Greetings from Jori, Maddy, and Alice!

25 05 2010

Amosi (greetings) from Kunya village! We are all settled in and loving Kenya! As I mentioned in my introduction, we am working with Mama na Dada, a non-profit organization that aims to empower women and children living in the surrounding villages. The program is amazing- even more amazing that we had imagined! We arrived last Wednesday, and have been working 1) with the day care children (many of whom are HIV positive, orphaned, or suffering from malnutrition) and 2) on a “work plan” for the summer. The three of us have loved working with the kids. As cliche as it sounds, (I think I can speak for all of us here!) we have learned so much already from their happiness and positivity when considering the grave circumstances under which so many of them live. I also feel so spoiled and lucky to have all that I do back in the states. The average income in Kunya village is 1 USD a day. Homes lack air conditioning, electricity, running water, a bathroom, and are, in general, smaller than my bedroom. Children and parents, alike, sleep on dirt floors because they cannot afford or fit mattresses in their huts. It is a totally different world over here!

The village is so warm and welcoming. The food had taken some getting used to (Jori and I aren’t too fond of ugali, which is a Kenyan specialtly!) – I just keep reminding myself how lucky I am to have food! Everything is so simple and slow-paced- it is really refreshing. The language barrier is somewhat difficult, but a smile can always send a message. We are slowly learning Luo, the local language here.

So, for the week we have a work plan and are going to get to work. I will be in the day care, primary school, and dispensary. The other girls are getting started on their research and will be out in the field (literally!).

We will try to get pictures on our next blog. We are in an expensive internet cafe right now (our first chance at having internet!!!), but will be better prepared to upload some neat pictures of us in action.

Talk to you soon!!

Maddy McEwen, Jori Sheade, and Alice Zhang

Over dinners, we get the chance to reflect and learn about the problems that face the village. Already I have witnessed and heard about so many “global health” issues. I can’t wait to continue learning and making relationships with such an amazing group of people.

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