Hamjambo from Isebania! Despite torrential rain, delayed research visas, and a couple bad traffic jams, we made it into Isebania at 9pm last night! Isebania is the last town on the road leading to Tanzania and has its own marketplace (where we bought a lot of water today – 8 cases for $24!). This morning, we drove into our partnering village, Muchebe, which is down a side road from Isebania. Muchebe is a rural farming village, with the biggest crop historically being tobacco.
Our team is so excited to be leaving for Kenya on this Tuesday, August 11th. We’re all meeting for the first time this summer in JFK airport and flying to Amsterdam, with about a twelve hour layover. We hope to potentially explore the city and try some team building activities. We depart again that evening and leave for Kenya. Once arriving in Nairobi, we’ll activate our phones, exchange some money, and prepare other supplies. Then we begin our 6-8 hour drive to Isebania and Muchebe.
After a glorious 8 hours of sleep (at least double what I've been getting the past week between exams and travel), we began our day in Migori, a larger village 20 minutes away from Isebania. We met with James, a manager at Alliance One International (the company that owns the shed on which we hope to build another rainwater catchment system for Muchebe), to discuss the feasibility of our project proposal. James was very welcoming and supportive of our project, and he particularly noted his shared focus on sustainability.
After several days of traveling across three continents, the team finally arrived in Nairobi yesterday morning. There, we boarded a small bus with our drivers Kumau and Daniel, and drove through the heart of Nairobi to begin our over seven hour journey to Muchebe. The sights and activity of the city were overwhelming at first, but I soon let my jet lag overwhelm me and drifted off to sleep. I later found out that Grace had repeatedly hit my head with a water bottle to wake me up as we drove into the Great Rift Valley, though at the time I was completely unaware of this!
T-minus 24 hours! This time tomorrow, Brendan, Cecilia, Roan and I will be in flight, well on our way to Muchebe, Kenya, and the start of our 2105 assessment trip! We will be preparing to install a second rainwater catchment system in Muchebe. For everyone at reading at home, a rainwater catchment system is a complex of gutters and tanks that collects and stores fresh rainwater, providing Muchebe with a much needed source of drinking water. Cecilia and Brendan both traveled to Kenya last year as part of the Kenya team of Engineers Without Borders, Princeton.
My history teacher once told me that "if you think about Africa, you should think about kinship groups." Since the Bantu migration to Sub-Saharan Africa, people have largely formed societal groups based on their kins and interacted with others based on their connections with other people. It did not take long for us to recognize the importance of connections and connectivity in Kenya.
Hi! Welcome back to the EWB Kenya team blog! I know that you have been anxiously waiting to hear from us since our assessment trip this January to Muchebe Primary School in Kenya, and we apologize for not staying in touch: truth be told, over the past six months, we have been totally engrossed in designing and planning a rainwater catchment system that we want to build at the primary school in Muchebe.
The past few days have been so busy that only now are we able to look back and relate all we have experienced. We are nearing the end of our journey here in Kenya, since tomorrow morning at 9:00 we head out for Nairobi for our flights back to Princeton.