Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Down to Business

    Date: Friday June 5 and Saturday June 6

    Quote of the day: You never appreciate what you have.


    Friday was AMAZING. It was our first real day in the kitchen and we met 12 of the Yogurt Mamas who are volunteering to produce and distribute the yogurt. They are all family and belong to a community group called the Orande Women's Group. Two of the women who had travelled to Tanzania for training did a demonstration on the yogurt production process. Many of the women do not speak English very well but they were all very welcoming and I am excited to get to know them better over the next 3 months.


    For the remainder of the day Jen and I grilled Roy with questions to assess the current situation at hand and to decide on the necessary tasks which must be completed before production begins. Everyday Roy has been reminding us of the many challenges that exist and the urgency of getting this project up and running. One of the most difficult challenges arises from the obligation to complete the required tasks set out in the project proposal 2 years ago. Unfortunately a lot of these tasks are unnecessary and simply impeding the process of starting production. As well it is a ridiculously long and complex process to obtain the funds from Western Heads East and this is causing many problems with purchasing necessary supplies and raw materials.


    In summary...there are many challenges that must be overcome before we can start production and this is not a simple task. Doing business in Kenya is completely different, a lot slower, and things just do not go as planned. We are working hard to ensure that this project will not fail because it is truly incredible and there are a lot of very committed people who are going to make it work. :)


    On Saturday we pretty much went over our main goals and objectives for the next couple weeks:

  1. Start production July 1st at the very latest
  2. Assign study subjects to each distribution centre and formalize procedure with the distribution centres
  3. Assess customer reactions
    • Their perception of the product
    • Random informal surveys
  4. Marketing plan in Oyugis
    • Poster campaign, in-field marketing
    • Design business cards/packaging material
  5. Kitchen-front signage
  6. Selection of women & their roles in the Probiotic Yoghurt kitchen
  7. Design record keeping system for the study and sales
  8. Training

    We went on another really nice beautiful walk around Oyugis. This time Roy took us to explore some other parts of the village. It is absolutely beautiful...I never want to leave this place!


    Most memorable moments:

  10. Roy teaching us how to eat chicken with our hands. We will no longer be using cutlery for much anymore! WOOHOO :) I also tried Chapati, kinda like a tortilla but different...really good.
  11. The walk home from the kitchen. Oyugis was very busy with lots of people getting ready to go home after a busy day in the town marketplace. It is packed with people (all Kenyan) and a large group of children in their school uniform passed us singing loudly. Children really do live life happily and freely around here, always playing and smiling, running around and chanting "MAZUNGU! MAZUNGU!" at us...ALL THE TIME! (remember it means white person..they love chanting it at us)
  12. Waking up to 3 young children (ages about 11, 8 and 3) doing the family's laundry in buckets of water outside our hotel window
  13. Tasting the yogurt! It tasted a little sour but after being in the freezer overnight it was AMAZING.
  14. Riding a Boda Boda (bicycle taxi) for the first time! SO MUCH FUN :) We ride these every morning to the kitchen now...only 10 shillings = $0.10. I could ride these all day long...the cushion on the back is so comfy too!
  15. The # of times Roy says "Sorry"→ he uses it whenever anything bad happens to us...like tripping, dropping a phone, a piece of paper falling on the floor, curtain blowing in the wind in Jen's face, Jen's shoe untied, etc.
    • Probably the funniest thing ever! We crack up every time he says it...he's catching on and doesn't wanna say it anymore.
  16. Seeing children bathing and playing in a muddy pond...they will most likely get sick from it :(
  17. Getting caught in the rain!!! We took shelter for a while as the rain poured down around us and in the distance the sun shined through the dark clouds onto a beautiful hill far away. Kenya is beautiful.

    Greatest learning experiences about Kenya:

  19. Some girls take the Emergency Contraceptive Pill every morning! It only costs 75-100 shillings = about $1
  20. Genital mutilation/female circumcision still exists in some areas
  21. An old tradition: they used to remove the 6 lower front teeth...an extremely painful procedure!
  22. Polygamy has died down but still exists
  23. There is a trend towards independent women→ single women are raising children however they are usually obliged to get married if poor or pregnant





  1. amanda - you have your work cut out for you here. best of luck!