Archive | July, 2008

Map of Kenya

31 Jul

Ich hab da mal was vorbereitet… yes, I had a little spare time 😉

Getting things organised…

30 Jul

I would like to answer to some questions.

  • Yes, Maybe I should add some formating to my posts 🙂 I will use subtitles, if that is ok for you 😉
  • No, I won’t write Abstracts.
  • Yes, people here are very interested in Barrack Obama and most of them hope that he will become president. They are aware of the fact, that he is not really kenyan, but at least “a little bit”.

My job gets a little organised now

Finally I have a plan for the next 4 weeks 🙂 We divided our job into three parts:

  • Teaching kids: In August there are school holidays here. The schools in the slum offer classes during that time and I will teach three mornings in the secondary school and will do some extracuricular stuff (german, maths and geography). Two afternoons I will work in the primary school.
  • We want to initiate a girls meeting in the slum Mukuru Kayaba. Two afternoons per week we want to discuss topics as domestic violence, hiv/aids, early pregnancy, entrepreneurship, getting a job, expressing ones opinion. There is a lot to organize, it is more than just holding a lesson to girls. We want them to be sustainable, so that in the end they can organize the meetings on their own.
  • We want to teach the parents and kids of the primary school (Mukuru Commercial slum) on hiv/aids. One afternoon per week there should be a parents forum. And in the end we want to include the girls from the other slum in the lessons of the kids. That would be soooooo cool 🙂

So far thats my plan for the next weeks. My two colleagues leave at the end of August, so I am looking for a new colleague for September.

My host family is so great

I am so lucky with  my host family! The house is really nice and in a good area, we talk a lot about the day and what happened. I really feel at home and they ask me to use the kitchen and everything as I want. And finally I have a younger brother and sister :-)))

AIESEC conference

I will be facilitator on the East African Leadership Development Seminar, that is an AIESEC conference that will take place in central Kenya in around 10 days. We are in the process of preparing the sessions and I am so excited to work with all the other facis (kenyan and intenational students) in a team. Will tell you more later. Gotta go home and prepare one of my sessions for that conference.


27 Jul

My first weekend during my internship. Friday I had pizza (buy one get one free on chicken exotic masala 🙂 with Lara, then we met a group of other interns in Westlands in an italien Restaurant. Westlands is the district where you go when you want to spend a lot of money on drinks and food. There were only white and asian people in the restaurant, except for the waiters, who were 100% black. That felt really odd! Having seen only black people and white (and asian) volunteers for weeks I felt like in the wrong place.

I had an amazing dessert (apple pie with vanilla ice cream) which could have won an award (4 Euro).Then we went on to the Black Diamond, which is a Disco/Bar/Lounge. Still there were some 20% of non-blacks but it felt like Kenya again. After a drink on the veranda we went for dancing where the different cultures became obvious again. We dutch and german girls just wanted to dance for ourselves to enjoy the music and the atmosphere whereas some local boys had the impression that we were waiting for naughty tight dances and free drinks. “You won´t enjoy the night when you dance alone” I was told… Well…
At 2 we where tired of and took a cab to the YES house where there was a “party” going on. The local AIESECers had finished their exam period and were celebrating this with loads of alcohol. I stayed here for the night.

On Saturday I went for shopping together with Lara. Then we went on one of the biggest towers in the city, the conference centre (29 floors) from which we had a very nice view over the whole city and also on Nairobi National Park. As we are still in the cold season it was a little cloudy so we couldn´t spot the Kili or Mt Kenya. As we didn´t bring our camera, I want to return another day. We paid 2 Euro fee pP which included a watchmen who came with us and explained us what we saw (Kenyattas tomb, Parliament, different districts, airport, …).
When I arrived in Donholm at my house nobody was home. My mobile phone had gone off (due to low battery). The guard at the gate lent me her mobile phone to call Sally. In the end I had a conversation with a refugee from Somalia until Sally arrived. It was our turn to cook and we did a phantastic Spaghetti Bolognese. I really enjoyed the food, although the cheese and herbs were lacking.

This morning I went to church with Sally. The english service was at 8.30am. As all the buildings over here the church is not older than 40 or 50 years. I has been around 10 years since my last english church service, so I had to read all the prayers from the book which seemed awkward. They had a choir and some drums to sing the songs with the people, which gave me “that african feeling” ;-).

Today in the afternoon I will have a meeting in Kayaba slum to discuss the beauty contest project. But as it is a grey Sunday, I didn´t hesitate to make a work appointment. Its around 15 degrees and very cloudy. In August the weather will be better and I can travel again.

Get involved: Ideas wanted

24 Jul

My thoughts and even my dreams are all around the slums and their inhabitants. Today I woke up and had “just another” idea… My goal is to have a day dedicated to a special topic (hopefully every week) to which all inhabitants are invited.
Needed for this is

  • cooperation with a speaker in the slum, which could be our headmaster. I will talk to him on Friday.
  • a room. Maybe in the school?
  • advertisement. The kids could paint a poster every week and write their own flyers.
  • agenda…. Thats intersting now. I have a lot of issues that could be covered. But the people and the available material here are different from how I usually work in AIESEC in Europe or we know it from university.

Issues to be covered by a project day that pop up in my head are

  • HIV-awareness
  • early pregnancy
  • Increase self-esteem of all the kids and especically the orphans
  • general health issues: water, TB, malaria, hygiene (maybe a “cleaning the river”-day, maybe getting a free doctors team in the slum for standard examinations)
  • entrepreneurship: how to start an own business to sustain oneself
  • how to apply and where to get a job
  • Law + Democrazy (e. g. : companies polluting the river, why elections are important, letters to the parliament…)

If you have more issues or concrete ideas to put the above mentioned ideas into agendas, please add them as comments!
The best idea is rewarded by a postcard 😉

Thousands of impressions

24 Jul

Life here is so crazy… every day hundreds of small things happen and I could write them down the whole night. But I prefer to sleep at night 😉
I want to give you some examples of situations happening to me in the last (my first 3!!) days. Maybe you can understand that life here is not boring at all but challenging me every second.

Talking about the characteristics of animals and letting the kids give examples for mammals I again recognized that this kenyan accent is really hard for me to understand. For me, a “bird” is not a mammal, for them, a “bat” is. Learning new special vocabulary during teaching them is really amazing… carnivores (Fleischfresser), layers (Legehennen) as contrary to beef poultry, dairy cows… come on, thats science in class 4!

Although the conductors are shouting the destination of the matatu all the time, its really hard to make it out. There is that accent and then the noise on the street: Usually the matatu drivers use their horn to signal that they are waiting for passengers, the conductors are shouting in a language mix. Before I get in I usually ask again whether its the correct one, the next one to leave and for the price. This time he hugs me and says “I love smart girls. And you are the smartest”. Allright 🙂

Sitting in the living room of a slum, no windows, only some metal separates from the neighbours, the neighbours TV is so loud that we hardly understand each other. The entrance to the living room is through a hallway where on the floor the used water from the whole block flows out to the street (no drain tubes or canalization here…) and washed clothes are hung up to dry.

Two of the girls thank us that we came to help them and said that they appreciate everything we did. One of them nearly cried when explaining the bad situation of (especially) girls in a slum. Early pregnancy, abortion, drug abuse, no education, dependance from men, no job opportunity or money to start a business, bad hygiene conditions (no running water, no tampons or towels for menstruation) etc etc. In the end I didn´t feel bad because of the described situation but because they were so thankful although we hadn´t done anything until now apart from booking a flight and coming to Nairobi.

Just returning from the slum yesterday I was thinking about about the ladies there, about how blessed I am as a “rich white girl” and my next projects there to support them somehow I am stopped by advertisers who want to convince me of a safari tour. “You don´t want to see these beautiful animals?” I had forgotten, that I am just another rich mzungu walking through the city during his holidays.

From the bus stop from my slums to university it is around 1,5 – 2 km walking. As the city is really jammed during the day everybody including me walks zig-zag lines between the busses (better breath through a scarf, no Feinstaubgesetze here in Nairobi). Still every single taxi driver I pass by asks me to get into his car. How senseless… I have to learn “Walking is faster, thank you” in Swahili!!

We three international girls on the project seem to be very different from each other. Ariel is very quiet and prefers to work with children. Di loves to be effective and structured, direct communication and would like to leave out the teaching part. And then me as I want as much projects as possible and have loads of ideas to work with the kids, youth and also their parents or guardians. They will leave at the end of August which means we have to start with our projects very soon.

When I come home around 8pm the family has dinner together. Sallys mum usually has 7-9 bowls of different food on the table (for that I call it the evening buffet), whereas s. I am really tired in the evening but still there are 100 things to talk about and my host parents and I usually end up in political or family value discussions which are very very interesting but still even more tiring.

OK, gotta go now. I will try to meet some of the Entrepreneurship (YES) and HIV (ASK) project interns for ideas. This afternoon I have another meeting of the trainers for the AIESEC conference in August and tonight I will go to the Goethe institute where they show short films from rwanda. Have a good day 🙂

Here you see 2 pics of my new sister Sally and one of a meeting with AIESECers and interns at university.

Get involved: Teaching in Kakamega Forest Reserve Primary School

24 Jul

Under the category “get involved” I want to publish posts in which you can take an active part here in Kenya. I will either describe jobs or ask you for ideas concerning my job.

During our visit in Kakamega Forest Reserve (see here) a farmer asked us to come with him into the school and meet some of the teachers and the headmaster. We were told that for several reasons they don´t have enough teachers to cover all subjects in all 8 grades.

So here is the job offer:
Teaching as a volunteer teacher in the primary school (class 1-8.) in subjects of your choice for a period of your choice. They offer free housing in the usual houses inside the rainforest reserve! The inhabitants of the school are incredibly friendly, curious and hospitable. The kids are soooo sweet, running around barefoot and in their school uniforms and looking at you with their big eyes curiously 😉

Come to Kenya to live and teach inside a rainforest!

If you are interested, just contact me and I can give you the contacts of the headmaster!

First two working days

22 Jul

There are two more girls who have the same job description as I have, their names are Ariel and Di from Taiwan resp. China. We three went to the industrial area near which our slum is. If you want to check where that is, go here

There are two schools in the same area of the slum. The brightstar secondary school (9 to 12) with included primary school and a primary school with classes 1 to 6 which is organised the upnido (love in Swahili) rescue center. We met Naum there, the CEO of the primary school and he explained us everything. Most of the kids are orphans, none of them could afford a school uniform or bus money to go to public schools. There are around 90 kids that are educated by five or six volunteering teachers. In the first two classes the kids english is not good enough that we could teach them. But we were told it would work in grade 3 to 6…

On Monday we just talked and then returned to the city again. Today we three even gave classes… it was pretty funny actually. I joined the science class in grade 4 (sources and use of water, how to store waterin a safe way) and 5 (characteristics of mammals). The kids have exercise books to take notes and a pen each. Then there is one textbook (at least for most of the classes) which the teacher can use and a black board with chalk. Improvisation needed!

The subjects they teach here are Maths, English, Swahili, Science (bio, chemistry, physics), Social Science (history, geography), PE (sports), CRE (cristian religious education), Music and there are HIV-AIDS lessons. On Friday we will get our teaching schedules. Most probably we will be in the two schools Monday through Thursday and reserve the Friday for the organisation of the Kayaba beauty contest. We will see whether such strict schedules work over here 😉

Tomorrow we have the first meeting with the locals who are involved in the Project. It will be the three of us and 3-15 kenyans, which sounds like a really interesting process.