This was the smallest group of students I’ve taken to Kenya as part of the CM4K partnership in 4 years. 5 students and I left Gatwick’s North Terminal with Emirates at 8.25pm on Monday 15th. That was about the only difference those. As usual they were chatty, laughing and very excited. Of course there was a touch of trepidation for the unknown but on the whole they were very excited.
Of course flying, via Dubai and Nairobi, half way round the world to arrive at Kisumu airport at 6pm the next evening and still with another 3.5 hours minibus journey takes it out of you but spirits were lifted when we were met at Kisumu by Prof Jerry Agallo, driver Bitook and 4 Rongo students – Evelyn, Charloth, Halima & Mercy. That was very kind of them and my students appreciated that act of kindness and warm welcome.
So it was we arrived in Rongo at 9.30pm on Tuesday 16th and bless their hearts the catering staff were there waiting to greet us with a tasty hot meal. After 25 hours of airline food it really hit the spot even if we were too tired to really do it justice. Without word of criticism I couldn’t the University of Brighton organising something like that for guests – neither would I expect them to but it was the first illustration of cultural differences and the amazing generosity of our Kenya partners. Their friendships and respect for us means so much to me.
Aster a great night’s sleep we were up and at ‘em for breakfast, which again was delicious, and a chance for us to start this year’s fieldtrip rolling. I popped up to the Media Centre – which is to be our base for the next 2 weeks, only to see about 15 of the Rongo students that I have taught and worked with previously waiting to greet us. Again another really nice touch and so thoughtful. Once again they were so happy to see us. After a very quick chat we headed off to Kisii – the capital city of Kisii County – for SIM cards (which is always a palaver), cash (better exchange rates) and a few bits n bobs. Then it was back to Rongo for a late lunch (more like dinner number 1) and the meet n greet. The students from both Uni’s met up for ice breaking games and to get to know one another – I will leave them to describe their experiences – whilst Jerry, Isabel and I had our first meeting to finalise the plans for the next 2 weeks.
The meeting was very productive and I really like working with these guys – no personal agendas; friendly, happy, honest – it’s just great. Then after a late dinner (number 2) it was back to the Pastoral Centre where we sleep for a quick meeting with the students before a deserved rest. I slept like a log!
I am really happy to be back here and can’t wait to get started.