Day 7: Community Meeting with the Chief

Sometimes all the planning you can do can be undone by things out of your control. The plan was to leave by 9, but unfortunately most of us have been hit by a bad stomach. The theory is that it was street sugar cane we had on Sunday, which most people now tell us was a terrible idea! It was bound to happen eventually, but it delayed us leaving on time. In the end everyone decided to soldier on as we wanted to experience the community. We had to change to a bigger bus at the university, but the driver went to fill up the tank and disappeared for about 2 hours. It was frustrating to wait around without any idea what was going on, knowing that the community members were there waiting for us. Eventually the bus turned up, and by the time we got there it was already 12:30. This time however, Kenya’s relaxed attitude to time seemed to work in our favour, as most of the villagers, including the chief, were late anyway! So at least we had time to set up the cameras properly, and this time we rearranged the hall to fix the bad lighting.

The villagers began to arrive, and as a way of apologising for being late, we fed them our lunch which they seemed to appreciate (although it did mean we were a little hungry all day). I learnt that the swahili word for banana is ‘ndizi’ from the Rongo students, which I will attempt to remember. Since the chief was still held up in another meeting, we decided to start without him as there were a fair few people waiting to speak. The villagers and speakers all introduced themselves one by one, and said a little bit about themselves and why they wanted the community radio station. I found it a little hard to listen to them and focus on the camera, but hopefully I can watch it back. What they were saying was very interesting and heartfelt though, and it’s clear they want this radio station!

At this point unfortunately, it became clear that Katy, who had felt the worst this morning, was really unwell. It was really difficult to carry on working while I could hear how she was just outside the hall, but Ellie was looking after her so we decided the best we could do was just give her some privacy. During a break, me and Anya spoke to a local young guy who was getting his identification. It was quite insightful in seeing how local people saw the western world and often dreamed of moving there. The chief turned up eventually and spoke a bit about the need for the radio, and how they couldn’t wait much longer. t was good to see someone in a position of power get behind the idea. Peter decided at this point to cut it short so we could get Katy to the doctors, but it took a while to leave as we had to stay around a chat to the locals. Eventually we got going, but had to stop in at a school that were waiting for us. What was supposed be quick 5 minutes to show our faces, turned into a much longer presentation with talks from local people about the project. It was quite overwhelming as we’d all had a long day, and we all felt a bit of imposter-syndrome from the way they welcomed us and treated us. Eventually we got back to the university where Katy could get checked on, and headed home to rest (and swim) after a long day.

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