Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ahero football! (I love football)

Date: Monday July 5 to Sunday July 11
Day 35 to 41
Quote of the week: "Sports are 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration" 

This week the other three interns left to go on Safari so it was just Ellena and I together in Oyugis. The week was really great and I enjoyed being on my own running around doing errands (while Ellena did interviews for her research). I really enjoy the experience of working alone in Oyugis but it is challenging and extremely tiring at times. I spent the entire week preparing for the Music Festival next week :) There is so much to do and very little time...Ellena and I are exhausted!
There is an organization called SEP (Society Empowerment Project) in Kotieno, a nearby village, which hosted a football tournament on Saturday to empower girls. SEP is the organization that is working with the American girl, Aliza, with the inflatable television screen for the World Cup. I helped out with the tournament and it was absolutely amazing! Aliza and I were there all day from about 10am - 3pm, there was music blasting, and we brought Fiti Yogurt and some bread to give to all of the girls for lunch. The tournament was so great and I loved it! Some of the kids are unbelievably talented football players. By the end of the day there were over 50 girls who had participated and I was so impressed with SEP. I love football and I love kids so it was the perfect day :)
After the football tournament on Saturday I realized what I want to do in terms of international development work. I really want to do something with children and football...possibly starting up recreational centres focused on empowerment through sport. I have a strong passion for children and I believe that sports are essential in a kid's life. Not only are sports important to develop certain skills and for the health and fitness of a child but they will help keep kids motivated and away from other not so great things. At the end of the tournament Aliza and I made some speeches to all of the girls. I encouraged the girls to continue practicing "pile pile" ("every day" in Luo), and to follow their dreams and work hard. It was such a great day and I was really happy.
Fiti Yogurt - Western Heads East:
• I started getting every document that we give the Mamas translated into Luo. Communication is so important and I thought it would be a good idea to translate everything to ensure that as many Mamas as possible are informed about everything. The documents included the interns' goals, meeting minutes, and information about the upcoming music festival.
• The Oyugis Mamas decided to increase their wages from 50 Ksh to 100 Ksh (approx. $1.25) per day which is great!

• Some students from Ongiya Disi Preparatory School are coming to do some performances at the Music Festival. Ongiya Disi is the incredible school that the other interns and I supported last year. The children are very talented and truly inspirational and I know that they will put on a terrific performance like they always do.
• We are getting 100 t-shirts branded with the new Fiti Yogurt label that we have created. 50 t-shirts are for the Yogurt Mamas and interns while the other 50 are going to be given out for free to the first 50 customers who purchase 50 Ksh worth of yogurt. We are also getting 2 big banners made which both kitchens can use in the future. We are hoping that they will take the banners to the market when they sell yogurt.
• We have four different musicians/bands from Oyugis performing throughout the day. Ellena and I went to check out all of the groups this week to see them perform and discuss the festival.
• I spent a lot of time with my good friend Dennis putting up posters and giving out invitations/flyers for the Music Festival in Oyugis, Kadongo, and some other towns in between. We had a lot of fun and I appreciated him coming around with me...thanks Denno! :) The flyers are a lot more effective and important than the posters. Everyone wants a personal flyer...we had to emphasize to everyone that you don't need a flyer to attend, everyone is welcome!
Most Memorable Moments
• My best friends (aka the boys) speak to me in Luo now, it’s awesome. Everyone knows I am learning Luo and that I try to speak it as much as possible so the boys will sometimes say full sentences to me in Luo joking around but I will have no idea what they are saying. They always call me "bwana!" which is like "omera" (in Luo) or "man/dude" (in English). I also say "bwana" all the time now. It is hilarious, and I love it :)
• Saturday evening I helped Mama Sophia by carrying a tub of yogurt packets to the spot where she sells in the market. On the way there I stopped to chat with some people who were doing a marketing event for some radio station with a big truck and a PA system. I was asking them about their stage (aka truck) when all of these people started buying yogurt from me. It was really fun; I sold 17 packets in about 10 minutes :) I think it is a lot easier to sell something as a mzungu, so I really do respect what the Mamas are doing.
• I had a really interesting conversation with a local when I was buying credit (aka cell phone minutes) across the street on Saturday night. We talked a lot about Canada and Kenya and the reasons for poverty: the high population growth rate, education, and the government. I appreciated when he commented about how social I am with the made me happy to hear that :)
• Aliza and I went to the new hotel next door for some amazing live music. It was a group of four men with locally made instruments (a drum, string instrument similar to a violin, and a triangle type instrument) and they were so incredible! We danced and I even played the triangle, it was so much fun.
• Watching the World Cup Final at Sports House with the boys....YAY SPAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Life in Oyugis
• There is a swing fair ride in town and it is AMAZING! People have been setting up the ride for a couple days now in Raila Grounds (the big open space where our Music Festival will be held) but it finally started operating on Tuesday and I saw the first run. It costs 20 Ksh (about $0.25 CAD) to ride and it lasts for a couple minutes. It is similar to the swing rides we have back home at amusement parks but with an African touch. Some of the other interns think it is super sketchy but of course I think it is so cool and I couldn't wait to ride it! :) I finally rode it on Sunday night with my good friend Morris and it was sooooooooooooo AWESOME! I was definitely the craziest person on the ride grabbing the swings on either side of me to spin.
• I saw a group of young children smiling and dancing around a burning pile of garbage. Although it’s not great for the environment, it’s a source of entertainment for the kids.
• I learned a little bit from a good piki piki friend of mine about the life of a piki piki (motorbike) driver. Most of the drivers don't own the motorbikes, they pay a flat rate to the owner every day and the money that they make from day to day can fluctuate significantly. He explained to me the importance of customer service and being friendly. It was really cool... I love learning more. I appreciated when he commented on how I came back to Oyugis and how I ask so many questions because I must be interested and enjoy learning about it.
• Chillin' with the boys at their hangout spot outside Sports House is now my favourite past time :)
Life in Kenya
• A local friend of mine commented how Kenya's leaders are leaders only by title, not by example. It is sad but true. Unfortunately nepotism is too common here.
• There is a fairly popular legal drug called mirra that I've seen a couple people chewing these days. It is a plant, a mild stimulant that gives you a slight high and keeps you up for hours. You chew the bark of the plant and it is usually taken with gum or ground nuts (aka peanuts). I was told by some friends who were chewing it that it is one of Kenya's main cash crops.

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