Returning to Kenya has been great. All of the sights, smells, people bring back a flood of memories from my life here. They remind me that it was a valuable experience, something that changed me and influenced me in ways that I probably don’t even fully understand yet. And because it’s a short trip, it’s not long enough to get frustrated at things I’ve talked about before.
I traveled to Kenya to start researching the implementation of an aquaponics greenhouse here. If you haven’t heard, we conducted a fundraising campaign to build a greenhouse at 1010 Kenya, an organization doing business training and micro-finance in Nairobi. Thanks to our contributors, the fundraising campaign successfully raised over $8,000 for the project! We are so thankful you made this dream a reality! Please read more detains of our business on our website, www.the-foodsource.com.
So far, my trip has included researching vegetable prices in grocery stores, finding suitable construction materials, meeting with owners of greenhouses and agricultural businesses, seeing other aquaponics projects in Kenya and talking with our partners extensively to make sure we are on the same page. It’s been an important trip, allowing us to clarify our goals and highlight potential problems before we actually begin implementation. In many ways I’m intimidated by the magnitude of our goal but know that if successful, we have something truly transformational.
Now for some stories. I forgot how much I stick out in certain parts of Nairobi. Sometimes it feels like you’re playing a giant game of Where’s Waldo with children across the whole city. In this game, you are always Waldo and unfortunately for you, you are extremely easy to find. When they find you, they point and yell, “Muzungu!”, as if you didn’t already know. They are friendly enough though, and I’m pretty comfortable being “the foreigner”.
When riding matatus (minibuses) you also come away with some choice story telling material. The other day, a matatu I was riding pulled up to an intersection. As we drove up, 3 guys started punching another one on rollerblades. The one guy is skating around, trying to get away and they are punching him in the face. They pin him against the matatu I’m in (right next to my window) and start pounding on him. Eventually he slips away (now bleeding from his head) and stumbles onto a busy highway. I think he’s going to die when he narrowly avoids a bus that’s barreling down on him, before he skates across the highway to relative safety. By this time the cops arrive and coax him into returning to the other side to talk about the problem. Apparently, the rollerblader was skating behind the bus and catching a free ride. Why you would ever think that’s a good idea is beyond my comprehension, but the bus driver and conductor do not like freeloaders so they stopped the bus, yelled at the guy, and starting whaling on him. The entire situation was completely bizarre, happening probably in the span of 3 minutes. All you can say in these situations is Kenya Yetu (Our Kenya), a phrase that sometimes roughly translates to “Only in Kenya”.
Also, these guys say hello! More to come…