The days are getting harder to remember, but I generally remember that I haven’t been as bored as I was at the start of this internship. I guess the biggest news is the grant proposals. I came here with the idea that I would do something nutrition/ food security related (people reading these blogs are going to think I am obsessed with this stuff. I promise I am not. Just interested enough to know about zucchini-related holidays), but in the end I strayed from that path. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to think of something sustainable, a tried and tested, but still much needed method of “development”. Unfortunately, $200 of grant money didn’t leave much leeway for sustainability in food related projects. A lot goes into a steady supply of food. For example, I had the idea to try to implement the bag gardens in the nearby slum. Upon further thinking I realized that would require enough bags, soil, teachers, seedlings, and convenient ways to keep goats from eating your project, and clean water for everyone who would want to take part. While there could be a cyclical training and eventual community provided materials, the start-up exceeded my budget.So I choose just one part of that- water. My host mom has been talking for weeks about a brick compressor that the Kanyumba community is trying to raise money to rent. I finally asked why they need this compressor and she explained that they wanted to use it to build a rain water collecting tank. It’s like the ghost of Hestons past coming back with glad tidings. The grant money was definitely enough to rent the compressor as well as fund some other parts of the project. Plus, it is already a running program at KMET. The community on the receiving end agrees to provide 50% of the resources, whether it is labor, materials, or cash. The other 50% then comes from KMET and KMET partners. The actual tank takes 5 days to build, meaning I might actually get to see the results of this initiative. When I visited the community, they sang a welcome song and showed me where they were planning on building the tank. A few things got lost in translation when we were discussing the plan. One of the men I was with said to me “I am just so grateful that you are helping needing people like us”. I should have just shut up and said thank you for the gratitude, but instead I tried to explain that I am not here to fix problems, but instead see how the community can pull together to solve their own issues. They were helping me to learn, I wasn’t helping them. Of course, this was all said to a man who barely spoke English. So I don’t know what he thinks I am doing there anymore. Regardless, I am still excited to be involved in this.
This past weekend we had made plans to go to Nairobi. Friday night we were at the bus stage by five, found a bus that was going to leave at 7:00, getting us to Nairobi around midnight. This was fine as taxis were still easy to get at this time. Three hours later the bus still had not left. It was now 10pm, meaning it would be harder to drive at night, meaning we would be getting into Nairobi at an estimated time of 4:30 am. Not only would there be no taxis, we would have been exhausted. And with a 5-7 hour trip home, we would have had to leave during the afternoon on Sunday, leaving us only about a day to spend time in Nairobi. The consensus after sitting on that bus for three hours was it was not worth it. Best decision ever. The next day we went to Kit Mikai, an area with awesome rock formations just outside of Kisumu. We went with Cody, Kat, and Scott, some other interns we have met from other organizations in Kisumu. After lots of walking and climbing things that were not meant to be climbed (like rocks and paths covered in thorns), we went out to get fish and then “camped” in Cody’s backyard. It was cute. Tuesday morning we got up early to go see hippos on Lake Victoria. We hit the jackpot with a whole hippo family. The two babies played the whole time. Sadly, my camera didn’t do the hippos justice at all, so hopefully the other interns will come up with some better shots.
The first picture if of Kit Makai. The second is of kids sledding down a giant dirt mound outside of KMET. It’s Kenyan snow!! Emily