Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Polio Vaccination

I can’t believe it is our 5th day here already.  We asked mama Pamela if she could call a motorcycle/ boda boda  for us because we needed to get to a school called Osari Primary school which was approximately 1.5 hours walk away.  We got on the motorbike around 8:40 and headed over.  We were supposed to meet Carren, who is a CHW in that area but we didn’t see her when we arrived.  The teachers welcomed us warmly and we talked shortly about what the children are learning and then one of the teachers introduced us to the principal/ headmaster.  We told the principal about what we were planning to do at the schools and talked very briefly and then he helped us call Carren to figure out where she was.  There was a change of plan and she was at a different school called Lisuka.  The principal said it was 1.5 km away which didn't sound too far, and he said it was totally walk-able, so we started walking.  Even after 30 minutes, the school was nowhere to be seen. Carren called us a couple of times, and she said she will send a motorbike on our way.  We got on a motorbike and went for about 5 minutes and arrived at Lisuka primary school.  He charged us 50 shlilings which was a bit too much for the distance he took us, but since I didn’t have anything smaller, so I just paid him. 

These tree leaves are used to make ropes!! 

Walking towards Lisuka

Monday, 23 June 2014

Nutrition Workshop

Today, we went to Ober Kamoth with Steph for a IYCF session . These sessions entail educating mothers about feeding  children healthy and nutritious food.  Sally was supposed to meet us there around 10 am but we didn’t see her till 11 am (again, Kenyan time).  So while we waited, we got a chance to look around the health centre her arrival.  We met a nurse named Lilian and she said she lives right beside us.  Hopefully, we can run in to her again so we can ask her more questions about pre-post natal care for the grant we received.  Also, I am hoping I get a chance to shadow one of the nurses before I leave.  

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lake Victoria & Bank Day

We walked to Paga beach on Victoria Lake this morning.  It took us around 45 minutes on a scenic, rustic road.  On our way there, we saw a goat herd, many children who yelled “Mzungu, mzungu, how are you?” and most of them wanted to shake our hands.  We ran into a ton of butterflies on our way there. I have never seen anything like it.  It was beautiful.  I also climbed this big, African tree and posed for a photo.  This mama who spoke English quite well told us when saying good morning to many people, we must add “uru” at the end of “oyaore”.  So we must say “oyaore uru”.  Down at the beach, children were fishing with a wooden stick without success.  Children here don’t have fancy toys like N. American children. They play with straws, tires, fishing, lids that are rolled, garbage bag soccer balls, and drawing on dirt.  They look very blissful playing with these materials which made me feel very greedy, having everything I need in life and still wanting more. 

a tree climber

These ladies taught us what "uru" meant

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Soccer Tournament

Today was the day of the soccer tournament which occurs for about 8 weeks during June and July.  Stephen (Maurice’s brother), Job, and Julius were supposed to come and pick our stuff at 8 am so we woke up at 645 am despite knowing that people are often tardy in Kenya.  They ended up coming around 9:30 (sigh).  They helped us to carry the equipment and then we headed over to Obambo primary school. What I realized so far after 2 days is that people tend to say “How are you” before saying “Hi”.  Also, because we are foreigners, they call us white people,  mzungu in Kiswahili.  We asked them if Rashma and I would be considered a Mzungu because we are East/ South Asians.  The high school boys immediately identified Rashma as a 'Hindu' and me as 'China'. We laughed. 

Stephen in bright neon shirt, his friend Ernest in the centre and Julius on the right

Our friend Peter making a funny face

Friday, 20 June 2014

Osaore Kanyawegi

June 20th 

We left Amsterdam, carrying 37kg backpack in total.  We thought we couldn’t make it to the metro and was tempted to just get a cab. We were told that the cab to Schipol would be around 40 euros which seemed insanely expensive for a poor student like myself.  We decided to suck it up and carry our monstrous bags for just 6 euros and save up.  Upon arriving in Schiphol, I was so frustrated that it didn’t have unlimited wifi.  Maybe it is not a common thing to have in Europe.  We waited about 3 hours for our plane, becoming slightly anxious for the actual part of our trip.  KLM and Kenya airways have a partnership so we went on Kenya airways.  The plane was extremely spacious and more comfortable than KLM which was a surprise to me (for some reason). Possibly because I associate Kenya as a developing country and expected their services to be at a lower quality. 

At Schipol.  We were so tired and didn't really care about what others thought of us sitting on the ground. 

June 21st 

The moment I stepped out of the Kisumu airport, I finally felt like I was in Kenya.  The soil was reddish brown, and green everywhere.  People riding in mutatus, motorcycles (Boda bodas), goats on the roads, scorching hot sun and people honking and waving at us because we are muzungus (white).  The children were especially excited to see us.  They waved, yelled out “How are you” and everyone in the community wanted to shake our hands. This place definitely knows how to make you feel welcomed. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


After 6 months.. I am attempting at writing again.  This time, it will be a bit different because I am actually headed to Kenya for about 2 months with a volunteering organization called GIVE (Global Initiative for Village Empowerment).  Since flying over to Kenya is not the easiest, my teammate Rashma and I decided to stop by the Netherlands for a couple of days instead of being in layover for about 35 hours.  We flew to Amsterdam from Vancouver which took us around 9 hours, found a nice cozy place on air bnb and decided explore this city.  

We didn't do any research before our arrival so it was exciting to find things along the way by asking the locals. After yesterday's first glimpse of Amsterdam, these are the things I learned about Amsterdam.

1. Cafes everywhere.  Funny enough, I was actually looking for a big fat burger with fries to realize that I wasn't in N. America anymore.  Most places serve sandwiches with soup.
2. Cannabis.  You can get your own starter kit for 2.50 euros.  
3. Sex.  Sex museums, red light district, prostitution etc. etc.
4. Flowers.  There is a flower market which sells the root of the plant.  It was an interesting to realize once again how ugly roots grow into something so beautiful.
5. Cheese. We went into one of the stores and just tried out their cheese. #hippielife
6. Canals. Of course the signature. 
7. Cyclists. Some, very angry if you are getting in their way. This lady gave Dina, who is also a GIVE traveler this year, the biggest disapproval when she stepped on the cycling lane.  We went because the signal told us that we could walk.  I am not sure how that works around here. 
8. Very tall people. Some look like models.