pontes newsletter #12

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What have you been drinking lately? My latest fix has been green tea with freshly cut ginger. Even though we live on the road, Simu and I always travel with our bombichas (our metal straws that filter out loose leaf tea & other secret-potion-ingredients we add to our herbal concoctions). I recommend not being caught without it.

What a beautiful close we had to 2020. We arrived in Kenya and came straight to the coast to meet up with the rest of the trolls @ We Make Impact [that water filtration project I told you about last time we chatted]. We arrived at Buddha’s Backpacker, a run-down hotel with cockroaches and stained curtains.

But let me tell you, we had some delightful & sleepless nights! We were invited to join a family party for dinner and dancing on Christmas eve. We learned new moves and laughed a lot. We befriended a new couple and accompanied them to their local church. They gifted Simu and I a marriage guidance book. It’s a bunch of fun exercises to reminisce and plan for our relationship. It’s been a good reminder that healthy relationships are consistent practice, effort and love. It’s pulling each other up whenever we get a chance. It’s making time to laugh together. It’s creating a life together with a shared purpose.

Which brings us to one of the current problems in focus; The water filtration work so far has been eye opening. It has continued to awaken in me the importance of taking action. The fact that clean water is not accessible to so many people on our planet is a tragedy. What am I doing to help? I’m co-developing an application with an epic Nairobi-based dev team that will enable us to collect low-cost subscriptions (1-3 dollars a month) to enable zero-margin borehole reverse-osmosis water filtration.

That means installing and maintaining water filtration systems at aquaphor access points (boreholes) which provide water to many people (~500-2500). In many coastal regions borehole water is not drinkable due to high levels of salt in the water. To make matters worse, some borehole water is infected with bacteria and virus due to poorly closed/sealed openings. Since the process of installing and maintaining these water filtration systems is quite high (~1000 USD a month per borehole), a subscription of about a dollar a month should cover costs to pay for staff, security and frequent filter replacements.

What else has been in focus? Contract work for ALDA SMALL THINGS LLC has been delightful. I’m blissfully fulfilled and my brain is often tickled. If curious, you can check out my more recent projects here. Thank you to all of you who have helped me start my freelance business these last two years. I couldn’t have imagined a better transition. I am forever indebted to my mentors, teachers-friends and to the open source community. My meager attempt at repayment comes in the form of paying it forward: if you are looking to make a change in your professional/personal life and you think I could be helpful, it would be my pleasure to lend a hand. Please do let me know!

How else are things? Well, my heart is incredibly full. I’ve been dancing a lot to phenomenal jams that have been helping me move my skeleton, muscles and sweat through my clothes. Not being able to dance was one of the worst parts of the pandemonium for me--I’m very lucky, afterall. I’ve been endlessly grateful to outdoor dance parties here in Kenya.

I’ve made lovely friends through the water filtration project as well. I have learned and laughed and been inspired to be a better person throughout the process. A new loving friend of mine, Tafiah, has been helping me accept and embrace my feelings (especially negative ones). They do often pass. Allowing them their time while they’re with us has made their stay shorter but deeper. I’m learning more about myself through feelings that I would rather not have, which has been a helpful and eye-opening experience. Asante sana for the laughter and eternal teachings.

I’m amazed by the beauty and loving kindness of those around me. An old NYC friend of mine from Axial, Winston Reid, has welcomed me with open arms into his Nairobi home and community. He has made this city effortlessly feel like a nest. I even played squash for the first time! Cheers to the power of loving kindness and the strength of the tribe!

Speaking of the tribe… It’s a pleasure to find myself in your inbox, and to be able to connect however we can :-) It’s about time I ask you: how are you? How are you feeling and how have you been spending your days? What’s the last thing you cooked and the next thing you want to make? What’s the last hobby you picked up?

Sending you a tight squeeze, and missing you dearly, and please don’t forget to stay hydrated--