Friday, October 4, 2013

child's play

Its been a month of connecting, waiting, traveling, introspecting, reminiscing from 21 years to 86 lifetimes.

In the last month, I have concluded that reincarnation seems like fiction and Karma seems like non-fiction- an oxymoron indeed- for those who know the 3 kinds of Karma…
and that I should not be eating salads in Kenya (read a typhoid misdiagnosis scare)

As for village matters, for everyone who has heard my incessant talks about solar energy in the last couple years, here's an update:
In an effort to find the perfect lamp for sardine fishing, I met the 4 major players in the solar space in Africa in Nairobi and identified a particular product that might have worked well. Armed with a life vest (to venture out in the Lake at night again!), a handheld weighing scale, that "particular" solar lamp and plenty of patience, I arrived in the village only to find these efforts were, well, a bit redundant :)
OSRAM, who I have been in contact for 2 years now, decided to build a we-hub in "my" village :) So, in a couple months, there will be a computer center and solar lamps specially made for night fishing! well, more time to fish for me :)

My plans of teaching yoga and teaching at the orphanage have been thwarted by frequent trips to Kisumu to network with NGOs or to shop for upcoming projects (like right now). Every few days, though, I do get a chance to learn basic Swahili and teach basic English to about a dozen children, who show up at the house, and sit patiently through the 1-2 hour class. Sometimes, we follow it up by a skipping lesson outside :)

Lakeland Youth group is just as active as ever- responsible and hard-working youth who really want to break the cycle of poverty.
I have been able to connect them to Safe Water and Aids Prevention, Yes Youth Can! Nyanza and to Americans Friends of Kenya- AFK.
- SWAP is collaborating with them to make things like water purification tablets, mosquito repellent jelly, detergent, diapers, mosquito nets more accessible to the community. The youth group is dipping their feet into entrepreneurship- by reselling these items that they get at a discount, at retail price.
- Joram, the president of YYC Nyanza visited them last week and promised to connect them to local youth leaders for training and access to funds reserved for IGAs for youth groups.
- and maybe, maybe- one day there will be a library at Honge beach- just as the one in Siaya with the assistance of AFK.

The most exciting development of all, however, is the beginning of a conversation with Small and Micro Enterprise Programme (SMEP). On Monday, we will explore entrepreneurship a bit further- tilapia fishing, poultry farming, bee keeping etc. We have Reinhard from SMEP visiting Uhundha to talk about microloans for a small enterprise and we already have a number of youth ready to sign up.
On to bigger and better things…