Well its here, my last night in Kenya.
We left North Maragoli this afternoon and are staying in Kisumu tonight since we are flying out from here tomorrow evening. I am happy to say that despite all the roadblocks, frustrations, and delays, we have opened a fully functioning Probiotic Yoghurt Kitchen AND Lab in the Muungano Special School!
We had our big Kitchen opening on Saturday and it was a hit! Everyone loved our [slightly lumpy] first batch of yoghurt! It was especially great seeing the children that came enjoying it (without adding sugar!). We even had a local choir that uses the school grounds to practice serenade the crowd with a few traditional songs, that added a wonderful touch to the day.
Despite the success of the first day, it didn’t come easy. GIllian and I had many late night trips to the Kitchen/Lab during the preceding days to make sure the probiotic was ready and then to actually prepare the yoghurt for the opening day. Needless to say we were completely exhausted, but it was all worth it to open the kitchen after so much waiting. It was also great to give the mamas the opportunity to finally make the positive impact on their community that they have been contemplating since last year when they learned of the Yoghurt Program from the Mamas in Oyugis.
Since the opening we had a few setbacks. Most of which involved our supply of milk…you would think in an area where everyone and their brother owns a cow it would be easy to come by…this is definitely not the case. We ended up using a supplier from Eldoret for the last few days but just this morning we had to change our supplier again due to a falling out with this one. This newest supplier seems much more keen to work with us and is even willing to deliver right to the school (the other one was not). We are also receiving 5L/day from Kenneth, a Member of the HIV Group that spawned our wonderful group of “Mamas” I use the Mama term loosely here as Kenneth himself works as a “Mama” in the Kitchen, he is scheduled for Thursdays so unfortunately we never got to work with him in the kitchen, but he is a wonderful and reliable person that we were happy to purchase milk from.
Also, another problem we encountered was a non-functioning fridge, which resulted in the souring of about 8L of milk (quite the dilemma) but, since it is still under warranty the repairs should be complete by the end of the week! So no more problems there!
Getting the HIV/AIDS Registry completed was also a task and a half, the list of 55 people was only finalized in the last few days and it took all my time to get it organized and have the identity cards completed before our departure today.
In the end though, we did it. Tonight has just been one big sigh of relief (not to mention having a huge sense of accomplishment). Feeling accomplished though, does not mean we’re completely happy about leaving….
This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, regardless of any complaining I may have done in the beginning. I am going to miss Kenya tremendously, the way of life, the scenery, the nature, but most of all the amazing people and adorable children. I want to thank everyone who made this adventure as amazing, meaningful, and life-changing as it was. Including my fellow interns who shared in both the accomplishments and frustrations, as well as Louise and all the staff members at Muungano without the support of the school this project never would have been such a success.I have many high hopes for the future of this project….and who knows maybe I’ll be back in a year or two to see how things are progressing!
I’ll end this post in the most appropriate way I can…pictures.
Thanks for following along all summer!