Monday, January 30, 2012

FHF AVC Student blog

First week in Kenya!!! After landing in Nairobi Airport last Saturday evening, and after clearing customs, we (Dr. Fabienne, Lloyd, Teresa, Marissa and Mel) were greeted by Henry Macharia of Sportsmen’s Safaris & Tours Ltd. After introductions and a quick round of hugs and handshakes, we set out to see whose luggage had arrived and whose had been lost…
Following this, we met our driver for the next 3 weeks (David) and set out for the hotel! I had had my doubts about how much sleep I would get our first night, but the second my head hit the pillow I was out like a toddler after his first day in Disneyland. The next day, our first farm visit in Kenya was to a Simmental herd in rural Kenya. It was here that I got my first glimpse of Kenya’s sheer, untamed beauty. From rolling hills, to lush forests, everywhere I looked there was something brand new and amazing! While on the ranch, we were lucky enough to snap some pictures of zebras, giraffes, ostriches, and of course, some BEAUTIFUL Simmental cattle. The next day, the FHF group took a quick trip to the Canadian High Commission to check in with the head of CIDA before splitting off into our respective groups. Our travels took us to Mukurwe-ini where we set up shop for the first week and the Ichamara house. After settling in, we were treated to the awesome cooking from Francis, our chef.
Our day-to-day ‘routine’ for the first week has been pretty interesting. Our days usually begin with a trip to the Wakulima Dairy before hitting the road and visiting various dairy farms, or ‘shambas’. When we’re not working with cattle, our time is usually spent in seminars with 30-75 of the local small-holder dairy farmers. These seminars function as a way of getting the farmers together in one place and allow them to voice any and all questions they have regarding nutrition, calf management, or reducing mastitis (an infection of the cow’s mammary gland). As a student, we are expected to participate and field certain questions during the seminar, which was a little stressful at first, but as time went on we all seemed to become more comfortable with answering questions.
So that’s our first week in a nutshell! Next week, we’re off to Meru for a walk-in deworming/ sick-cow clinic on Sunday followed by visits to various dairy groups and seminars.
This is Russ Campbell, signing off.