Thank you all for your kind messages about the events of last week. It meant so much to me that many of you took the time to reach out and ensure that I was okay. 🙂
This past week has been a lot better and I’ve been able to make a lot of progress on my projects of evaluating current community kitchens and creating a map of their locations as well as a universal database. So far we have visited around 6 kitchens, each with their own unique characteristics and strengths. The trek between all the kitchens can be exhausting, especially with the sun beating down and being unable to drink during the day due to fasting in the month of ramadhan. I have to make sure that I stay hydrated by drinking lots of water in the evening after sunset and again before sunrise.
A typical kitchen visit involves first travelling to the kitchen (generally by a combination of Dala Dala and walking) – we usually meet with our friend Kato who serves as both a guide and translator between the different kitchens. Upon reaching the yogurt kitchen we introduce ourselves to the mamas and explain the types of questions we will be asking and why. We then proceed to ask questions such as when their kitchen was established, how much yogurt they produce, how much they sell it for, challenges faced in their kitchen as well as plans for future growth among others. I have gotten used to asking some of the basic questions in Swahili but still require Kato to provide a more detailed description of the questions and an accurate translation of the answers I am looking for. I have since been working on compiling all of the data with my fellow interns, comparing notes and creating a master copy of the interview data gathered. It has been an amazing learning experience so far, being able to see firsthand how running probiotic yogurt kitchens has changed the lives of so many women and provided them with independence and empowerment to be able to create a better life for themselves and their families.
Bob and Jessica (who are involved in directing the Western Heads East Program and our Internships) arrived on Wednesday after visiting the Kenya and Rwanda hubs. It was great to see them and update them on our work so far as well as plan out the future for our projects. We attended a very informative meeting at the Kivulini Women’s Rights Organization as well as at Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) as we look to expand the probiotic yogurt program and raise awareness to all the health benefits. Bob and Jessica’s visit ended off with us spending Saturday afternoon on Saanane Island, one of the highlights of our trip so far! There was such a wide variety of plant and animal life on the island and I had great fun capturing photos during our time there. An unexpected hike upwards through the rocks led us to the most breathtaking views of Lake Victoria as well as walking (literally) alongside zebras, seeing lions, monkeys, peacocks and so much more. It was a perfect end to the week! Looking forward to what next week has in store!
Until next time,