Working Like a Kenyan

1 06 2012


By Kelly Schuering

This week we have started to get into the swing of our project. We have successfully gathered the height and weight of all of the secondary school students, set up focus groups with health workers, translated lots of documents, and trained Tina (our translator) on how to do the cognitive testing. All in all, I’d say it has been a pretty productive week!

However, I’m still adjusting to working like a Kenyan. This means not stressing as much about time and learning to deal with power outages, water outages, and things not going according to plan. We were supposed to start measuring students at the primary school on Friday, but they were let out early for a holiday the headmaster had forgotten about it. Later, we finally got the printer cartridges fixed for the power to go out as soon as we hit print. Hakuna haraka Afrika (No hurry in Africa).

I’ve also learned to work like a Kenyan with cleaning. Yesterday, we cleaned the banda where we work and eat each day. We were given a broom, buckets and a mop, but Tina had to clarify how they typically clean so that we could do it right. Mopping consisted of dumping water everywhere, sweeping the dirty water out, and then mopping up the excess. We cleaned and mopped our own hut this morning. Judy was happy that we took over her typical Saturday job. I then did my laundry which took almost an hour and a half. It’s the same amount of time it’d take me to do it at Duke, except that I was actively working on it the whole time, instead of just moving clothes between machines for 5 minutes. A new experience was having the goat attacking my water buckets to drink when I was trying to start washing. Luckily Elizabeth was there to help me herd them away. It’s crazy to think that all the work we’ve done cleaning is just another typical day for Judy and most of the people here. They work hard! Hopefully we’ll soon be on their level, and working like Kenyans.




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