SR article

Week #1: Introduction

Nairobi, Karen

It’s Tuesday, which means we finished our first week in Kenya! This week was all about getting to know the country, the organization, our partners and the Kenyan culture, which has been terrific so far! We will give you a short overview of the experience we had and the progress we made. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

After we’ve been picked up from the airport of Nairobi on Tuesday, we drove to one of the suburbs called Karen, where we are staying this week. Karen is a prosperous neighborhood and lots of universities, schools, churches and congregations are located in this area. We are staying in a house owned by the Catholic congregation of Xaverian brothers, friends of the Incarnated Word Sisters, the organization we work for. Sister Esther Mwawiki - our contact person - has personally welcomed us and introduced us to the other partners. She has been very, very helpful with everything!

The Incarnate Word Sisters
Wednesday we were invited to the house of the Incarnated Word Sisters of Kenya. The IWS is a Catholic congregation of women who dedicate their lives to religion and helping the community. We’ve talked with the sisters about their history, their mission, vision and approach. Also, we had a tour around the house where the sisters have many tanks installed to harvest rainwater. They use the water for domestic purposes, also the water is heated by the sun through pipelines on the roof. They keep animals and they grow varied types of crops in the back yard. The faeces are used as fertilizer on the crops, while biogas is used for cooking. Overall, we were impressed to see that the sisters were highly self-sustainable and inspired by this. On Thursday we were invited to the celebration of the 420th birthday of the founder of the IWS, where we were introduced to the sisters from different communities and we met the bishop of Nakuru (one of our Stakeholders).

The Xaverian brothers
Rafael is one of the leaders in the Xaverian brothers community. The way they live is similar to what the sisters told us. We’ve been interacting a lot with all the brothers that live in the same compound as we do. Every night we eat with a group of brothers and we’ve a lot of things. We’ve looked into the water system at our house, where the brothers appeared to have a big issue concerning the drainage of waste water.

Tangaza University College
On Thursday we visited the Tangaza University College, together with Sr. Modesta, who is the coordinator of the East Pokot Medical Project. We visited the Social ministry, where they teach courses in Social Entrepreneurship, Social Transformation and Human Development. We met Judith Pete, a friend of Otto Kroesen and we will try to make another appointment with her to talk about the project.

Kenya Rainwater Association
On Monday we decided to visit the office of the Kenya Rainwater Association, although we didn’t manage to reach them by phone or email. Lucky enough we came across a lady called Florance, who gave us very useful information on their project concerning rainwater harvesting (including project in Baringo for Pokot communities). She shared with us the strategic plan and her email, so we can contact her if we need technical advice during the project.

Quantity Surveyor
On Tuesday we had an appointment scheduled with the Master-cost (K) company in Nairobi on Tuesday. George M. Maina is the Quantity Surveyor who made the bill of quantities for the Barpello Health Unit. We agreed that we will send the preliminary design by email and he will make an estimate of costs. We exchanged contact details.

Kibera slumps
On Sunday we went with brother Joseph to the slumbs of Kibera, to attend the mass. Afterwards we attended a meeting for youngsters and we talked with them about life in the slumps.

This week has been quite an experience. We’ve been introduced to many people and learned a lot about the organization we take part in. We continued our research on water engineering possibilities, as we aim to get in touch with institutions who have experience in the field. RAIN foundation, Jacob’s Well and KRA are willing to help us and will probably be useful sources of information and expertise. Through the RAIN foundation we received access to the community of Rainwater Harvesting, we are now part of this international platform to share research references.
Also, we worked on the stake holder analysis and the plan of approach for the needs assessment, this work we will continue next week in Nakuru, Molo and Barpello. We will leave Nairobi Friday morning and hopefully we will arrive in Barpello around Monday.

Upcoming events
• Visit Skills Centre (example project, collaboration Youth Support Kenya and German university)
• Meeting with Judith (social ministry) to talk about implementation and plan of approach of our project
• Meeting with Mr. Matasyo (architect)
• Meeting with Johnways Builders (contractor)