Archive | June, 2011

Winter in Nairobi

28 Jun

In the last week we received visitors from Denmark, Spain, Canada, Russia and Dubai. As much as we told them it is the cold season, they were not really prepared. So let me do this explicitly!

I really dont know how to call it, so that people understand… winter? fall? It doesnt quite fit into Western climate patterns.
We are experiencing the long rainy season in Kenya.

If people think of Africa, they think of heat in the steppe and deserts. If you say it can also be cold, someone might think of the chilly nights in the deserts…

Nairobi is neither in the desert nor in the steppe. It is at the edge of the Kenyan Central Highlands on 1700m. Currently it is rainy, grey, chilly and foggy most of the days. The temperatures vary between 8 and 15 degrees, although you might find a rare sunny hour where it heats up to 20 degrees. On Sunday it rained for 3 hours straight and one of the major roads (near the National Stadium) was flooded around 30cm deep! I clearly remember 2009, where the long rains did not fall and Kenya fell into a crisis of food, water and electricity shortage.

So should someone be happy about the water? I am really not saying this! The infrastructure does not effectively handle the rain. From one season to the other we are falling from one extreme (too much water) into the other (no water).

I really don’t want to upload a picture, please use your imagination to understand how grey and muddy looks like 🙂 So if you come here in July, carry 2 sweaters, warm jeans, socks, closed shoes and a shawl!

How long is the weather going to stay like this? Hard to say! Usually it gets dryer and warmer again in August…

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Bye, Uganda! Tulabagane :-)

16 Jun

My year in Uganda is over… wow, time flies!!!

A great experience in a challenging environment.

Uganda was so beautiful! I just love the green hills, the mist in the valleys, the palm trees and the rain forest atmosphere in the mornings and evenings. Getting used to the food was possible, though not really simple. I lost around 5 kgs in Uganda, I guess due to the heat, the hills and the somehow irregular dinners. Kampala also frustrated me a lot. Kampala can also be dusty and loud. There are things that “don’t work”, people who can’t agree to common sense, wrong directions I was given. Traffic is crazy, but Boda Bodas were a good way out.

The Work was amazing. Quite flexible working hours, working with ambitious individuals, networking with NGOs and corporates. I was able to achieve at least 70% of what I had set out to do. Managing a National Office for an organization is not as easy as thought. I was juggling member motivation, available financial resources, company relations, press, the Board and many more. It was not always easy, but I believe to have left most processes in a better state than when I started. It is about constant improvement 🙂

I made really great friends and we had an intense time together. Eva, my great friend was pregnant and gave birth. Together with the boys Ivan, Matthew and Jimmy we ran the house, crazy madness. The pressure of working on the National Team was too much for some, others just couldn’t get enough of work. The ki-boy and his cup, his girlfriend and his food. The malaria cases that were treated by Chinese doctors. 6 Brazilians in the house, 10 Chinese, 4 Germans, exhausting diversity! Our house warming party on Canada Day. The bomb blast in July. Water shortage in August. Crazy East African days with old friends who we last met in Zanzibar. Nights where we hosted at least 40 people in 21 beds. The elections in February. Interns who kissed at least 4 of the boys on the team. Black and Yellow. The memories will last!

Now I am going to Kenya, for a 2-month engagement! Let’s see how re-integration there will go.

I will definitely come back to Uganda. For a visit or for a job. Tulabagane!

And these are some pictures of my team in the last week 🙂