After being in Kenya for two weeks, I’m starting to get more and more used to the culture. Yet not a day goes by without me being surprised about the differences!
I arrived on Sunday, 6th August, in Kisumu where I was picked up by Edward, the founder and executive director of the NGO. After having some lunch we started our 3h drive to Migori Town, where the project is located.
My first impressions were that Kenya isa beautiful country, with friendly and hospitable people and great food. I’m happy to say that I still feel that way!
I arrived 2 days before the highly anticipated presidential elections. Because of Kenya’s troubled history around elections, people where feeling quite tense as to how election day would go, what the results would be and most importantly how people would react to the outcome. Election day was peaceful, but the outcome
was not what some/most people had hoped for. This caused some violent demonstrations in Nairobi and Kisumu, but thankfully Migori Town decided to stay calm.
Better safe than sorry, which meant that although I did start my work for them straight away, I didn’t leave the house very much in my first week. I was incredibly excited when I did get to go for a visit to the office and meet Duncan, the project manager.
So far I have submitted a grant proposal, hoping to receive funds to buy a pickup truck for the NGO, I have prepared a grant proposal to request tools for the graduates of the vocational programs that they support, I have started a database with foundations that we could send grant applications to in the future, … and much more. As you can tell working in the office is all about the
money… money to do good 🙂 Because of a summer school course I did on the topic of grant writing and proposal development, this is right up my street and I am incredibly excited that what I’m doing here might physically impact the lives of the villagers in Migory County and change their living conditions for the better.
Other than working in the office, I have also been able to take two field trips – one to Mikei Village to distribute free maize for the villagers, and one to two public health centers that educate community health workers on a wide array of health topics. The NGO supports those communities specifically where Malaria is concerned. I can honestly say that the visit to Mikei was one of the most emotional moments of my life. To see the joy on those people’s faces at the sight of Edward – Edward grew up in Mikei – and then being able to help distribute the maize, was heartwarming.
Finally, I want to leave you with one additional picture. Last weekend I joined the family on their weekly church visit, where I met lots of wonderful people, including a very cute little girl. Sometimes it seems that the world is in trouble, that it can be a dark place with too much intolerance. But other times, everything seems to be just right…
Greetings from Kenya,
I’m currently living out my final days here in Kenya, before returning to Europe and its Western civilization. It has certainly been an adventure, getting to know the Kenyan people and their culture, helping out at Rieko Kenya NGO by submitting grant proposals on their behalf. An adventure I would recommend everyone to go on, sometime in their lives.
It has been eye opening to see how the world I have grown up in, is so different from the reality of the people here. Yet, we are all the same, with universal feelings, desires, needs.
One of the grant proposals I am working on now, focuses on getting clean and safe water to the many villagers that don’t have access to the most basic necessity in life. Imagine you had to walk 5km to get to the nearest water source, fill it with water to carry back in a bucket on your head, for another 5km. Only this water instead of giving you life, could also make you sick. It’s dirty water, carrying viruses and other harmful things, because someone may have
washed their clothes in that same water, while animals were wading through it and a – desperately needed – rainfall washed human feces down to the collection point, as there are no latrines. This, unfortunately, is the fate of many people out here. It breaks my heart, and there is little I can do, other than writing to foundations and telling others about my adventures, to create awareness.
Boys like this one sometimes have to miss out on school to go and get water for their family members. That is if they even go to school in the first place.
Despite the poverty, Kenya is also a beautiful country. I have met many wonderful people, have heard wonderful stories, and have loved every scenic view along the way (including Lake Victoria).
Thank you very much, Kenya – Assante Sana. (2017)