After arriving in Nairobi airport there were two drivers waiting to take us across the country to Mt. Elgon. Along the way we stopped for a traditional meal of Chai(tea) and mandazi to fill our empty stomachs, after that we went to a couple of sightseeing spots. These included the equator and the city of Kitale where we would get our sim cards and do our grocery shopping. In this city we had our first encounter with the poverty that burdens parts of this country. The reality slapped our faces by the sight of glue sniffing children, beggars and the heavily armed guards at the doors of shops.
Flight to Kenya l Monday
Nearly 48 hours after our departure we finally arrived at our destination, and our home for the coming five months. As exhausted as we were we thanked our drivers, quickly settled in and started our adventure.
Our first official day in Kenya we got a tour through the Mt Elgon farm, where we met Andy Dean (project manager of the Mt. Elgon trust) in person. With all the talks we had about the farm during our preparation, I think no one realised how big this farm actually was. The farm provides work for over 1500 people and ships 175.000 roses every day, needless to say that a farm this big had a community growing around it. Therefore the farm established the Mt. Elgon trust to provide this community with everything a community needs, for example: a school, a hospital, etc.
Greenhouse Mt Elgon Orchards l Wednesday
Hike at Kaptega and Suam Area l Thursday
When we finished our tour we quickly found out that to integrate in Kenya we had to learn Swahili, and this is when we met Geoffrey Ngeywa (Geoffrey is a trained social worker, community expert and much more in the Mt. Elgon area and works for the trust). Geoffrey would become our mwalema (teacher) for the following days and together we quickly found out that Swahili was a very difficult language to master.
After having a very nice diner thanks to our caretaker Veronica and Topista (good friend and caretaker to the farm), we were going to our very nicely made beds (also thanks to Veronica) to be well rested before we went to the busy market streets of Kitale where we would be tested on our communication and interaction with Kenyan locals.
Driving into Kitale town l Saturday
Next to learning the language of the Kenyan people we also had to meet them and learn their habits, to achieve this we went to the city of Kitale where we wandered around and did our grocery shopping with Andy Dean. In Kitale we saw every layer of the community, the very rich and also the very poor. This was a difficult thing to witness with all the poor children asking you for money.
Kitale Market l Saturday
To end on a positive note we ended our week on a local market (Chepchoina) where all the people were very nice and we for once didn’t feel like the outsiders we were. Later that day we went to Andy’s place, where we enjoyed some very nice pizza’s and well cooked goat. After an evening of nice talks we all happily ended our first week in Kenya.
Chepchoina Market l Sunday
Next week we’ll start with the project. Everybody is looking forward to the new experiences and challenges it will bring.