Friday, June 21, 2013

Sydney here- one of the nutrition interns for 2013. I have to tell you about one of my days in Kenya...
Have you ever woken up and immediately known that it was just not going to be your day? You know those days where you are so grumpy and angry at the world for no apparent reason? Well today was one of those days for me. I was waken up at 6am to the sound of PIGS screeching their little heads off and birds squawking like there’s no tomorrow. I barely slept all night and I was mad at the Internet for not working when I wanted it to. Things just weren’t going my way. I also woke up remembering that I had completely forgotten to inform TWENTY people of a lunch education session I was holding later in the day and then somewhere between 7am and the sound of the pigs screaming, I accidently fell back asleep. I few hours later I woke up in a panic realizing I had fallen back asleep, and had forgotten to set an alarm. See, at 10:30am I was supposed to go to Mamma Salomi’s house for a Champs Education session!
I showed up at Mamma Salomi’s and our women champs greeted us with huge grins on their faces, so happy to see us and show us what they had done. --- They did ALL the cooking – they were all ready and prepared for the education session! I was SOOO happy to see them all there waiting with the food already made, and the nutrition messages studied and ready to be put into action. I spoke with William (the head master of the school that we were supposed to be presenting at) and he was able to scrounge up about 20 parents/teachers to come sit in our session. The champs completely took over and it was so incredible to see. They taught all the nutrition messages to our participants and didn’t even have to use the binders we made them. Because they had LEARNED IT. They didn’t need the notes as guidance; they really knew what they were talking about-or I think they did. …Everything they said was in Kameru so for all I know they could have been talking about how strange the mazungoos were. But I’m pretty sure they were teaching about nutrition. I heard “Vitamin A” and “Orange sweet potato” a few times. Ha Ha!
Mama Salome (Rael), a champion farmer and Muchui woman, explains how to make githeri nutritious with orange sweet potatoes or pumpkin, soaking and adding greens
         So, Megan and I sat back and watched the champs take charge. Today I saw something that really put a smile on my face. I was so proud of the champs and I was also proud of myself, because without me, Megan, Jen, Colleen and the previous nutrition students who have come here (Kaylynne, Christina in 2010, Harrison and Amy in 2011, and Janet Fergie and Sam in 2012), today would not have gone as well as it did. Today I feel like we really accomplished something! I guess this is the reason why today became my favorite work day so far.  I really got to see the women champs take charge of everything. They did all the cooking, all the teaching-they didn’t need us for anything but support. It showed me how enthusiastic they are to learn and how adaptive they are to learning new things and ways to use the most out of the resources they do have, to create healthier meals for their families. The messages we have been teaching for four years, about ways to incorporate the healthy crops that Farmers Helping Farmers have supported them to grow, have been received!

       After our session, there was food left over so we gave the rest to some of the children at the school. There was also a bit of time to kill before we were heading back to the compound, so some of the kids pulled me into a classroom and started singing and dancing for me. So of course I had to join them!! A white girl awkwardly dancing with 30, 3-foot African children was probably not a very pretty sight. After all the singing and dancing I was told that I HAD to teach them something in English…I had no idea what to teach them? I’m not a teacher? I don’t know what 5-8 years are capable of learning? So I took the chalk…and went with it! First I started with the basics…you know 1 +1 = 2, 2 x 2 = 4, but they were catching on a bit too fast so I switched things up. Soon I was telling the children how important it was to have iron, calcium and vitamin A everyday and which foods they could get it from. That sugar was bad for them, and that diabetes is on a rise even in Africa….
Oh my gosh, those kids are smart!! I wish my brain could catch onto things as fast as theirs. 10 bucks says they take everything I told them today back to their families and tell them all about it. Kenyans are so willing to discover new things here and will go to every effort they can, to learn as much as possible.
I have already learned that things do not go as planned, things are never on time; people are not where they are supposed to be and, oh, the list goes on.But I am growing to accept that and I am adapting to it as well. Actually something exciting that I am adapting to is the FOOD! Yay!! I actually find Githeri quite delicious and could have even gone for a second helping...but i didnt. Ha Ha! ….Anyway, another lesson I learned in Kenya is that even though things don’t always go as they are supposed to-everything all works out for the best. Because

Today could not have gone better.

And tonight I will be going to sleep on the right side of the bed :)
Over and out- Syddie (Kimeru pronunciation of Sydney) and Meggie (Kimeru for Megan), nutrition interns.

Monday, June 17, 2013

All settled and ready for the summer

June 17th,  2013

We are finally all settled in the compound with thanks to the sisters and all our supervisors who got us here safe and sound, things are going well and summer 2013 is officially under way!  Everyone is starting to get onto their own schedule! Bio and Nutrition are spending a lot of time together doing home visits that have been going smoothly! The women are very kind in welcoming us into their homes and participating in our research!  We have made some very amazing people along the way and all our new Kenyan friends are helping us to feel at home!

Project two for the biology crew, air sampling is well underway and the data is looking goof! We are looking forward to the next 2 months to making new friends and continuing our internships!
Alicia, Jen, Sydney, Megan, Danielle, Vanessa