It was a rainy start of the week, but life goes on in rural Kenya. Even more so, people are persuaded by their natural habitat to become more active. Their daily life demands it from them. People like Damian and me, hide within our safe brick dwellings at home. We are fighting our natural surroundings and our weapon is our house. When it starts raining in Sokomojinga Brenda (one of the families daughters) hurries outside in order to catch the rain. She does not seem to mind this at all. The family uses this water to wash their clothes and utensils. This prevents them from fetching water at the well, which is not around the corner. As a research team we use these rainy days to digitalize our fieldwork.
Later that day, we arranged an exposition of all the work that was done by the separate family members. After a week of drawing and modelling together, it is time to share our ways of thinking about what is needed for the family. This reveals different relationships between the family members and new insights. Cleophas, the father of the family, is taking lead in the situation and tries to put all the provided information of the models together.
A dry Tuesday allows us to do our task as builders, to measure and map the house and compound of the family. In order to measure everything, we were entering and exploring every room of the house. The spaces are small according to the stuff that is in there, natural light is entering the spaces barely, and the sleeping rooms seem to be quiet cosy. This family is rich in in loving and caring for one another.
As a research team Damian and I decide to go more into depth with researching Stella, the mother of the family. Therefor we are interviewing this amazing woman on Saturday. She takes care of all her children and the three they accepted as their own. The parents of Sharon and Alvin are working far away, they were introduced to us as children of the family. And Daniël (24) is with her since her own family accepted him as one of their own. His parents disappeared, no one knows if they’re still alive. She brought him with her to her current house and looks over him. She runs a busy company during all the days of the week, consisting of a fuel shop and another shop. She helps her husband on the farm during the harvesting season. On top of that, she is a very active member of the church. Sometimes meetings are necessary for her activities within the church and she feels ashamed to invite all the people to her embarrassing house. She asked me if I ever saw a kitchen like this? I never did. Raindrops are penetrating the rusty iron sheet roof. The smoke coming from the fire they cook on, colours the walls and inside of the roof pitch-black. Nonetheless she was chosen to be the treasurer of many churches in the surrounding area, the people trust her. This smiling little skinny woman explained that she ones owned a body like her daughter Brenda. I think I speak for both of us, when I say this woman touched a sensitive place in our hearts. My enthusiasm about taking part in this research is bigger than ever, and the necessity of it being done is clear. She is not the only one struggling here with her daily life. She represents a great deal of women in this area. Sometimes she seems a little worried but she believes that she will end up with a better house to live in. We’re able to think together with this family on how to improve their current situation, so that at least she could live the kind of life she deserves so much. We’re going to do the best we can.