Day 2: A whole new World

We’ve woken up much more refreshed, but Kenya really is testing us!

We woke up to find that the shower pressure was gone…because our bus had crashed into the generators! Even though the back windows had smashed, we drove on anyway! 😂

When we arrived at university, there was a teacher strike! Because of this the wifi was taken down and so we couldn’t start our lesson, and the building was locked for our protection! Strikes are different to those in England; they still happen as regularly, but they can turn violent. If you are part of a union and choose to carry on working, you can be dragged away and killed. The teachers strike has only been going on for 3 days, but a strike of public sector doctors has lasted 35; its still unclear though, for me at least, which country’s protest methods are better; there is constant corruption whether you go in the world. Will we ever find peace? Only through understanding and listening, such as the peace between students of different religions here, can there ever be hope.

We had our introductionary lecture reminding us about community learning, and then we went outside to play games to learn names and introduce the whole group together. Whilst some have Christian names, it is a struggle to learn them all. On the other hand…they know all of ours from the Facebook group! Daisy is especially popular because of her red hair, but I am being refferred to as ‘Mr Bon’ and feel very special; in fact, I’m quite ashamed I didn’t take the time to get to know them more before we came, as they are so happy we are here. We played many British and Kenyan games (they LOVE bulldog!), and ended taking just sooooo many photos. It’s interesting: we don’t really know each other well yet, and so I feel we are objectifying each other? We are just taking pictures because of the uniqueness of the situation, which we will then show to friends who will equally be in awe? Of course it’s because we are all excited, I just found it interesting the sheer amount of photos the students take (though they tell me this is a common occurance!). I am so happy we are all together. Other school children came along and watched, and whilst I was uncertain over giving them pencils and paper, they were so grateful for them: Kenya is grateful for everything.

My most profound memory so far is us saying to the students ‘sing us a song!’….and they sang Lush Life by Zara Larson! The idea of music bringing people together is what gave me my first connections when we going to university, and it is now clear it is not only through Britain, but through the world. There will always be common connections and emotions, whether I go. I am never truly, alone. 😌

At the end of the day while we were all eating, my table started talking deeply and honestly about so many random topics, and I cried. I haven’t cried at uni in such a long time. I cried that I’ve known these people for three years and know so little about how they feel towards the world, and how I have 3 essays (9000 words) to write as soon as I get home, due in a couple of weeks with no breaks. This is a INCREDIBLE experience, and I’m learning things a classroom never has, and I’m having FUN. I need to live in the moment; we ended the day as a celebration, drinking and playing stupid games up until late into the night. Don’t underestimate the feelings of worry we have, in whether it is right to be here, if what we are doing is the right thing. But everyone is so happy and excited that we are here. I can’t wait for tommorow.

Rob ✨

Day 1: What a rush! 

We’ve arrived! It’s been over 24 hours (it’s 4am!) and we finished our trip on a tiny carrier plane; we are really going head first, into such a rural place; Rongo!
The main thing I’ve realised, is that Kenya really is not represented in the Media. I have no connotations of the country, it’s just bundled up into the poor, sad, and forever doomed charity adverts of Africa from Water Aid and Save The Children. All the children go to school and our in uniform, and everyone appears like they have a job to do. There are so many buildings, all made of corrogated iron or stone panted in bright colours. Food, is plentiful! The people are happy 😊

The University has been incredibly kind to us. We have been told ‘Welcome!’ many times, and have been given a great circular complex all to ourselves to live. The poverty limit is really high, and really puts life into perspective that even when they have nothing, they give us everything with such kindness and generosity. We get the accommodation (and 3 meals a day!)…. for free!

However, there are dangers here. We went into their town, and so many people are on the street selling, and many shops are hidden behind bars. We’re being called ‘Mzungu’ by everyone going past, and the girls are very clearly getting unwanted attention. Without our guides Ema and Irene we would certainly not have a clue on what shops to go in, and would really be ripped off. This may be a great experience, but we need to be aware we are new.

We’re completely exhausted and very stressed, and our really puzzled over the concept of ‘Kenyan time’, in that nothing ever really goes to plan. Hopefully tommorow will bring some clarity 😊

Rob ✨