I’m not really sure where to begin. Everything, and I mean everything, has a story or adventure. I’ve already gotten to the point where very little of the lifestyle actually phases me. It’s just how things are done.
After a roughly seven hour car ride west of Nairobi that took us across the Rift Valley, I arrived in Enoosaen. The village is located in the Trans Mara West district. If you look on a map find Narok (the county headquarters), and I’m about an hour drive west of Narok.
The best way to describe Enoosaen compared to where I was previously is to say that my village life has now merged with farm life. Outside of the village “business” center, houses are more spread out. Coming into Enoosaen the fields are covered by tea and sugarcane fields. There is a tea and sugarcane factory in the area, and the pollution from the factory is quite troubling given its proximity to the school.
The majority of the local population is Maasai. The Maasai measure their wealth in terms of livestock, cows in particular. As Mama Kakenya said “that is my bank” when referring to her cows. Mama Kakenya has been kind enough to take me in as there are not any hotels in the immediate area. She isn’t exactly sure how many cows she has, but she can easily pick out her cows or donkeys as we are walking up the road. Rough estimates based on what I can count is over 50 cows, about 40 sheep, 25 goats, 5 donkeys, 20 chickens, 5 dogs, and 4 cats. (I’m sure I’m missing some as the other day I just noticed a puppy for the first time.)
In the Maasai culture, the women do a significant amount of the work, almost all of it being physical in nature. My back hurts just looking at how many hours they spend bent over with straight legs, whether it’s washing dishes or clothes in buckets, washing the floors, or milking the cows. I am continually amazed and impressed with what these women do on a daily basis.
We’ve now entered the rainy season so add a lot of mud into the visual pictures you are creating in your mind. There are times when roads are not passable because of the mud. It is about a 3km walk from where I’m staying to the office and school. Thank goodness as this is the only real exercise I’m getting nowadays.
I’ve stepped into a very busy and exciting period at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. There are in the process of beginning construction on a new school. The first phase will launch as a high school early next year, but eventually it will serve K-12. A construction project manager has yet to be hired, so the program manager and I have been tag teaming to keep the project moving forward.
On one of my first days onsite at the new school, the water drilling team had just reach water. They had to go about 175 meters down (575 ft) to reach good water. There was quite the crowd that came out to see the water. I’m told this is one of the first water pumps in the community.
The pieces that I’m working on are preparing the site for construction (this involves cows clearing the sugarcane from the fields!) and preparation for Dwell Earth, a group that will be coming in October to train locals on how to make a dry earth block (brick). It is a pretty neat process that I’m looking forward to learning more about. Here is a video of the block making process from a project in Zambia.
I’ve also been tasked with developing a curriculum for the organization’s health and leadership training, which will be used to train trainers in order to expand the reach of the program, and a number of projects with the school girls.
I could go on, but it has taken me long enough as is to get this post up. So I’ll wrap it up here.