Interviews and bananas

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 — Weeks four and five and six: 7th April 09 to 24th April 09. The first week was largely spent creating the constitution for the project. For the group to be registered as a Community Based Organisation [CBO] with the social services this document is a necessity, as it is with the donor organisations. The problem was that the level of detail in a standard Kenyan CBO constitution and that required for UK-based organisations to secure due-diligence is vastly different; so I had to work on it for a few days when I returned to the Africa Now office. I suppose this is one of the potential difficulties in participatory practice.

Other than that, the main events were the Harambee meeting on the 17th and the interviewing for the role of Director and teachers which we organized for the 22nd. The Harambee went well, despite the heavy, heavy rain we had all morning making the road to the village impassable. I was asked to be the customary ‘guest of honour’, which, due to lack of alternatives, I accepted. This involved me being responsible for collecting funds, making a speech and having a song sung to me by all of those present [most embarrassing]. We raised just over Ksh14,000 [£120] which again showed the local commitment to the project. The interviews were also successful, and we had a high number of responses from the poster campaign. The committee organized the interview process and I was present to add questions relating to the position of Teach A Man To Fish. I was pleased with the Director who has extensive agricultural experience which will, I hope, benefit the productivity of the businesses used to promote self-sufficiency. He also lived locally which was most welcome, as my fears that the qualified person would only be found further afield could have had practical implications, owing to the aforementioned dodgy road.

I’m really settled into life in the village now and have been learning all about local farming methods and how to cook Kenyan food. I can now milk a cow and make rope from a small green tree, the name of which I can’t pronounce. Everyone is unbelievably welcoming of me and literally bend over backwards to make my stay as wonderful as possible. On discovering that I liked bananas [I think I ate one, once] I’m now given at least ten a day. I heard that the England football captain, John Terry, eats three before every game. I thought that was impressive, but now I eat that for breakfast [very literally]. That however is where the similarity ends. As my performance in the local football game showed, I won’t be challenging for his place in the England team any time soon!

Image: "Becky Westcott copyright 2009"

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