a short while ago, he has hosted me on several occasions and I spent a lovely Friday night with him recently at his home discussing the US presidential race and Donald Trump’s chances of victory (we both agreed that should be No Chance !).
It was so peaceful – vehicles are so rare in that area and Paul’s house is nestled in mature trees he planted, surrounded by his family. His brother lives with his family on one side and his nephew farms land on the other. As I said to him, it was just how I imagined “Up Country”( as Kenyans refer to West Kenya) would be.
AND he helped me find a home in Bungoma which is only 20 minutes walk from my office !
Thank you Paul and safe journey home my friend.