The view from a matatu – or the first week in Kenya

After a 13-hour-flight through Doha, we arrived exhausted but happy in Nairobi. A quick lunch later we set off on a bumpy ride to Molo, our town of deployment. In Molo we were welcomed for dinner by Edita, our local coordinator working for People in Peril Association (PIPA) and the staff of the Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA).

We spent the first night in a local hotel that transported us back to British colonial times. In the morning the colourful resort was eerily empty with only a few staff sweeping and mopping the floors. I enjoyed the much-needed rest and the delicious breakfast (bananas and melons included) but felt strangely awkward when the concierge carried some of our luggage to our car. It was time to carry on with our journey and leave the British colonial past in the past. However, our onward journey ended quite abruptly after the matatu (Kenyan minibus) got stuck under the weight of our luggage on a muddy uphill road. This is when I realised that the road to economic development must be paved. We continued on foot through Molo which gave us the chance to catch a first glimpse of our home for the next six months.  The following hours were spend visiting our new accommodation, making arrangement and preparing for a two-day stay in Nakuru, a nearby town and a week-long stay in Nairobi.

Our first meeting took place at the French embassy where we were briefed on security issues and discussed possibilities of visibility actions for EUROSHA. Meeting World Vision and the Kenyan Red Cross gave us a further opportunity to present the EUROSHA project and establish ties with those key humanitarian players. We were also given the opportunity to meet the Map Kibera Trust, volunteers who became known for mapping Kibera, the second biggest slum in the world. I was humbled to see their basic working conditions and impressed by their motivation and hard work. We learned about their projects and discussed possible collaboration. Throughout the stay in Kibera, I couldn’t help wondering – how do I deserve to be where I am now? Why am I not one of the slum dwellers struggling to make a living? These thoughts, however, disappeared  as soon as we set off on the road back to Molo. Now its time to plan for the coming week and meet the local authorities in our area.
Barbara (EUROSHA – Kenya team)


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