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25 November 2009 – Whoaaa Baby!

It’s safe to say that in the last couple of years the Toyota pick has been called on to carry and haul and transport everything from A to Zed, as they say. I’m not sure what item has held down the “A” spot up to now, maybe anti-venom, but the new, undisputed “A” spot holder is amniotic fluid.


I came back to the property after lunch on Tuesday. The unflappable Gilbert told me that Mildred, who had spent the morning at the Mutongoni Clinic in Athi River for a scheduled check up before her Dec 19 due date, felt like she needed to go back. She had taken a motor bike taxi in. Implicit in his statement was the request that I take her. Very unusual for Gilbert. I said sure.


[singlepic id=2369 w=320 h=240 float=]Mildred came over wearing a beautiful, vivid purple outfit. She looked a little uncomfortable.
But I don’t think any of us thought that seven kilometers of rocky, bumpy, dirt back road and seventeen minutes later she would be holding her newborn baby boy in her arms. But that’s jumping ahead.


She got in the truck and I figured she was having some Braxton Hicks contractions. Mildred is no sissy, and when the first in-truck contraction hit, about thirty seconds into the ride, I knew there was nothing false about this labor. Mildred’s throes were relatively non-verbal,  just some high pitched noises like someone walking on too hot pavement, but her body language was very loud. Sabobo was uncertain whether or not I was under attack, and he added his two cents to the small cab chaos.


Mildred’s English is better than my Swahili, but not a lot. “Coming out!!” however, needs little translation. Things got considerably wetter about half way there. I was driving as fast as I could on this terrible road, trying to avoid the deciding bump that would fully add one more to our number. We screeched up to the clinic, grabbed Mildred’s stuff and slowly hurried in. There was talk in passing about id cards, and health cards, but we didn’t stop. I barked a couple of things and Mildred was in the delivery room. The nurse took a gander and said, “Head!” Less than two actual minutes later I heard Maelwayne crying.


We settled into the administrative stuff at the desk. As it turns out, after a very long, much delayed process, Gilbert had gotten Mildred’s National Health card from Machakos yesterday. I plopped it on the counter and that was that…no bill.


Unfortunately, there aren’t any photos of the Cannonball Run. But everything important follows.


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So Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us — plus one.




  1. REPLY
    Peggy Traverso says

    The stuffing is mixed and before I prepare the turkey for the oven I decide to check the RROP site and what do I see: Another great adventure for David. Welcome to the newest member of the family. I will remember him and all of you working on the Project at our Thanksgiving table, as well as those at Ukambani and all suffering for lack of what we have so abundantly.

  2. REPLY
    david says

    Hi Peggy,

    The contrast between our Thanksgiving table abundance and the real lack in Ukambani is hard. Sometimes it sort of drives me crazy, but that doesn’t do anybody any real good. Your efforts and all the other folks’ too are helping do what we can do. For now it has to be enough.

    Thanksgiving greetings to Doug and all the others around your table.


  3. REPLY
    Gabriel says

    Mistah David,

    Your update was a wonderful Thanksgiving present and reminded me of all that I have to be thankful for. Congratulations to Mildred and Gilbert. And hello to everyone else. Love,

  4. REPLY
    Michael Edson says

    There are so many facets to what you are called to do for the project. I’ve sat here thinkng that the multicolored fabric of life is being woven. The thread of this event is bright purple and happy. I don’t sense the strain as clearly as you do as you see the contrasting tables of plenty and want, but I’m happy for my very small part in validating RROP. I’m grateful for your efforts and for spreading the love. I look forward to seeing you soon David.

  5. REPLY
    david says

    Hello Geb,

    I just got back from Chip and Sherie’s Day Late Thanksgiving dinner. The same one you attended, now three years ago. People still ask after the tall mzungu, the one who, with Wilson rid the territory of bad acacia. The incomparable one sends his incomparable love, as does Mrs. Masa.

    And I send mine to you and your folks and Gus and Madeline and Helen and Ray and Gregory and Charles. See you soon,


  6. REPLY
    david says

    Hi Ed,

    There is a lot of life happening here. That much is undeniable. And this event is happy in a way that pushes back the sorrows that are around. Maelwayne is a cure for what makes us unwell. And it doesn’t hurt that he looks like Lionel Ritchie, a young Lionel Ritchie, I mean.

    Love to Nena and the family. See you soon, brother.


  7. REPLY
    Chris L says

    Please give all our love and congratulations to Mildred, Gilbert, David…and, of course, young Maelwayne. Wonderful and beautiful and fitting that their home is up.

    Your timing’s impeccable. What a ride and driver and passenger(s).

    See you soon, brother. We miss you and all the community at Red Rhino.



  8. REPLY
    david says

    Dear Chris,

    I’ll pass on your heartiest to the Andere’s. Your gloves and broad-brimmed hat and egalitarian spirit are missed here by all and sundry. You are and will be always a part fo this community, and we will always be happier when you are here.

    Love from all this side,


  9. REPLY
    Jenny Marquez says

    Thanksgiving is everyday, in a new morning, in every smile and newborns face. Not every day is easy but each is a gift. Welcome Maelwayne Andere a blessed gift. Congratulations and God’s blessing on all those who care for her.

  10. REPLY
    david says

    Thanks Jenny,

    For the good words and the better reminder. Some of our best gifts are not what we could call easy. But they come from the Giver of all good things. I’ll pass the congratulations on to Milderd and Gilbert and their brand new son.


  11. REPLY
    martin says

    i’m thinking we need to paint a stork on the hood of that rig by now. a nice fat marabou.

    a hug for gilbert, a real one, and my best to the rest of his growing clan.


  12. REPLY
    david says

    Dear Martin,

    A Maribou stork crapped on its hood the other day in traffic at Nyao Stadium…does that count? One full frontal hug on the way to MR G, and love all around to the rest.

    See you soon, in the gym, I hope. Love,


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