Monday, August 15, 2011
Research Project Coming to an End!
by: Hannah Hughes
The last couples of weeks were busy, and have flown by! I continued on with my home visits, and have finished up most except two of them. I feel as though I’ve been able to see and experience so much the past couple of months by the Muchui women kindly letting me into their homes, but I am sad to see my time working in the community coming to an end! I am so excited to see the final results of this project, after part two has been completed in two years time. I’m grateful to have been able to be a part of it!
On August 4th, Harrison and I got to go on a little adventure with three of the Muchui women who we have been working with, Emily, Dorene, and Cecilia. They let us tag along for the day while they went to collect wood on one of the hills in the Kiirua area. We were able to collect wood on Dorene’s farm, as she owns land on most of the hill. It is illegal to take wood from land that you do not have permission to be on, so these women are lucky to know someone nearby who has trees that can be cut for firewood. We walked about 2 kms from Emily’s house to Dorene’s, and then proceeded up the mountain another km before we could start collecting wood. There is an area of 2-3 kms once you get to the top of the hill that these women usually collect wood from. As I tried to help out, I learned very fast that they have precise methods of collecting firewood. There are specific sizes of wood that they collect, and certain types that they don’t collect at all. I suppose this makes sense that the women would develop a strategy of what works best if they must collect wood anywhere’s from three times a week to everyday. While Harrison documented our adventure, I got to help the women cut down wood. At first I was a little nervous of swinging the huge machete, but after a little while I got the hang of it. Although, me getting the hang of it doesn’t mean I was able to cut down wood very efficiently. It is extremely hard work, and the women thought it was hilarious how terrible I was at cutting wood. So even though I wasn’t able to contribute as much help as I would have liked to, I provided them with some entertainment for the day. It was a great experience, and has really put into perspective how hard the Muchui women have to work to provide for their families every day. I have so much respect for them.
As schools have closed for the term, a lot of them have been busy with projects while the students are absent. We stopped at Kinyinjere Primary School one day on our way home from home vists, and there was a lot going on there! The school has been getting prepared for their new water tanks by building the bases for them, and the entire school (except for the new addition donated by the VanLeeuwens) is currently being painted to brighten the school up! Along with those projects, the school is also harvesting their crops (which did very well this year) in order to sell them and make a profit to support the students in the upcoming school year. It is great to see them doing so well.
The nursing girls summed up the last little while pretty well. It was very sad to see Harrison and Amy leave, and exciting to welcome the Italians! It is hard to believe that we will be arriving in Charlottetown a month from today! Time has flown by.