On Saturday, we took about a 9 hour bus ride from Nairobi to Usenge. Before we left Nairobi, we met up with one of our GYEC Kenya counterparts, Oti. At our stop in Kisumu, we met up with another member of our team, Mona. When we finally arrived at our house in Usenge, we only had a short time to unpack and eat dinner, as the sun sets around 6:30 or 7:00. Everyone in the house seems to be very enthusiastic about the work that we will be doing : )
Sunday, we had a short meeting to discuss our goals and plan a schedule for our first week in Usenge. After our meeting, we walked to town to attend our first HIV/AIDS peer education meeting. The topic of the meeting was treatment for HIV/AIDS and medication adherence. Next week, we will facilitate the meeting, and we’ll be discussing the biology of HIV/AIDS. We are planning to meet with the peer educators every Sunday for the duration of our time in Kenya.
Today, we are in Kisumu (about a 2 hour bus ride from Usenge) to stock up on some groceries for our house. Since we don’t have refrigeration, we are planning on buying food that will last long, such as rice, lentils, and beans.
As for the rest of the week, we will be visiting 2 early-childhood development centers (ECDs) and screening a house to prevent malaria (see post below for explanation).
We are very excited for the time that we will spending in Usenge!!!
Naveed, Nura, and Olivia picked us up from the airport late Monday night after 42 hours of traveling. Sam, whom we met last summer in Kenya, drove, and it was very good to see our friend! All five of us interns are currently residing at Milimani Backpacker’s Lodge in Nairobi. We’ve just been catching up on sleep and taking advantage of the internet before we head to rural Usenge. We also debriefed the GYEC projects and their progress. The other three interns will leave Nairobi on Friday, and we will leave for Usenge on the same day. Today it rained and the power was out so we spent hours playing cards and Trivial Pursuit Steal (very fun!) We had planned on going to play with baby elephants at the elephant orphanage but we had to wait and meet OT, our Kenyan GYEC counterpart, to arrange for Friday.
Tomorrow we will head into Nairobi to run some errands, one being fixing our Kenyan phone or purchasing a new one. Our battery is broken as well as the outgoing email function. While we won’t be able to use the phone frequently due to the lack of electricity in Usenge, we will have it for emergencies.
We will update again as soon as we get settled into our house. We are very excited to get to Usenge and learn about the community firsthand, meet our neighbors and make a timeline for our goals of the projects.
For the next three months, Leah and I will be working with Global Youth and Education for Change in rural Usenge, Kenya:
History: Global Youth for Education & Change was founded in 2007 by Jeanne Gazel, PhD, Rachel Frank, B.A. and Paul Brown, A.M. to provide support to a local South African community devastated by a growing orphan population due to HIV-AIDS. Since then, the organization has expanded to include a presence in rural western Kenya and a partnership with Village Summit, a grassroots community center in Lansing, MI. With a focus on collaboration and empowerment, GYEC has served hundreds of children, youth, and adults in the US and abroad.
Mission: To transform under resourced communities around the world by promoting youth empowerment through workforce and livelihood development.
Values: Leadership as service: Our actions directly reflect our words and vice versa. We know we dont have all the answers, and were comfortable knowing that learning is a vital part of living. We share what we know in order to nurture the development of others. Mutually-beneficial relationships: We work with our partners. Wer’e co-collaborators, recognizing that knowledge and expertise flow in both directions. We dont take over or save the day. We do our best to make things better by adding value to what’s already being done.
Specifically in Usenge, Leah and I have several main projects on which we will be working:
For the next three months, we will have limited access to internet but will attempt to update as soon as possible! In the meantime check out:
With love always,