After two long days of traveling and layovers, our team finally arrived in Kisumu, Kenya. David and his brother John met us after our flight where we loaded into the “Beast,” and the, “Baby Beast,” (their large SUVs). We made a stop in Kisumu at the Nakumat which is “Kenya’s Wal-mart.” We were shocked at how large it is. The Nakumat is the closest supermarket to David’s house, about 45 minutes away. After our grocery run, we headed to House of Hope, a ministry David started. So far, they have built a very nice clinic. His assistant, Elaine, showed us around. They are still in the process of setting it up, but everything they are doing is really great. They have started working on a children center where they will have 20 kids to fill the rooms in June.
Next, we headed to Kandaria where Justine (his wife) was ready with dinner. She is quite the chef! Our first meal consisted of ugali, avocado, mini bananas, beef, sekuma wiki (equivalent to kale), and passionfruit juice. We will be eating a lot of ugali here. It’s almost like a huge ball of sticky, thick grits. You cut your slice like cake and mix it with the other foods. Everything was delicious.
Kandaria is a beautiful place. We love it here and cannot wait to continue exploring. All of the people are so good to us, very welcoming and full of smiles. Everyone speaks D’luo which is the language of the Luo tribe. We didn’t waste any time in trying to learn their language and began our lessons last night. Justine gave us our Kandarian names which is how we will introduce ourselves. These names are decided based on the time of day that the person was born, and all of the people here share these names. Men’s names start with an O and female’s with an A. We find the culture very intriguing… quite different from America. For instance, goats and cows walking on the highway. Here, they drive on the right side of the car, left side of the road. Out of time for now, catch yah on the next posting!
Aheri ahinya (much love),
Quito is absolutely beautiful! The airport is situated right next to the city, so you get a good feel for it as soon as you land. It’s awesome how houses and buildings line the mountainside, with active volcanoes surrounding the area and white snowy peaks in the distance. We’re at 10,000 feet now, but luckily, none of us have gotten altitude sickness..
The day we arrived, we settled into our apartments, which are very nice, especially for Ecuador standards. The women in charge of the organization (Alicia, Triple Salto’s president, and Tachi, Triple Salto’s project coordinator) are sisters and live in the house right in front of our apts. They are wonderful! They’ve been showing us around and giving us advice on places to go and everything. Tachi gave us a tour around the neighborhood and city, so that we could get to know the area.
Yesterday, we were invited to a delicious breakfast in their home. Afterwards, we all went to the Ecuadorian government’s economic development agency (ConQuito) to learn about the urban agriculture projects the government has been coordinating, with Triple Salto as the facilitator. Then, we were able to visit one of the agriculture projects that had been implemented recently with a local school. It was hidden away from the main road, on a mountainside, with two plateaus of vegetable gardens and two large greenhouses filled mainly with tomato plants. All of the plants looked almost perfect. It was amazing how productive such a small space could be!
We also visited the famous Old Town, which includes government buildings and churches, all of a unique architecture. One of the women working with Triple Salto, Avivanna, was our unofficial tour guide, and took us to all the best spots.
Today, Ivan and I went with Alicia and some ConQuito staff members to buy the construction supplies for the greenhouses and wormeries and the painting supplies for the school murals. Molly and Cathy went on an adventure to find a bank that would exchange large bills for smaller ones, since the majority of places here only take 5’s, 1’s, and change.
The food here is great and surprisingly varied. Already, we’ve had traditional dishes, seafood, Indian, and French. No worries, we are eating well!
The public transportation system in Quito is very convenient. Trolley buses run north and south through the city, come every 2 minutes, and only cost 25 cents, for whatever distance. When using this type of transportation, we have to be careful and alert though because unfortunately, a culture of theft exists. Luckily, taxis here are much cheaper than the U.S., so we’ve been utilizing those as much as possible!
Will write again soon!
Love from Ecuador,
Hello friends and family,
The packing has commenced, the excitement is building, and the first few UVAers are preparing themselves for the long trip to Quito Wednesday.
We will be living in the heart of the city, in an apartment supplied by Alicia, the director of Triple Salto (our partner organization). We will have access to internet and will be bringing a couple computers, so we will be able to answer your emails and skype. Just be sure to check this blog! We will likely update it every few days.
The plan is to work on two urban projects at public schools in Quito; constructing greenhouses, planting orchards, and teaching children the importance of agriculture and nutrition.
Our free time on the weekends will be spent immersing ourselves in the culture, traveling in and around the city, and experiencing what Ecuador has to offer.
Thank you so much for your support of Nourish International in the past and the future!
Off we go!!!
-Lauren (Project Leader)