For Paul Kuto

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.

Lunch in the Garden !
Lunch in the Garden !

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.

With Paul at Chwele Community Centre
With Paul at Chwele Community Centre
20150725_133325
Chwele Community Centre

 

Water Purification Plant
Water Purification Plant

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.

View of Paul's home from the garden
View of Paul’s home from the garden
With Paul at the "Chips & Smokies" Cafe - Webeyu
With Paul at the “Chips & Smokies” Cafe – Webeyu
Chips and Smokies Cafe - Webeyu
Chips and Smokies Cafe – Webeyu
with Paul Kuto
with Paul Kuto

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.

17 comments

  1. Jim keep the updates coming, your look very relaxed in the photos. This Kenyian life style obviously agrees with you.

  2. Chips and Smokies – sounds just like Arbroath! Or are “smokies” something rather different?
    Fantastic travelog Jim – you seem to have met some great friends.

  3. What a great update Jim. Isn’t it amazing how welcome and part of a culture you can feel, by the kindness of even just one person. I too have a wonderful support group of Filippinos here. It makes all the difference. I’m so glad you have this too:)

  4. ..Sincere appreciation to Mr. Paul Kuto that is commendable contribution he has made to the community. He is a great role model. On a lighter note, I haven’t seen you mention ‘tasty chicken’ in your meals. This area is known for that….thank you too for keeping us connected Jim.

  5. Pleased to hear things are going well; sounds like you have made an amazing friend for life! Love from all the family Campbell x

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