The battle against the termites continues. They will have to go on the list of questions for God, (along with mosquitoes and bed bugs!). House 4, (where Ian and Hilda are staying), is beginning to look like it has a moat around it. If it rains tonight it might well do. The termites seem to have stopped trying to invade from inside the house and have switched their attention to a patch of earth to the left of the porch. It doesn’t look like there is any alternative to the serious chemicals tomorrow. This is, to be honest, slightly disappointing. One of our neighbours came over to suss out the problem first thing this morning, (hence the moat that has now been dug around the house). This evening, armed with the sprayer that we used on the maize in the battle against stalk borers, he sprayed the most lethal smelling stuff down the various termite holes. It would certainly have put me off burrowing any more. It might be fairer to leave our final assessment of the first stage of the battle until the morning –perhaps the stuff takes a while to work.
There was great excitement this afternoon for a number of the boys in our school. Following an initial visit by a local mechanic to assess the situation with our broken down Landrover, what seemed like a small army of mechanic’s assistants turned up to start dismantling the gearbox and clutch. Watching mechanics fix cars is a popular spectator sport in Kenya and our lads stood and watched in time honoured fashion. I’m not sure what the fascination is. There is usually a lot of noise. To be fair to the mechanics there didn’t seem to be much cursing but nearly all the parts that needed to be removed seemed to need the encouragement of a hammer. It was fascinating to watch. First the front seats came out, followed by the gear stick, bulkhead and assorted bits of the floor. As I type what remains of the gearbox and clutch housing are hanging under the vehicle. The head mechanic has assured me that it will all be fixed by tomorrow evening.
We seem to have hit a bit of a dry spell for the last couple of days. This is a bit more like the pattern of rainfall that we are used to at this time of year and will, most likely, come as a relief to a number of our neighbours. It seems that there is often no happy medium in Kenya – there is either too much rain, causing flooding, or too little. Duncan and I took a walk to Kosele this morning and couldn’t help noticing that in a number of our neighbours’ fields the maize has grown tall but shows little evidence of cobs. That said there is still optimism in the community that this season the harvest will be better than the last one. We have already heard reports of people picking and then boiling the maize that they have in their fields at the moment. This is not such good news. It means that maize is being harvested before it has had time to fully mature and dry. The high cost of maize in the local markets has driven some of our neighbours to this poor state of affairs. We will pray that our area enjoys the right combination of sunshine and rain to bring a good harvest from what remains of the maize. It would be good if the rain stays away until we’ve sorted the termites out though – we don’t want to have to build a drawbridge for Ian and Hilda.