Wednesday, 15 August 2012

wow, that's nice

After a few week hiatus, I am back on the blog. Between our travels and a busy schedule - not to mention the fact that we are coming to the end of our time here - it's been getting more and more difficult to find time to write. Oh, and our power keeps going out at night so that doesn't help either... though it does make for some great card games by candlelight. 

Anyways, last time I updated we were headed to Kisumu to do a hygiene training with a group of midwives there. I am happy to report it went really well! We actually stayed outside of Kisumu in a small town called Ahero, and the training took place in another, even smaller village called Achego. It was a pretty awesome group of ladies - there were some things they knew a lot about, but were eager to learn more about hygiene practices and improving community health. It is especially important for the midwives to be in the know on these issues, as they serve as prominent health care providers in areas where there are very few formal health facilities. Teaching them to make soap was so much fun - turns out that unlike in Kibera where soap is just expensive, it is next to impossible to come by in the village markets. Not only will selling the soap be an income generator for these ladies, it will truly benefit the community as well. I think one of the most fun parts of this training, for us, was how much these ladies loved to sing - and how beautiful it was to hear! They are all part of the same baptist congregation so most were church songs, but with a Kenyan flair. Well, I guess a Luo flair to be exact. All of these women were from the Luo tribe and spoke their native tongue almost exclusively, as opposed to the Swahili we have gotten accustomed to. Luckily, our girl Sylvia came along for the trip - she is Luo and was able to do all of our translating during the trainings. 

View of the Great Rift Valley from an overlook on our drive to Kisumu. My iPhone pic doesn't nearly do it justice.

Rift Valley again. Thanks to our awesome driver, Saidi, for stopping. Side note, he looked exactly like Damon Wayans. Smiley as can be... so great!
Lucky for us, our trip went through the weekend and on Sunday, we had the day to sightsee in Kisumu. The ladies, of course, could not miss church so our training resumed on Monday. Shem and Daniel, the two guys who run the church's volunteer group and organized for us to come do the training, took us all around the town. We started by seeing a hospital where Daniel runs the pharmacy. It seemed pretty well run, but he took us through the pediatric unit which was rather heartbreaking. After that we spent the rest of the day around (and on) Lake Victoria. So beautiful! Hard to imagine how big the lake is.... considering all you could see was water on the horizon, and Kenya only houses 6% of it! There were lots of pockets of beautiful water hyacinths, and the lake is known for having tons of hippos. We rented a boat for an hour and they took us on a hippo hunting tour! We were lucky to see a family of hippos and they kept coming up to say hi! After the sightseeing we headed to a lake side restaurant to gorge ourselves on fresh fried tilapia. Yum yum!

Hyacinths on the edge of Lake Victoria.

Sylvia, Rina and Nate being weird before we got on the boat. Turns out, Nate is even better at carrying things on his head than the Kenyan ladies.

The crew, ready to set sail. Gotta love Daniel's cheesy grin... very un-Kenyan of him.

Hungry hungry hippo!

So awesome! Again, iPhone just does not do this beautiful creature justice. Also, I need to learn how to keep my finger out of the photo when using said phone.


Deeeelicious fish! Sukuma on top and a yummy sauce to go with it. Also, can't forget the Stoney's. Hands down my favorite soda ever. I am considering starting an import business to bring them into the US. This ginger drink is especially delicious when mixed with whiskey.

So that was our lovely Kisumu trip in a nutshell. Since we've been back we've been quite busy finishing up projects here. Renee, our professor, headed back to the US last week so we've been holding down the fort. But this has been a long enough blog post so far, so I'll write again soon with actual work we've been doing - more pad trainings, water governance interviews, bringing in a new 10000 liter tank, business trainings, incinerator installations and more. 

I will leave you with photos of our awesome chapati making lesson last night. Our project manager/BFF Anthony came over for dinner and was kind enough to show us how to make our favorite Kenyan staple food. Apparently he hadn't made them himself in 10 years.... since he got married. As Anthony is absolutely hysterical and a joy to be around, we had a lot of fun. The first half of the process was done by candle light, as our electricity has been having some issues this week. But luckily it came back on.... and our chapatis were fantastic!

Dough by candlelight.

Me, Anthony... and my very first CHAPATI

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