These past couple days have gone by in a blur. We’ve made a lot of progress on the implementation of our new rainwater catchment system. The concrete is curing, the gutters have been sealed, the trenches have been dug (some of us have blisters… well mostly Roan), and some pipes have been laid! We’re expecting to continue laying pipes, and the six ginormous water tanks should arrive early next week.
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.