First, let me start off by giving a few personal updates in the past weeks here in rural Kenya:
Sitting in the back row of a jam-packed (of course) matatu, a woman next to me was holding her baby. She looked to be about 18 years old. All of a sudden, she began violently vomiting into the cloth, which once was used to tie her hair, was now folded into a makeshift bag. Matatus are the way of travel throughout Africa – 14 passenger vans which usually carry about 20-25 people. Sitting on laps, squeezing five people into a three person seat, or standing with half of your body out the open door is the norm. Throw in the African heat and lack of deodorant usage, matatus are always an “interesting” (but cheap) mode of transportation. So when this young mother began throwing up, I was no more than a few inches away with nowhere to go. I took her baby and helped as much as I could; trying to forget about the stench. When she was able to talk, I learned she had malaria and was going to the doctor. But, she could not afford medication. I gave her KSH 300 (USD $3) to buy all of the malaria medication plus food, returned her baby, off they went.
Walking through Kisii, I saw young man wearing a hat that said “Fart.” I think I know why that hat didn’t sell in America. And I know that this man had no idea what it means.
I bought cheese for the first time since living for almost a year in Kenya. Even though I love cheese, it is relatively expensive and difficult to keep fresh here. Was it a must I eat two pounds of mozzarella in a matter of hours? No. But was it the best cheese I’ve ever had? Absolutely.
Now, to official Arrive news. Last weekend we had four GE employees visit the Keumbu Rehema Childrens Home to check out a joint project we are working on together (more information on the project soon!) One American, one South African, and two Nigerians came made the trek from Nairobi to Nyaturubo to check things out. Highlights included: slaughtering of a goat for the children and guests to eat, evaluation of the ongoing project, playing soccer with the kids, building a bonfire, and much more. Equally important the girls of the orphanage were able to interact with fellow African women who are involved in the world of international business; an opportunity not had by most girls of the village here. The GE volunteers were instant role models for the girls, showing them that with hard work and dedication, an amazing career lies ahead. Again, additional information on the project, called the GE Volunteer Grant, will appear on the blog in the near future!
Today, school closed and the first of three academic terms came to an end. After a few months of hard work in school (Mon-Fri 6:00am – 5:oopm, Saturday half day), the kids are on break until May. It was a successful term for everyone, and this is a vacation the kids surely deserve. With school closed, who can resist going on a hike through the Gusii Highlands of Kenya?!?
Lastly, I am traveling to Uganda tomorrow to meet with my friend Yazan. Yazan works with refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and I will be staying with him for just a few days. It will be my first trip to Uganda and I couldn’t be more excited. Brin Enterkin, Yazan’s friend, founded an organization called The African SOUP in 2009. SOUP stands for “The Sponsorship of Orphans in Uganda Project.” You can find out more information about her organization by visiting www.theafricansoup.org. Brin, who I have only met through email, wrote a heartbreaking but eye-opening blog yesterday about one of her students, a 14-year-old boy named Fred, who died. I highly encourage everyone to take a minute out of their busy day to read her blog post by clicking here.