Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nutrition Team Lands in Kenya

It is hard to believe that we are finally here in this beautiful country of many contrasts. We (Colleen Walton, Christina Tucker, Kaylynne Parkes and myself Jennifer Taylor) landed in Nairobi last night after a long trip. There was a fair bit of turbulence flying over the Maritimes (ironically), flying over Ireland and again between Brussels and Nairobi. Colleen had the arm squeezed off her and the very kind flight attendant brought several cute little bottles of wine, which helped immensely! Two funniest moments: I reached down to pick up a water bottle on the plane and rammed my head rhino style into the flight attendant's bum who was bending over at the same time and 2) when I was eating my very frozen ice cream and flicked a large chunk through the air which landed on the shirt of a nice quy sitting behind us in the middle aisle. And then starting babbling- "So sorry- it is really good- you should have some!" Colleen was wiping her eyes today laughing about it.
Nairobi airport could not have gone more smoothly- luggage arrived in no time; Henry from Safari Tours lived up to his reputation and whisked us through line-ups and to the waiting van like we were movie stars.

The Fairview hotel was a welcome sight, and we marvelled at the beautiful inner courtyard, romantic lighting and warm welcome. Hot showers felt wonderful and we had a quick chat in my room before we toddled off to bed-very tired but happy to be here. Fantastic breakfast this morning- fresh fruit, omelets made to order, excellent coffee and wonderful friendly staff. Dear Henry arrived with Steve our driver and off we went again to downtown Nairobi to pick up re-usable menstruation kits that the nursing team will be distributing next week to young girls in the Meru/Kirua area. Then off to shop...and poor Steve showed that he has the patience of five Kenyan men! Beautiful scarves and fabric, exquisite cherry wood animal carvings..and a chance to see Christina's bartering in action. I had chosen several carved animals, some pottery, earrings etc, and several of the "artists" who were in the store stood around to watch the haggling for the final price. I obviously looked like a person who wouldn't put up much of a fight, but Christina pulled up a chair, we placed all my bootie on a large wicker basket and the jesting began. 1800 shillings- Christina says, No, that is too much. 1600 shillings- she shakes her head and said "this is our first day shopping- we can't buy all of this". When we started to put some things back, the artists whose wares were being put aside protested, and we quickly settled on a compromise. All of us were smiling at Christina- a few of the Kenyans were shaking their heads as if to say "Who would've thought little miss brown eyes was so tough?". Great fun! The best was yet to come, as Steve buzzed us through the busy streets to visit the Kazuri handmade bead craft store on the outskirts of Kenya. So, so many beautiful colors and varieties, and authentic pottery. We were there a long time and I spent the most. Still having trouble with converting back and forth between Kenyan Shillings and dollars. Christina Kaylynne and Colleen all come to my rescue when I start looking glazed eyed.
We were amazed at the traffic whizzing by (on the opposite side of the road, but sometimes in the middle with a bike loaded down on one side and pedestrians on the other-yikes) and Steve
s calm and expert driving. I yacked and took pictures after checking with Steve when it was okay.
Tomorrow we head to Meru and Kirua to begin our work. This rest and relaxation after a long trip was invaluable- and a wonderful time to bond as a team and appreciate the long standing friendships between Farmers Helping Farmers and the Kenyan people. Truly we are benefiting from all who have come before us.

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