Anyone who has frequented the 10,000 villages stores is familiar with the wonderful soapstone carvings that come from Kisii Kenya, known as Kisii Stone. We visited where these are made, saw the artisans who make all this stone and send it internationally and got a chance to purchase some for ourselves. The quarry has a unique stone that is now known all over the world.
The town of Kericho in the highlands of Kenya is famous for tea with tea plantations stretching in emerald green fields for as far as the eye can see. We had a tour of the Kabiangs Tea Factory to follow production from the field to the finished product. The tea is picked by hand and air dried by fans for 16 hours. It is chopped finely through three phases. This causes some release of heat and the warmth (39 deg C) and more air caused a fermentation to take place over the next 90 minutes. The brown product is then heat dried again through three cycles and finally sifted to different sizes to remove fiber and provide three different products of different sizes. It is tested for taste quality, bagged into large sacs and transported to Mombasa for sale on the international tea market. 4.5 Kilos of leaves make 1 kilo of tea.
On our second day , some of the group went to a giraffe park and the Karen Blitzen museum while others went explored The Ngong Hills, including w Women’s Empowerment Centre CanAssist is constructing in association with Nancy Stevens, a hike along the ridge overlooking the Rift Valley and a visit to our longstanding friends, the extended Moiko family.
I am presently on Safari in East Africa with a group of Canadian supporters of the CanAssist African Relief Trust. During our 18 days in Kenya and Uganda we will visit many communities and schools that have benefited from the funding of infrastructure projects through CanAssist and review plans for some that are upcoming in the next year.
One of our group, Nancy Grew, is also blogging as we go along. If you would like to follow is as we travel her blogspot blog is at Grew’s News 3. You can access it here.
I will post some photos with brief captions as we move along. Karibuni.
Our first day out was a long one to the very rural Adam Nkuyan School. This was one of our first CanAssist projects and the existence of the school where there was barren land before has bought life to the community and is providing a chance for education for the students who live there. Next year they will graduate their first class 8 students. A real achievement.