What a week it has been!!! Upon our arrival in Meru we met Jennifer lovingly called our Kenyan ‘Mom.’ Few to no people who have traveled to Kenya with FHF have not shared an ethnic meal and a great big laugh with her. Her home is a sort of haven for us ‘Muzungu’ or white travelers in this part of Kenya and was a pleasant way to start our second week in Kenya.
Our first activity was presenting a seminar on bovine zoonotic diseases to the dairy of Mukindu. We later learned that many people had been sick with some of the diseases we discussed and the seminar helped them realize how they may have contracted them and that some were preventable. The next day we held our walk-in clinic. We de-wormed over 200 cattle and treated another 50 with tick borne diseases and an assortment of other ailments. It was an exhausting day but we were pleased to have been able to help so many farmers in such a short time.
This week we continued our work with two dairy groups and we were joined by two Kenyan veterinary students from the University of Nairobi. After completing our seminars with them we were able to meet some of their members. Our most rewarding moment was when we were able to hear how the quality of life had improved with some farmers who had made some changes we had recommended in previous years. They were able to improve the health of their cows with small changes in management and thus increase their milk production and income. It was particularly impressive to the students, as the culmination of FHF’s efforts.
Lastly, I’d like to mention the manner in which dairy groups have expressed their gratitude for our time (which, they say is never long enough). Some of the dairy board members admitted that they were unable to thank us appropriately in English and instead wanted to show us their appreciation by giving us a few Kenyan goods to commemorate our experience with them. The gifts were in the form of caps and belts for the gents and for the ladies bracelets and ‘shukas’ or wraps ‘to be worn in the kitchen while doing the washing,’ as mentioned while being presented by an elder chairman of a dairy.
It has been a busy and exhausting week but we continue to be astounded by the beauty of this country and its people. This weekend we’re off to Sweetwater’s Ol Pejata Safari Park for a little R & R. Tune in next week for stories about our experience there and those of our last week in Kenya.
Thanks for reading; this is Marissa Steinberg, signing off.