Archive | May, 2009

Week 3 – 3 Stories

29 May

Football

Manchester vs. Barcelona in the Champions League finals. You should think nobody cares about this in Kenya. But the truth is that everybody talked about it and most young people watched it. So I went out to a bar in town. Driving home at 3 in the night (heavy rains…. who would have thought so) we had a puncture. I don´t know if that was due to the smashed bottles on the parking lot or the amount of people in that car. For the amounts of alcohol those guys had taken the tyre was quickly changed. Rule number one is to repair a flat tyre immediately (because “otherwise chances are high youn´t fix it at all”) so we searched a 24 hour gas station, repaired it and came home at 5 (totally rained on).

“Jana usiku gurudumu la gari lilitoboka.”

Recording Hip-Hop

One of my friends from last year called me and said that he records a new hip-hop album. So I took the chance to go to the studios with him on Friday evening. He and some of his pals recorded three songs for a mixtape called “Nai”. I was absolutely amazed how they played with the words, how melodic and yet so strong the kiswahili rap sounds.

“Mavijanaa wanapenda ngoma za Hip-Hop”

Camping in Naro Moru

A friend from AIESEC invited us for camping at his uncle´s farm in Central Kenya for the long weekend. So 12 internationals and 4 Kenyans packed their bags, climbed a matatu and we went towarads Mt. Kenya. We enjoyed ourselves cooking outside at the campfire, watching stars at night, playing teambuilding games, swimming in the mountain river, relaxing in the sun or hiking through the forest.

Our host explained us that the forest must be protected from deforestation to preserve Mt. Kenya as the major source of water for the country. On the neighbours´ land we witnessed illegal charcoal burning. We also had some sessions about culture: We exchanged stsories about living in Kenya and advised the newer interns and tried to put Kenya into the Iceberg Modell. Just an amazing weekend 🙂

“Ukitaka kuburudika njia moja ni kutoka nje ya jiji la Nairobi”

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My second week in the Office

26 May

My first week in Kenya was mainly dedicated to Planning Conference. It took place in Namanga, a town at the border to Tanzania. You can see a nice video of the conference on youtube.

Back in Nairobi I decided to sleep in on Monday. During that second week of transition time I started visiting different events of universities based in Nairobi to meet the students and see their places.
I mainly focused on an upcoming conference in July, initiating the takeovers and planning days for all entities in the country and organizing a campaign to get internationals to support our local chapters (CEEDers).

And most importantly I finally got to know Emma, my predecessor. She is a very professional young lady, passionate about our members and the organisatsion and extremely tamu. We talk a lot about her year, my ideas and the realities of the different universities. She is fun, really nice and caring and gives me a lot of support. I am just wow 🙂 It could really be worse…

One more week until my probation period officially starts, five weeks until I have to run the show without Emma.

Emma and Manuela

A morning on the road…

20 May

I am lucky that I can go with my host family in the car to town in the mornings. So we leave the house at 6.30 to be at the uni at 7.30.

One hour of Hope FM on the radio every morning: Gospel music in all sorts and the moderator who keeps reading prayers and happy news what our lord has done for some individuals: This girl who prayed and then she found 1500 KSh on her bank account. The couple who could pay the wedding ceremony, dowry and even the honeymoon without having any money at home. The kenyan student who moved to the USA and listens to Hope FM through the internet at work to inspire his co-workers…

While listening to the radio I watch the “real” Nairobi around me: We are caught in a traffic jam which is mainly caused by bulldozing cars who would not let more than 15 cm space for other cars, moving every 10 cm that you can to keep your current position. We see the police at Globe roundabout getting ready for the daily riots of mechanics who were chased away from their workplaces around Nairobi river. The old trucks who contribute to the congestion by exhausting black smoke like I havent seen it before.

With those thoughts I arrive at the uni… What a nice way to start the day 😉

A wonderful start in Kenya

12 May

After only eight hours of flight (7 of them sleeping on three seats) I arrived in Mombasa. Getting out of the plane I was hit by the heat already: 30 Degrees at 5am! 5 visa counters were open (Note: In Mombasa arriving foreigners are treated better than in Nairobi?), the customs officer was still sleepy and therefore only ten minutes later I left the airport. Short negotiations with the taxi driver and I arrived in town before sunrise.

Zazu, a romanian intern working at the coast, picked me up in town and we went to his place. He was able to get a day off and after Chapati Mayai and Passion Juice as breakfast we left to Diani Beach.

As it is the rainy season (it was pretty dry for that name) the beach was deserted (even more than in October) and we just enjoyed ourselves with a cold Tusker, fruits and jokes on the beach for the whole day. When the tide came in in the evening we were swimming and floating in the really warm water for at least an hour watching the sunset behind the palm trees.

Wow, what a start!

Finally and hesitatingly we went back to Mombasa, where I was invited for dinner by Zazu’s colleagues.

Then after a more bumpy than nice bus trip (will they never tarmac the last piece of the road?) to Nairobi I was invited for breakfast at a friend’s place (cooking inside a dorm room in the student hostel…). Then I did some errands in town and finally was able to get my old number back!

Next steps: Saying hello to moooore people, an agenda dryrun for the conference in the evening, moving in at my hostfamily, last preparations for the conference that starts on Thursday.

And then I am out of town for 4 days with all the responsible students from local and national level. Around 80 of us preparing and planning for our year! One year and seven weeks to be precise.

Gotta go, lunch is waiting for me! (“Lazima ninaenda, lunch ananingoja”, at least I think so…)

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