Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Projects

So much happens everyday that by the time I get around to writing a blog post I am so excited about one thing that I forget to mention other fun things. This week I learned that I need to be less afraid to embarrass myself because the majority of my most memorable Kenyan experiences have been the result of being placed in incredibly awkward and humiliating positions. On Sunday, we were invited to attend Mama Jen's church in kiirua. We arrived as the Sunday Schol kids were singing and promptly got asked to sing and dance with them. We looked like fools, incredibly off-beat and muttering because we didn't know a single word to any of the songs. Once the actual service started, the women's choir stood up and sang and danced. Of course we got asked to join them, and let me tell you, Kenyan women can definitely dance. I'm not sure how it's even possible to move the way they do. And then there we were standing beside them, trying to watch their dance moves and dance with them and instead were flailing around out of sync, and bumping into women who actually knew what they were doing. As idiotic as we looked, it was so much fun! I need to get the guts to put myself in ridiculous situations like that at home too.

We met with a focus group from the Ruuju women's group today to get some help with our new projects. I saw our but really I mean the UPEI / Farmers Helping Farmers projects that will be completed this summer by the new students. Part of the project is to assess food insecurity in the area by doing home visits with some of the women and completing a questionnaire used to quantify how severely food insecure the household is. We are using an assessment tool developed in the US and are adapting it to accomodate kenyan culture. We used the focus group to determine standard definitions of households etc. We also used them to help us learn what was considered appropriate in terms of foods and what foods were preferred and what foods were consumed when there were inadequate resources to obtain preferred foods. I really really wish I was staying all summer to be part of this project! It's really interesting and I am excited to see what the outcome of the research is. I'm sure they'll learn a lot and discover some unexpected tidbits about kenyan food insecurity.

When we first got funding, I thought that there was no way I'd want to come back for a full 3 months. I was ecstatic to be coming for 3 weeks, but 3 months is a whole different story. I missed a lot last summer in terms of family events and such and after being away for so long I wasn't sure I'd want to miss it all again for a second year in a row. Now that I am here though, I wish I was here for 3 months! The new project is soo interesting and I am back into the Kenya-groove. We have been seeing all of the people we met last year and have met more key informants and I realized again why I love this country, this culture and the work that I get to do here. I need to find a job doing something just like this for when I'm done internship in November. I'm already dreading having to leave in 2 more weeks...

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