Hi everyone! Miss you all! Not so much though, life here is so fun and adventurous =P. Like I said before, Oyugis already feels like home and I can’t help but marvel at how quickly that transition occurred. Everyone stopping you to say hello, animals roaming everywhere, and kids yelling “Mzungu” is now an everyday occurrence.
I met our Project Coordinator, Roy, today with Jen and Amanda. As he had been out of town for the past we all we had a bunch of issues to go over. Unfortunately the water tank at the kitchen had toppled over and replacing that will be another expensive investment. None of us are sure how it happened, a possibility is that someone may have been trying to steal it, for which if that was the case then it was a dumb idea on the instigators part. The water tank is massive and can hold up to 3 000 litres of water, not an easy job to pull off...
I was also able to experience first-hand how bureaucracies are slowing the start-up process so much. To just get funds released there are so many signatories involved including travelling to Kisumu which is at least a 1 ½ hour drive. Also for us to purchase a lot of things, out suppliers need to be approved by KEMRI which is so annoying as the process then gets dragged on for weeks! I also learned that there is a straight and corrupt way when it comes to getting access for electricity. Straight way gets you electricity in about 3 weeks if not more, while corrupt way will get you electricity in 2 weeks. Weird eh...
Yesterday was just frustrating for all as the goal was to have the kitchen’s production started on June 1st, 2009 which was then pushed back to July 1st, 2009. It is almost the end of the month and the Mamas have yet to be trained as we need the Mwanza Mamas to come down for the training but they were unable to come this week as they also have their own kitchen commitments to keep. It is just difficult getting things to move forward because of the interdependencies that exist between the tasks. To put it in perspective, what needs to be done now should have been done more than 1 ½ years ago. Getting projects started and keeping them sustainable is of huge concern to the parties involved.
So for the past couple of days we have been introducing Oyugians the card game President. For those of you who have played this game, you know at the end of every game there is a President, Vice President, Vice A-hole and A-hole. It is just how the game works. Well the first time we played it here we played it with Nick, a guy who we befriended from the Internet Cafe. This was a hilarious game as Jen and I in each round played were either the pres or VP and Nick and Amanda switched around the roles of a-hole and vice a-hole. What makes this game even more fun is that the a-hole has to give their 2 best cards to the pres, while the pres returns the favour by giving them their 2 worst cards. VP and VA also participate in this exchange, only that a single card is exchanged. We all had a great time, and it was such a novelty to not be in the a-hole group as I was always a fixture in that group in the past. Haha
We have also been spending a lot of time with the hotel staff today who are so much fun to be around. We mostly hand out with the staff that we are able to communicate in English with. I know our friend circle is limited, but we converse in Luo with the other staff. You can bet these conversations are not long as our Luo is very limited. Anyhow, we also introduced the game President to a few of the staff at Hotel Vesture Villa. Many of the employees here are similar to us in age. They are: Fred (the receptionist), Angela (so sweet and caring, I have dubbed her our Kenyan Mom!), Beatrice (another receptionist who is hilarious), Lencer (pronounce Lenza) and Anok (also works in the reception area). We played President with Beatrice, Anok and Fred last night which was loads of fun as Beatrice and Anok kept winning. What was hilarious is that Amanda again was always the a-hole or the vice a-hole. I had a great time teasing her, especially when she would try to give advice to the other players in the game!
Interesting and Memorable Sightings/ Quotes!
• There is a church called “Oyugis Happy Church!”
• Sunday sermons here are LOUD with the priest practically screaming the sermon. The gospel music played is so loud that the boom of the music echoes throughout the crowd. Also, there are so many churches in the neighbourhood, so you can imagine how noisy it gets on Sunday.
• A drunk man “honouring” us as being his sisters. He asked us to transfer money into his account two minutes later =/
• Having a photo shoot with the hotel staff after a game of President!
• “Buy me a present,” is frequently yelled at us by the kids
• The next door girls being introduced to coloring books and crayons. That was fun.
• Seeing Tracey (next door girl, 2 ½ yrs old) smiling more often! It is so hard to make this girl smile that we have taken it upon ourselves to make her smile more often! She is incredibly photogenic, just like many of the children here.