We are now three days in to our work in Kumi. The team of six people plus the three of us on staff have been painting window frames, plastering walls and painting fascia boards. We have visited a school for deaf children and eaten at the local nameless corrugated iron cafe which we have named “No Name.” You can get a good healthy main course for £2 but bring your own water, because they do not have any. If you want a bottle of fizzy drink you can order it and they go down the road to buy it for you (adding two pence to the cost)
“Plastering” is rather an overstatement. In involves flicking runny cement at a wall with a trowel. When the builders do it every drop sticks perfectly. When we do it there is the sound of a splat, a scattering of cement everywhere and then our effort slowly detaches itself from the wall and plops to the floor. However, practice makes perfect – we are not perfect by a long way yet but you know that thing about walls – if you go on throwing mud at them some of it sticks – this also applies to cement.
Yesterday we finished up in prison. This is an annual event, by invitation of the prison governor, and how could we refuse? We go along to “entertain” the residents. There are 130 of them in a small town non-secure prison. They sing and play songs to us on their wooden bow harps and we attempt to sing accompanied by one of our group on a guitar. It is hard to explain what a wonderful place this prison is – it runs like a community centre with residents and guards chatting together and, for the first time, we were allowed to mix with the residents. One of them had a go on the guitar, another told us that his father was about to be executed for terrorism. (He was not in the same prison as the son). We hoped we managed to say a few comforting words to him.
The sad thing is that some of the residents are on remand for many months. Many have not actually done anything wrong. The wheels of justice grind very slowly here and often, if the defendants are found guilty, they have already served more than their prison sentence and they are immediately released.
Using Christian themes for commercial advertising continues to be common. This week I have seen:
“God’s Will Laboratory,” “St Pious’ Driving School” and “Jesus My Energy”
Philosophical statements of the back of vehicles include “Life is Mathematics,” “Never Lose Hope” and “The Poor Also Laugh.”
But my favourite this week has been “Nature Call Centre” – which was the name of a public toilet.