On Friday I went out to Thika again. The mission was to visit the Angaza project but also to meet with some other organisations to talk about opportunities for me to get involved as a volunteer. We also wanted to try to find good projects that Angaza might can cooperate with. When I go to Thika I stay with some of the guys that are volunteering for Angaza. At the moment it’s Zach, a Kenyan guy, Mira, a Finnish girl and Megan, Mira’s friend visiting from France. So there are quite a few nationalities. In the afternoon, after meeting with one of the organisations, we went out to the office in Kiandutu (the slum). Megan had brought with her bags with new football equipments and clothes, donated from France, so we just tried to organise it in sizes and colours. I spent most of the time with the children outside the office though. I just enjoy sitting there and watching the people in their daily activities. And I especially love talking with all the children passing by and hanging around. It’s also a very good practice for my Swahili skills, because some of the children haven’t learned so much English yet. In the late afternoon, when the children were coming back from school, we went out to the different fields where they have their football sessions. We watched them practice on the dry and reddish fields until the sun set and we had to make our way back to town.
On Saturday I met with another organisation running HIV projects for mainly adolescents, but also for older people in Thika and the neighbouring areas. I had the privilege to go with one of the fieldworkers as she went out to Kiandutu to make a visit to a client. We were invited into the clients’ home, a very small and dark shack. A small couch, two chairs and a table was squeezed into the one and only room. I assumed that the bed was behind the drape hanging close to the sitting area. And that bed was shared by the seven people living in the house, the lady and her six children. Unfortunately her husband recently passed away so she was alone in the struggle to put food on the table and paying the fees for the oldest children going to high school. The lady didn’t have a job but she tried to make at least a small income by washing people’s clothes, whenever she got the opportunity. Unluckily, this semester she couldn’t pay the fee for the oldest daughter’s last year in high school, which meant the girl had to drop out. The lady spoke with a low voice in Swahili and her face was concerned while she shared with us her story.
Moved by the reminder of how big the needs are for so many people, I made my way back to the town on the motorcycle taxies. My father has taken me on his motorcycle before and I loved that feeling of freedom while we drove along the roads on the countryside. This was a slightly different experience, driving on the bumpy dirt roads in the slums and then out in the crazy traffic on the main roads. Off course I didn’t wear a helmet but I decided to skip the safety issue and instead enjoy the new type of freedom feeling being on a motorbike. And so I did.
Me, Mira and Megan decided to have a girl’s night at my place in the forest. We took the matatu back to where I live and new record broken, 21 plus a baby. I didn’t feel bold enough to turn around and count again, but i think that the number was quite accurate because the doorman (as I call him) just kept taking new people into the vehicle. The girl’s night was really nice and we had the honour of having O.J. joining us. Perhaps I should let him write a few sentences to give a guys perspective on our girl’s night but I think he enjoyed as well (at least most of the time). We baked chapati and filled the house with thick smoke from frying the bread in the oily pan, watched a movie and took turns in talking on the phone with Mira’s boyfriend back in Finland. Yeah it was a good night, but today we have to leave this luxury hotel (that’s the standard of this house according to Mira) and make our way back to Thika. Tomorrow I’m meeting with the manager of the health centre running the HIV projects, so let’s see how that goes…