Day 15

Breakfast was toast and scrambled egg! The cooks have started putting the Weetabix directly in front of my place as im the only one who eats it everyday. I will really miss the breakfasts here.

Not much for me to do today as I’m up to date on all my blogs and work. I created a PowerPoint resource (available on student central) for Ayu, Nat and Peter mainly to look at. As it summarises all of our fieldwork trips so far accompanied with pictures that I’ve taken.

Something that I have noticed by working by myself during the editing process is how much everything is slowed down by waiting for people. The work we are doing works like a chain and often one group can’t complete their work until they have collected something from another group. Or someone can’t move on until they’ve spoken to Peter but his too busy to see them straight away. Accompanied with the fact that the internet seems to break every 15 mins it makes things take ridiculously long. If we were here longer I would suggest revaluating how we go about editing and also prioritising work but seeing as the presentation to the community is tomorrow this seems a bit irrelevant now.

I suggested doing the raffle today as we have had them ready since yesterday but again I was told that we needed to wait for Jerry to do this. I hope we have time tomorrow as I think it will be a busy day but I have learnt that things being organised last minute seems to be the Kenyan way. Classroom work is so draining I’m glad its our last day doing it! At least with fieldwork you have stimulation from other people and your walking round keeping active with fresh air.

For now, I’m just hoping its an early dinner so I can head back to the pastoral centre early and wash some of my clothes ready to pack in my bag tomorrow evening as we leave for the Masai Mara early Thursday Morning.

Day 14

I really didn’t want to get out of bed today. I really contemplated telling the others that I couldn’t go in today but after some sleepy reflection I decided I would be really disappointed in myself if I didn’t at least try to go in and do some work. This is such a unique experience, I may never do something like this in my life again so I really should put my most into the opportunity given to me.

Breakfast was omelette but bread too. So, I abandoned my Weetabix and had an omelette sandwich. Probably not very good for me at all but damn it was good. After breakfast we went in search of Mama to give her some scraps, but alas, she was nowhere to be found. We have decided that most of the dogs look quite Shiba Innu like. They’re all obviously cross breeds but they have the distinctive curled tails pointed nose and smile with lots of them being a sand like colouring.

After meeting in the classroom to collect equipment we set off on our journey to the first destination. I Have used Lucas notes to write this, so thanks Luca! As I was busy taking photos all of today and didn’t have enough hands or time to log my own notes too.

Kanyimach Primary School

  • Long – E034, 3.497
  • Lat – S00,55.272

P.0.Box 46 Sare. Found in Rongo County, South West Cham gi Wadu. There are 17 primary schools in the region. It was founded in 1926 and is one of the oldest schools in the region possibly the district. The teaching age is preschool to class 8. The school’s principle is Magero Maurice and the deputy is Kennedy Ouko. Just at the bottom of the fields for this school is the second school on our visit.

Kanyimach Secondary School

  • Long – E034, 36.469
  • Lat – S00, 55.245

The principle is the same for the primary as it is for the secondary. This school was only founded in 2016 when a man called Ben donated 1.2 million shillings for the structure to be built. It first started under the church with the Pastor acting as principle but then the responsibility was passed on to Magero Maurice who will hand over the position as soon as the government sends another principle. It has 106 students and 8 teachers all paid by the community. Again, just across from this school is a field containing a church. Everything here has been within close walking distance which is nice as I wore flipflops today.

Kanyimach Seventh Day Adventists Church

  • Long – E034, 36.446
  • Lat – S00, 55.156

The pastors name is Zachary Opiyo Songora. The church opened in 1922 and runs a successful Saturday service, like most of the SDA Churches we have visited. We then hopped back on the bus to visit another shopping centre. So as not to confuse anyone I must highlight the fact that the Kenyan Shopping Centres are absolutely nothing like British Shopping Centres. They resemble more of a quiet Sunday market in England.

Kogenya Shopping Centre

  • Long – E034, 36.443
  • Lat – S00, 55.982

It is named after prominent village elder who donated land for construction of the flea market. Its run by the Luo Community. One of the community members introduced us to Rebecca Achieng Odtiamho who was happy to be interviewed. I spoke to Mac and asked if would be able to translate for Luca and myself as this woman only spoke Swahili and Luo. I then left them to talk whilst I went and took more photos. When I returned Luca seemed really pleased with how it all went and told me that she would love a community radio station so that she could have a slot for widows. They can have a space to have a voice and reach out to other women for support and guidance. This is a wonderful idea and hopefully something that can be set up once the station is up and running.

I spoke to more of the children whilst I waited for people to come back to the bus. I’m finding it less alarming being pointed at and swarmed upon. I don’t know if its because I’ve grown used to it or if it was because the children were in much smaller numbers today. I was trying to talk to them in Luo and Swahili as I’m determined to learn a few phrases.

Fiona and Halima had a heated discussion on the bus about politics. They clearly have opposing views and although I thought It might be awkward to see them arguing it was actually very interesting to see their passion in healthy debate. It wasn’t so different from conversations I’ve had with friends about politics in the UK, showing that there are similarities between our cultures. All of this is in the wake of tomorrow and the leader of NASA getting signed in against the current president and governments wishes. It will be interesting to see what happens!

We then went back to the University to edit what we had produced. Halima wrote some of the spellings for Luo and Swahili words I have learnt so that I can start using them in my blogs.

We had dinner and returned to the centre and did our usual stop off to buy a kinder joy on the way home. They only have two left now so I hope they stock up on them before we leave.

Asante Sana for reading!

Days 12 & 13

Saturday

I really don’t have much to write about for today so I will start off by talking about last night. I did another pub quiz for everyone when we got back to the Pastoral Centre just a little one with 20 general knowledge questions and 15 music round ones.  As usual for a weekend we had a few drinks too. Were all bonding as a group so well, getting along with everyone so well has made this trip so much easier and enjoyable. We’ve had some right laughs not all that I can write about on here but whilst on a frog hunt last night I made Sam jump and fart at the same time which was pretty hilarious. They didn’t have any Tusker Cider last night so I had the Larger instead. I might recommend it to the pub I work at back home, see if they might trial it for a few weeks.

Today we went to Lake Simbi. It took about an hour and a half to get there and really there wasn’t much to do. We listened to the old folk tales that a local Luo man told us about how the lake came to be, listened patiently as he told us of all its healing powers (I put that down to the high salt content in the water). It was interesting to hear to the tale and its somewhere I can say I’ve been now but I would have preferred to go back to Rusinga Island or something similar as that was really good fun. On the way back, we stopped off at a hotel to use the toilets, it was so quiet and everything was closed up, you can really see how they rely on in season tourist trade as it’s a ghost town out of season.

We also drove past a political rally on the way there and back. The crowd had grown in numbers on the way back past. The Kenyans described it to us as a little bit like Labour vs Conservative. However, a lot more violent. It is between the two main parties NASA and Jubilee Party. People fight on the streets and are sometimes killed, there is a lot of political unrest at the moment. Halima explained the country’s situation to me so I could better understand what was going on. She explained that what we saw was a NASA rally.

NASA:

Nasa, comprises of different tribes (Luo, Kamba, Luhya and Costal region). The coalition leader Raila Amollo Odinga is challenging the current president.

Jubilee Party:

Jubilee party, comprises of different tribes (Kikuyu, Kalenjin and partly NorthEastern region). The current president Uhuru Kenyatta is leader of the Jubilee Party. This is his second term in power. His legitimacy is under question however, after his initial victory was quashed by the Supreme Court and the opposition boycotted the re-run. He won again much to the disappointment of NASA supporters (which Halima and a number if the students are). The president has been criticised for trying to control the media and enforce censorship and take the county into a dictatorship.

The Rally:

Raila Amollo Odinga challenging the president is seen as treason to the government. However, he has a lot of support from the tribes I mentioned earlier and as we saw for the huge crowds that gathered. He calls himself the peoples president. The plan is for him to be sworn in on the 30th January so a few days’ time. As I mentioned earlier though this will be considered treason and there’s high anticipation and tension in the country, the government has refused to send police to help.

Dinner was the standard; a choice of rice or pasta, a selection of meat dishes and then cabbage and vegetables. The food is tasty I’m just starting to grow really tired of eating the same food every day. Especially as I’m vegetarian so I mainly rotate between rice or pasta everyday with veg and cabbage. We have been very spoilt though and I’m extremely grateful for all the hard work that goes into the preparing food for us every day. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day because there’s more meat free options and variety, I will miss my Kenyan breakfasts dearly when I get home.

Sunday

We didn’t leave until 9am today so I got a whole 15mins extra in bed! WooHoo! Breakfast at uni was delicious as always, today I had toast with butter and marmite, so so yummy.

Isobel took us to get our hair braided it was 400 shillings for the hair extensions which me and Hafsa shared so just 200 shillings each which is about £1.40. You’d never get hair extensions that cheap in England. The labour cost was only 500 shillings each too so about £3.50. all in all, my hair that took over half an hour to do cost just over £5 (excluding the tip we gave her for doing such a good job).

I only had 2000 shillings left for the rest of the trip so I decided to go to the bank to get more money out as I still want to get people back home gifts. I took out another 3000 shillings totalling my spend for this three week trip at 13000 shillings, I checked my online banking and it translated into £90!!! I’d spend £90 a week easily in Brighton. I can’t get over how cheap everything is here, I’m coming back to Africa for sure.

We then went to treat house, I felt no guilt in splashing out on a few drinks and lunch. Lunch was amazing chips! Proper salty French fries! I practically inhaled them. We were joined by Fiona Lydia and Halima today. They’re all such lovely girls we’ve started chatting about having a WhatsApp group with them to keep in contact when we are back in England. We were also joined by Zarah and Amaya who are Isobel’s daughters. Zarah is 12 and Amaya is 6. They are beautiful little girls im trying to persuade Zarah to come to England to be a model she’s so beautiful they would adore her back in the UK. Amaya is so cheeky she’s so strong willed and independent I’m really going to miss them and Isobel too, she’s been like a second mother to us here.

I read a load of The White Masai (Corrine Hoffman) over 100 pages in 2 hours and totally missed all the drama that unfolded when a man bought his girlfriend to treat house where he was confronted by his wife. Drama! She was still throwing stuff at him when we left t go back to the Uni for dinner. I couldn’t eat anything as I was still full from lunch but the girls wrapped my hair for me in traditional African style to protect my braids. This was very funny and we took some great pictures of me resembling EastEnders Dot Cotton. We said goodnight to each other early and I hopped into bed to continue watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002) the extended edition of course. I hoping to finish all three by the time I get back to the UK if I watch about 45mins a night.

MEETING THE COMMUNITY LEADERS!!

IT’S FRIDAY!!!!!YAAS

Friday is my best day of the week, just wanted to put it out there.  Since now you know lemmi get back to business. Well I started my day at around 7.00am as usual prepared myself and came for breakfast. Which was delicious as always. After breakfast we went to the media resource where we normally assemble. At around 9.30am the members of the community arrived not all but only the committee leaders. The lecture by Peter kicked off at around 10.00am. Peter started the lecture by giving madam Jane who is the overall leader to give brief information on what is on the ground and what the community has been doing since the last time we were in the community. Madam Jane explained a lot of stuff that they have been doing but mainly she passed a complaint from the community members of chamgiwadu who were always asking when is the radio station going to be set up.

Peter explained to them that they are still gathering the money and students from Brighton are really working hard to raise funds which are not easy as they think but plans are underway. From there Peter continued with the lecture and in the middle of the lecture Peter asked us to form groups with the community members in order to tackle some questions which we did.

This gave us an opportunity to interact more with the community members and get to hear their issues. After discussing the question we presented it and moved on with the lecture. At around 2.00pm we went for lunch had a nice meal together with the members of the community.

After lunch the community members left since there was a technical error with the Wi-Fi and so we decided to meet on Monday in the field.  After few moments later we went for dinner and later on everyone left to their hostels.

Thanks for passing by as always see you on the next blog!!!!!

 

 

Days 11 & 12 a weekend break

This trip is moving so quickly. Perhaps it’s the non-stop nature of the work we scheduled or rather the community scheduled that is keeping us occupied but it is sad to think that in a few days we’ll be leaving Rongo and the Cham gi Wadu community. So that makes this our last weekend here so we thought we’d make the most of it.

Day 11 Saturday 27th January

I’d asked Jerry and Isabel if we might travel to Lake Simbi this weekend. It’s a lovely salt water lake in a volcanic crater on the other side of Homa Bay, near Kindu Bay, about an hour and a half away in the Rongo Bus. We visited there 2 years ago when, there wasn’t nearly as much water as this year and we were able to walk around the lake close to the shore. That wasn’t the case this year, the shore line was much higher and although we could get down to the shore line, and did, we couldn’t walk around it as close to the water as previously. The surrounding grass and vegetation was also much dryer this year. Then it was verdant green and lush, now it was scrubby brown and very dry. Nonetheless, it was still beautiful in its own way. These weren’t the only changes though, the story of the myth surrounding the lake and its mysteries told by a number of local men to earn a few shillings from visitors was elaborated upon by James our story teller this year. He seemed to get carried away as Mac translated from Luo to English for us – although I am not sure why, as James spoke perfectly good English as I discovered when I chatted to him afterwards. Jerry got a little embarrassed by the elaborations in the story, the narrative of which had a tendency to jump around a bit, although the old story was still discernible. This video by Aron Kipkoech tells the story further https://youtu.be/jXqGYxbzuRo

After the story s few of us went to the lake shore to find an old Mumma scrapping the soil by the lakes water to extract the Bicarbonate of Soda or soda ash as they call it. They use it to settle the stomachs of their cattle and fight worms; in cooking vegetables; to clear spots, pimples and other skin conditions and various other uses. Similar to ways in which it is, or was, used by previous generations in Britain. For me this was a lovely way to spend an hour or so but it was soon time to head back to campus.

On the way through Homa Bay, we heard that Raila Odinga – leader of the NASA opposition to Uhuru’s Jubilee Alliance government, former president, freedom fighter and hero of the Luo people was speaking at the local football stadium with other NASA leaders. There was bound to be a huge turnout, and there was, and I feared we might get stuck but we didn’t. Lucky in a way because he is about to have himself sworn in as President – the people from the Nyanza region are convinced the results of the first election was rigged. This is complex affair that I don’t know enough about but I was hear just after the results of the first presidential election were declared null and void. From everything I read and saw on TV it was clear that something didn’t add up but I have no idea what that was. It is a sad fact that in this lovely land, with its lovely peoples (regardless of tribe), corruption is rife. Anyway, we got through easily enough, had dinner and returned to the Pastoral Centre for a chat and a couple of beers.

Day 12 Sunday 28th January 2018

Not too much to tell here from my point of view. The morning was passed with the girls going with Isabel to a salon to have braids put in their hair. They did look great, especially Halima who had her braids removed, her hair treated and put in a sort of loose bouncy curl effect. I know Katie was a little apprehensive about having braids but they look good. Meanwhile Sam, Luca and I did a little shopping and chilled back at the Pastoral centre.

On the pleading of the students I asked for us to be able to skip lunch at Uni so they could eat chips, and who knows what else, at the Treat House. It made them very contented so it was worth it! Meanwhile Mac and I chatted about research and the possibility of him doing a PhD as part of the CM4K partnership. I have already supervised one PhD here to completion (the mediation of intra-tribal conflict and peace building) and have just agreed to take on another (communications for development and gender imbalances). Mac is a great supporter and I think will make a great CM4K researcher so I am happy to encourage him. Whilst chatting we watched his, and that of many Luo’s, team Gor Mahia beat the Leopards in the Kenyan Super-Cup Final. To be honest it was a dull game but Mac’s team deserved its victory. We then watched Chelsea (my team and his UK team) beat Newcastle in the 4th round of the FA Cup. All in all a pleasant afternoon with not much more to say about our quiet Sunday.

29.01.2018 – Luca

Hello everyone!

Ah, Monday – but let’s start on Sunday night. 😊

To continue from the weekend blog, like expected we went to The Treat House Hotel – and we got our chips, yes! Well, to precise I had a Spanish omelette, 2 sausages and a massive plate of chips, one very happy boy here! We spent the afternoon relaxing in the sunshine and catching up with one another, it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday. I’m really going to miss all of the friends we’ve made here, it’s a very bittersweet experience. I’m confident that I know I’m going to stay in contact with a few people though, I just wish we weren’t going to be worlds apart from one another. In the evening, I was quite tired so just snuggled up and watched a film, well, some of which I am excited to finish this evening, it’s called – The Passengers.

Today, Monday we had our final day of fieldwork. Below I’ve listed the placed we visited as I usually do on my fieldwork blogs:

Kanyimach Primary School –Kanyimach Primary School was founded in 1926, and is believed to be the oldest Primary School in the Cham gi Wadu region. The school offers academic services from pre-school, to year 8 students and currently has 435 students enrolled (as of January 29th, 2018).

DSC_0202

Kanyimach Mixed Secondary School –Kanyimach Mixed Secondary School was first founded under the Kanyimach S.D.A Church in 2016 with 40 pupils. The school is funded by the community, who pay wages to the 8 teachers at the establishment. The school now has 106 students, and hope to be granted government funding.

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Kanyimach S.D.A Church – The Kanyimach Seventh Day Adventist Church was founded in 1922, and holds a service every Saturday.

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Kogenya Shopping Centre – Kongenya Shopping Centre was named after a prominent village elder who donated the land for construction of the market, it sells various amenities for members of the Lua community.

DSC_0147.JPG

Speaking of the Kogenya Shopping Centre, I had a really experience with a woman named Rebbeca who I interviewed there. She was curious to know about the Radio Station, so I had Mac translate a conversation between us. She was extremely excited about the Station, and very eager about having a slot, or at least a meeting advertised where she could share her knowledge, wisdom and advise about being a widow to help other women in the same position as her. I was excited about the prospect, as you could really feel her enthusiasm about empowering other women and that’s at the heart of what we’re trying to do here – empower communities and all those within it. It’s definitely something I will be talking to Peter about, in fact, I might do that right now!

Update: Peter was very enthusiastic too, so great news all around! I think that I will do a more in-depth post about my interview with Rebbeca, but for now we are off to have some dinner so I am afraid it will have to wait! I hope everyone has the most wonderful evening, talk soon!

P.S. Thank you Katie for all the brilliant photos today! All credit goes to you. 😛

Luca. 😊

Weekend Blog – Luca

Yay, the weekend – which I had been eagerly awaiting! I am having such an amazing time here in Kenya, but who doesn’t adore days off! It’ll just be a short one this weekend as it’s a sleepy Sunday as I write this. 😊

On the Friday evening, we came back to the accommodation and played Katie’s quiz that she’d been working on throughout the day. I came second to last again, I think that’s the spot I will always stay, haha – though I’m not a sore loser, so I do not mind! Katie is the Queen of quizzes, and I think if ever I’m to play one in Brighton I’ll be messaging her, begging her to be on my team, haha. Saying that, everyone is good! I think all of our knowledge combined would definitely make a winning team, well, with the exception of me. I could just attend for moral support I suppose. 😛

After the quiz, we spent some time talking, and then all went off to bed. On Saturday after breakfast we went to Lake Simbi which was around an hour and a half from the University. It was a beautiful lake, and has a very interesting myth behind it – though I am not entirely sure I believed it, who am I to judge! Nevertheless, it was fascinating to hear about the story of the lake. I spent some time at the lakeside appreciating the view and just reflecting on my time here which was nice, though I really wanted to go swimming! I resisted the urge though as the water was a bit smelly… Haha. After that, we all came back to the University and relaxed before dinner. As it’s our last weekend we wanted to have a fun night celebrating, but I think the sun had got to our heads and everyone was in their rooms by 11pm, sorry again guys! I think it must have been the hottest day by far since we arrived in Kenya.

As I said, it’s now Sunday whilst I write this. We spent the morning picking up bits from the supermarket and the girls have gone to get their hair done. I have a very exciting afternoon of washing planned, haha. I think we’re all off to The Treat House soon though, where we will be buying some dinner (chips, lots and lots of chips). Gah, you wouldn’t believe how desperate we all are for some chips, they will be well received. 😛

Aside from that, I think it’s just an afternoon of relaxing in the sunshine, trying not to get burnt… If possible for me that is! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend, and I hope that the week brings you happiness! Talk soon everyone. 😊

Luca. 😊

Day 10 More editing and more lessons

Please bear with me. A few months ago, when I started planning this trip, I made a request on the University of Brighton’s (passive and pretty ineffective) staff communications platform. One or two kind people saw my plea and offered their thoughts but largely my request went ignored. This is in no way an indication of the staff’s lack of generosity at Brighton or their willingness to share, simply that this new communications platform is passive and ineffective whereas the old one was very effective. Now before I get side-tracked on the platform the point is no-one at UoB offered my any pertinent advice and so I took it on myself to do a quick self-taught session on geo-mapping – plotting waypoints, etc. etc. I learned how to use Google maps; I learned how to use My Maps and I set up a little practice map. So far so good. I looked around at GPS trackers and read up on mobile phone apps. Did a little practice and all was well with the world……or so I thought!

It turns out that there are a number of things I overlooked not least that the manner in which waypoints are represented numerically varies and, if your name is Peter Day, this can lead to much head scratching and much cursing because plotted co-ordinates are either ignored by the google maps search engine or take you somewhere else. Admittedly in the same County in Kenya but not where we were expected. Clearly, my knowledge wasn’t up to the task I had set myself.

Now I knew that there are various ways in which waypoint co-ordinates can be uploaded but this is currently beyond my personal knowledgebase – if anyone reading would like to help me out please give me a shout, I would be very grateful. Anyhow……we had problems with the map I was developing but I am a strong believer that there are always other solutions to problems, one only needs to find them. I looked back into what I knew about map reading and orienteering. As a kid I was a boy scout with excellent map reading skills and as a young man I was a surveyor in the British Army. So I put my keen sense of direction; my map reading skills; my good memory plus my ability to read what the land is telling me to good use. I started to identify the locations we had visited on My Maps. So far so good.

However, and before you ask – why didn’t you just enter the place names in the search engine? – Google maps has been extremely lazy and lax. The Google car that drives around photographing every street in the developed world hasn’t made it to remote rural Migori County. There is no ‘Street View’ and the satellite imagery is pretty remote and grainy…….so doing what I wanted to do is a challenge. Not impossible but a challenge! However, we had 2 advantages….my personal assets (as described above) and local assets in the form of local knowledge. So I set about plotting the waypoints by hand. This is a long drawn out process as the satellite image is unhelpful at times and the map (without contour lines etc) is pretty nigh on useless. So plotting, e.g. Okumba Hill when the paths leading to it are hidden by trees and bushes and there’s lots of them, was problematic but once I knew roughly where we were on the map, it was just a matter of time before I could read the images of fields, etc running in a circular(ish) pattern. I could see this was the hill and confirmed by identifying the buildings on top. From there is was just a matter of working our way backwards to where we had parked the bus for a final confirmation. By then placing the cursor on the building I was able to plot the waypoint. Simple! The problem is it is easier to write than do here, especially when you have a room full of young students in edit mode seeking your attention at regular intervals as thoughts pop into their heads.

Anyway, this was my day, oh and chasing the University of Brighton’s Finance Department. It is now 17 days (and counting) since students paid for their end of trip safari and our tour operator of 8 years standing has still not received the payment. I am receiving no ‘helpful or useful’ information apart from the transaction has been sent via Amex. I do not blame the staff member back in Brighton but there is a problem with the system.  8 days after the transaction was sent the payment has not been made. To me that suggests a problem. Right now I don’t care about the reasons but I will do. Either tell me something helpful or retrieve the payment and I will make the payment on my card……please!

The frustrating thing about this is that Kenya has one of the most advanced and accessible personal payment schemes in MPESA and I could have made the payment in seconds before I left the UK but oh no…..the University has rules! Have I told you how I detest bureaucracy? I know we need rules and structure etc but it is the total lack of commonsense and flexibility that makes me seethe (apologies). This is not fair on our tour operator Rufus, who spent all last week running back and forth to the bank. Banks in Kenya are not like our High Street Banks and the process is not always pleasurable nor quick. Neither is it fair on the students, who have worked so hard on this trip and deserve some R&R. Oh and it is not fair on me. I work 24/7 on these trips, and love it, but I do not need this unnecessary stress. Anyway, let’s hope Monday brings a happy conclusion to this sorry episode!

On a lighter note, whilst some of the students were editing, I had given Hafsah permission to facilitate a Focus Group for her dissertation study. It took away half the Kenyans but from what I could hear from time to time it gave her some great data and she was very happy. A nice way to end this post about a day of trials, challenges, discovery and lessons. The weekend is calling and it’s time to relax a bit.

Day 9 Fieldwork and more community asset mapping refinements

I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying this trip despite feeling a bit drained from Wednesday’s samozagate incident. There are always things that crop up and barriers but that is community work. I just really feel like we are making progress. A range of things seem to be falling into place which I can’t make public yet as they are not confirmed just indications that they will be confirmed.

On Wednesday I started to develop the community asset map. Reflecting on this process made me realise that we were capturing content about/relating to the physical assets and not enough about the people – especially in the photographs. So before we set off I spoke to the students and asked them to try and strike a balance and capture more ‘community life’ in their work. A note on the map – I am currently using Google’s My Maps and will continue to do so for now but when I get home I am going to seek out a map app with more flexibility in the content functionality. My Maps is limiting the visual experience of some of the fantastic pictures the team have taken.

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We set off for the 7th Day Adventist Church at Osiata. Visually it is just a largish wooden building with a corrugated iron roof and the inside has been fashioned into a traditional church with whatever materials are to hand. However, the place came to life a bit when some Church Elders (women) came over and gave us an interview. Mac was back with us and translating between Luo, Kiswahili and English. The interview jumped around a bit in both the questions and the languages but the latter adds authenticity (imho) and the former can be edited. There was a storm very close by and the rains threatened but really on dribbled on us. As the road was very narrow we had parked the bus and walked to the church (this was to be the story of the morning) but this was a pleasure as it allowed us to walk through a countryside otherwise denied us on the bus. All in all a lovely experience although one or two of the party were less pleased when we had to do the same again at our next stop but with an added twist.

Lang’o Arek Mixed Secondary School sits at the top of Okumba Hill. We left the bus at a point circa 0.5K from the main road and made our way along a bridle path. This path widens to the right at a crossway which leads up to the school. Looking for all the world as if the Romans had laid a 30 or so metre stretch of cobbles the hill then steepens sharply and some started to lag. I turned back to encourage Isabel, Fiona and Halima who were feeling the pace. The walk up is definitely worth it though as there is a breath-taking 360⁰ panorama of Nyanza and Kisii. The Head was busy with other visitors but he arranged for teachers to show us around and do the interviews. This process was now running quite smoothly and we were away with what we wanted within the hour.

The walk down was pleasurable although back at the bus we couldn’t make it out fully boarded so we alighted and got back aboard once Baituk had us clear of the rather tricky ditch. I have to say he is a great driver and has worked so hard for us during this trip.

Our final call of the day was a revisit to Cham gi Wadu. It was market day and nothing brings a place alive like a local market. I asked Hafsah to retake the shots of the shops as the previous ones made the shopping centre look like a ghost town. I got Mac to accompany her so he could ask the shopkeepers permission and explain what it was for in Luo. She produced much better shots. However, it is the market that is the hub of this community. Located off a side street behind the shops we had to work fast because the storm that had held off was about to break. There was some reluctance to be photographed to start with but some of the local students got people to agree and before we knew it we had captured the essence of the market.

A crowd had gathered on a nearby street corner where Halima, Fiona, Lydia & Charloth – our audio group were interviewing a local man. Word started to spread and people gathered and as the locals started to hear of the possibility of a radio station for them, by them and in their community people were becoming excited. It was heartening to see my Kenyan CM4K students of 3 to 4 years standing doing so well. Aron came over with his video cam and started filming and the crowd grew larger with the steering group members also chatting to people on the street nearby. Just then a massive dust storm introduced itself by blowing up the street. Those out in it (like me) got covered in the fine red silt particles of the locality. The rains weren’t far off and it was time to go but the word is out in Cham gi Wadu and I look forward to hearing the audio capture and watching the video footage collected here but even more, I look forward to enabling community radio in Cham gi Wadu. We are making progress without a doubt!