Yesterday, we were lucky enough to get to join the women at the Muchui Business Center for the annual planting of banana tree seedlings.
We spent the morning at Kinyenjere Primary School talking to some students about the food groups and playing with them during their lunch break. Around 1:30, Martin picked us up on his way to the center from Nairobi in the gypsy. We were expecting to barely fit into the truck because we were told that he was bringing with him 2000 banana tree plants. We told him we could walk if there wasn't enough room but he just laughed at us and said he's try his hardest to squeeze us in. When he pulled up outside the school, we were shocked that the gypsy wasn't packed to the roof with banana trees. Obviously we were way off in what we expected because Martin opened up the back of the truck for us to climb in and sitting on the seat was a small cardboard box all nicely sealed with packing tape. I guess we knew that the banana tree seedlings would be tiny, but we still weren't expecting how tiny!
When we got to the business center, there were a large group of women waiting for us to start planting. We made our way into the greenhouse where martin quickly separated each variety of banana into it's designated spot, and gave a quick demonstration of proper planting procedures. This demonstration was in kimaru, so Christina and I just kinda of chilled in the background waiting for an english lesson once the women were experts. We were a little worried that we would be banana planting failures, and that all the seedlings we planted would wither away and die, but Martin reassured us that our planting skills were quite fine.
We were expecting to spend hours in the greenhouse planting, but with all the women that showed up, it only ended up taking about 30 minutes. I took almost as long to coordinate a group photo afterward but the group was in good spirits and we think everyone had fun. We did at least! Somehow, all of the other women planting had this magical ability to stay clean. They had a little bit of mud on their hands, but other than that their clothes and feet and legs and arms were spotless. We couldn't say the same for ourselves. We had mud all over our legs up to our knees, mud up to our elbows, and we had clearly sat in something because we had giant mud spots on our pants. Not to mention our faces must have gotten itchy half way through planting because there were some mud spots on our cheeks too. The women quickly ushered us to the water tap to shower off as soon as the planting was done, and weren't exactly satisfied with the job we had done as we were heading into the gyspy to go home still pretty much covered in mud, it was simply no longer layered on so thick.
We decided that if the whole nutritionist/ dietitian plan falls through, we might have to move to Kenya to become professional banana planters.