Friday, July 2, 2010


Out in the Market
The past couple of weeks have been spent doing market research and trying to make a label for the ‘Fiti Yoghurt’ brand. We wanted to do market research to find out the public perception of our project and use it as a guide for things like labels, marketing events, promotions, etc. So we recruited four local friends to act as ‘Research Assistants’/ translators and went all over Oyugis, Kadongo and surrounding areas to interview people. Our interview questions were mostly based on people’s purchasing habits, their perception of yogurt, and their knowledge/perception of ‘Fiti Yoghurt’ (our project). We haven’t analyzed the data up to a man sci profs standards yet but a lot of things became pretty obvious right away. Firstly, no one knows about Fiti Yoghurt. And the people who actually do know about the project, and even the people who buy yogurt daily, don’t know that it’s called Fiti Yoghurt. The majority of people are purchasing their food from the market or general shops on a daily basis and what they buy is mostly based on how much they have to spend that day. We showed everyone prototypes of potential labels and asked them what they preferred. Almost every person picked the simplest label and said that the label MUST have a picture of a full, healthy cow. And the bigger the udders the better. We asked questions specifically about how they pick where/who to buy from in the market. Most people I interviewed said their number one concern is the personal hygiene of the vendor and their product. I was a little surprised by that answer because nothing seems too hygienic in the market. But I guess it’s the small things; one man told me they look at how clean vendors nails are. In general, people were mostly concerned about the health benefits when it came to buying food and rarely buy luxury food items. Overall the interviews went well and it was interesting meeting and having in depth conversations with local people from all over. There were a few challenges like things getting lost in translation. Sometimes the RA would ask the person a question and they would reply with this long, detailed answer and there would be hand gestures all over the place and then it would turn into a conversation between them and then his translation back to me would be just ‘Yes’. Some of our questions were a little unclear or leading questions and we had to modify our survey almost daily. One that caused a lot of confusion was how much they spent daily on food. We also asked their income (either daily or monthly) and there were a few times when they wouldn’t match up. There were a few people who told us their daily household income was 100 KSH but they spent 500 KSH a day on food. Regardless, were hoping we can use the information to guide any decisions we make so that were doing things the ‘local’ way, rather than the crazy Mzungu way.

Fiti Yoghurt – Healthy Living
One of the main takeaways of the research was that there is absolutely no brand awareness of Fiti Yoghurt. So we made a bunch of prototypes of labels and came up with some slogans with the Mama’s input and the information we had gotten from our research. We wanted to get the Mama’s from both kitchens together to pick the label they liked best so we could ‘launch the brand’. The idea was to make it a fun event where the Mama’s could all socialize together and pick which label they felt would be best for Fiti Yoghurt. The only thing we didn’t anticipate was that groups of women, no matter how old or what culture, will always have drama. The two kitchens see each other as competition rather than partners and I guess there have been a few incidents in the past of the women clashing. So although we had explained our intentions to the Mama’s and bought them cake and tea and beads to make jewelry with to try and make it fun, the Mama’s were extremely divided and continued to clash. In the end, after a long day of appeasing the Mama’s, we managed to get a little input on the label but realized we would have to rely more on what we found out from our research. The final outcome was a label that Jackel had made combined with a picture we found of a full cow and ‘Healthy Living’ as our slogan. On the back we decided on including an expiry date, description of probiotics, ingredients, and the addresses of both kitchens. We use polythene bags to package the yogurt and were going to try and print screen on them. We’ve had a few samples done and although they look good, the ink gets rubbed off a little with condensation from when the yogurt is put in the fridge. 

Business as Usual…?
Business is done incredibly informally here. We’ve decided to use a man named Moses who does screen printing to print the label on polythene packages (what we pack and sell the yogurt in) for the Oyugis and Kadongo kitchens. Our plan is to brand the packages and everything associated with the Kitchens (like the aprons the Mama’s wear, the coolers they carry the yogurt in, etc) but we’ve had some problems with quality and timing. Moses favorite saying is that he won’t be on time, he’ll be ‘in time’. As far as I can tell that means he’ll finish on his own time – whenever that might be. We also made a contract for Moses because we hope to use him for the long term but I don’t think anything has come of it. Meetings are always informal and usually last minute arrangements. Agreements are rarely put on paper. Working here as a Mzungu is especially interesting. We tend to get special treatment and everyone is willing to go out of their way to help us out. However, we also generally need the help of local friends when buying anything to avoid getting ripped off and paying the Mzungu Price (which usually involves a 500% premium). On the positive side, my bargaining skills have really improved.

Lessons With the Mamas
We decided to try and have weekly business lessons/discussions with the Mama’s to teach them some basic business skills like recordkeeping, customer service, improving operations, etc. We did our first lesson with the Oyugis women on basic recordkeeping. We tried to make it a discussion by asking them why they thought recordkeeping was important, etc. The Mama’s recordkeeping is done very sporadically and only by a few of the Mama’s (we found out from our lesson that some of the Mama’s don’t understand basic math). So we made some practice sheets and tried to walk through the recordkeeping process step by step. In general I think it went well but there’s only so much we can do for the Mama’s who don’t have the basic math skills to begin with so were thinking we might have one-on-one lessons with those Mama’s. We want to have lessons at the Kadongo kitchen but are going to have to structure them differently. The Kadongo women, in general, are better educated and less marginalized than the Oyugis women. Most of them have business of their own or are teachers so business lessons aren’t as necessary.

Kenyan Travels
The interns (plus Ellena) spent a weekend in Kisumu to meet up with Rebecca (who had been there the last couple of weeks). We rented a car for the weekend and drove down. Its about a 2 hour drive to Kisumu which Ellena drove there and back. Driving in Kenya seems like a terrifying experience that I don’t think my driving skills could handle. They drive on the opposite side of the road and most roads have ridiculous potholes so people have to drive all over the road to avoid them. So essentially its just weaving back and forth to avoid potholes, other cars, motorbikes, bicycles, people walking, and an assortment of cows, donkeys, goats, and sheep. Kisumu is the third biggest city in Kenya and is a complete culture shock after small-town Oyugis. I didn’t realize how used to Oyugis I was until I was shocked to have small luxuries like pizza, ice cream and clean beer glasses in Kisumu. We went on a boat ride on Lake Victoria and saw hippos. The boat was made of wood, had a tiny engine and was definitely leaking. A hippo would have for sure won in a fight against our boat if it came down to it. But they’re really cool to see. They’re about 3 kilos each and they just hang out in the water all day and occasionally lift their heads for air. After the boat ride we went to a BBQ at the place of a group of Americans we had met the night before. They work across Kenya with a farming NGO and have a place in Kisumu as a place for them to all go for weekends. We had delicious burgers (which seemed pretty surreal – we would never be able to find burgers in Oyugis) and went and watched the Ghana vs US World Cup game on the rooftop patio of a fancy expat resort. US lost and the Americans we were with were crushed but everyone else (including us) was cheering for Ghana so mostly everyone was celebrating.
We took a day trip to Kendu Bay after finishing our market research with our research assistants as a kind of thank you. Kendu Bay is a half hour drive from Oyugis and the only way to get there is to take a station wagon that they squeeze 12 people into (13 including the driver). The trunk for no apparent reason seemed like the best option so of course Amanda and I jumped in right away. Kendu Bay is right on Lake Victoria but is covered in floating green weeds. So you can’t actually see water but there are boats floating around in an endless sea of green.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Waka Waka

Life in Oyugis
The first week in Oyugis was very busy and full of meeting people and getting to know the project and town. Oyugis is not very big. But it is not as small as I expected. There is one main road that is paved (the highway) and then a few bigger dirt roads that offshoot from it. The hotel and hospital are on one side of the highway and the kitchen is on the other. There are a ton of little shops that line all the roads. They seem to sell more or less the same thing. There are little ‘convenience’ stores that sell a random collection of necessities from soap to mandazi (Kenyan’s equivalent to donuts). Most of these are more like stalls because you don’t actually go inside. There are plenty of hardware shops, salons, and cell phone stores and everyone seems to be making iron gates – not sure who’s buying all these gates… the demand doesn’t seem there considering most houses do not have gates.
The market and matatu stage (ie the matatu ‘bus stop’) are alongside the highway and we go through it everyday on our way from the hotel to the kitchen. The main market sells a lot of clothing (mostly used clothing), traditional African material, shoes, fruit, vegetables, peanuts, etc. Behind the main market is the food market which is lines of people selling bananas, spices, maize, mandazi, avocadoes, mangoes, etc. There is no differentiation between products so competition is intense. I’m pretty sure the main method of differentiation is who can yell at customers the loudest to get their attention. Mama Sophia sells yogurt and milk in the market every afternoon.
On Saturday, Amanda and I went to the market with her to sell. Even though I was for sure slowing Mama Sophia down, she let me help pour and sell the yogurt. I was horrible and getting yogurt all over me and I’m pretty sure everyone was laughing at me (I kept hearing ‘Mzungu’ – white person – followed by laughter) but it was a lot of fun. The yogurt stall was packed. Its one of the only differentiated products and with a couple white girls hanging around it really sticks out.
We’ve gone on a couple walks and the scenery is breathtaking. The children are adorable and every time we walk down the street to our hotel they run to the side of the road and yell ‘How are you!!” – the only phrase they know in English yet. Some of them have gotten in the habit of holding our hands and walking with us for a while. Not sure where that came from though.
On Sunday morning I had planned on sleeping in a little but found out that does not happen in Oyugis. At 8:30 am they start preaching into a loud speaker that can be heard all over the town. It started with a woman singing which was pleasant. But then a man with a painfully hoarse and scratchy voice took over. Apparently he was the main act and sang for the remainder of the morning. I just hope they alternate preachers every Sunday.
Meals have been delicious so far. Our hotel makes a pretty good Spanish omelet (omelet with tomato and onion) for breakfast. Lunch has usually been chapatti and beans or yogurt or fruit and dinner is usually a meat (chicken or beef), cabbage stew or beans and chapatti or rice. I think I’m addicted to chapatti. Its like a pita fried with butter. A thicker and oilier version of naan. People drink chai tea throughout the day and we usually have tea with the mama’s in the afternoon with bread.

Kisii for the Day
Saturday morning Ellena, Amanda and I went to Kisii to run some errands for the project. Kisii is the closest city near Oyugis and is about a half hour drive. The city is mostly on a hill and its a lot more bustling than Oyugis. After looking around for the best packaging for the kitchens and stopping at the bank we had lunch on a patio. They had a DJ at lunchtime, which seemed odd but it was nice to sit on a patio – they are few and far between in Oyugis. In Kisii, the disparity between wealth and poverty is much more apparent than it is in Oyugis. There are people with obvious wealth but you also see street kids who walk around sniffing glue. A couple of kids asked us for money and although we didn’t want to give them money that they could easily spend on more glue we bought them some fruit, milk and bread.

New Interns
On Monday, Amanda and I took a matatu to Kisumu (the biggest city in Western Kenya and about a 2-hour drive from Oyugis) to pick up Kinleigh and Jackel, two Ivey students who will be in Kenya with us for the next couple months. They had spent the last two weeks in Mwanza, Tanzania observing the yogurt kitchen there. We also met up with Rebecca (the other Ivey student doing research in Kenya) in Kisumu. She’s there for the next couple of weeks and it was really nice seeing her. Jackel and Kinleigh’s flight got in at 6 pm so we spent the night in Kisumu. It was nice being in a bigger city and having access to the luxuries I’ve gotten used to not having, like pizza, milkshakes and Internet. In comparison to Oyugis and Kisii, Kisumu seems like a huge city – it even has a movie theater and shopping malls! Kisumu is on Lake Victoria and Amanda and I went and had lunch down by the lake the day we arrived there. There are a bunch of identical restaurants selling the same thing that line the lake. It was a beautiful view but tarnished a little by the fact that people drive their cars down there and wash them in the lake. And also that that’s where all the street kids hang out and sniff glue. It was interesting eating there but I’m definitely not in a rush to do it again. We returned to Oyugis with more ‘Mzungus’ then I think most Oyugians have seen in their lifetime, so we stand out a little.

The Project
            My first week in Oyugis was spent getting updated with what’s going on at both kitchens. For the past year the World Bank has been funding both kitchen’s operations. The World Bank has been conducting a study looking at the benefits of probiotics for people living with AIDs. The Oyugis kitchen has been supporting the study and gives out most of the yogurt they make to clients of the study on a daily basis. The study terminates in July along with the funding. As of right now, one of the biggest challenges both kitchens must deal with is sustainability once the funding from the World Bank ends. Each kitchen has their own set of obstacles to overcome in the next couple of months in order to ensure their sustainability in the future. Since Jackel and Kinleigh’s arrival, we have spent a lot of time at both the Oyugis and Kadongo kitchen observing daily operations and getting to know the Mama’s. We’ve also been getting out into the market and trying to get a sense of the consumers perception of our product. Our goals for the upcoming couple months are the following:
  •        Develop and implement a marketing/advocacy plan for the product
  •        Standardize both kitchen’s products (same size and price)
  •        Look into getting the Quality Mark for the product so the yogurt can be sold in stores
  •        Develop packaging for the product
  •        Find a consistent supplier for the packaging
  •        Help Mama’s develop their selling and recordkeeping skills

We have our work cut out for us but I think the biggest challenge is going to be making sure we work WITH the Mama’s rather than imposing the systems and methods that we’re used to and work best for us at home. Business in Kenya is very different than at home and takes some getting used to. Meetings, for example, are a full day event. A meeting that is scheduled for 1 pm will not actually start until 4 pm and then last at least 3 hours. We had a meeting on Sunday with representatives from both kitchens to set a standard price and volume of the yogurt to sell. We prayed before and after the meeting, which was a new experience for me. Throughout the meeting, there was no outright leader and everyone was reluctant to voice their real opinion. Making decisions was a slow process and it was difficult to know if everyone was actually on the same page in the end. Our meeting on Sunday was with just the woman from the Kadongo kitchen to discuss internal issues within the kitchen such as theft in the kitchen, wages, woman coming late to work, etc. At this meeting the woman were far more outspoken because the issues directly affected them on a day-to-day level. Again, we prayed before and after the meeting and I’m not sure that everyone was on the same page at the end of the meeting. The meeting was completely in Luo (one of the Mama’s translated for us) but I think some of it must have gotten lost in translation. So that is one obstacle we’ll have to continue to work on. Next week will be a very busy week of work with lots to get done!

Kenya: The Heart of Africa
The past few weeks I’ve spent in Kenya I have found that everyday has been a learning experience. Like every culture across the world, Kenya is incredibly unique. Their culture, lifestyle and perspective is so greatly different from what I have I always known as second nature. Everything from how they interact with each other to how they do business varies from what I’m used to at home. People are incredibly welcoming and always make a point of inviting you to their home every time they see you. They always have the time to greet you and stop on the street and shake your hand. Since I’ve been here, I have yet to see someone who looks like they’re in a rush. People are incredibly considerate and caring towards other people. They always ask how everyone is doing and where they are, even if they have only met them once. And they will randomly call each other to simply say hello and see how their day is going. They take the time to care about other people and what is going on in someone else’s life. But I have noticed an odd relationship with foreigners. It seems like there is almost a sense of entitlement, where people think that foreigners come to Kenya with unlimited funds to give away. And it seems like because of past experiences of receiving aid from foreigners that has, for some people, become the expectation. Of course, as with all generalizations, this certainly does not apply to everyone I’ve met. I have met people here who are incredibly generous and eager to extend their Kenyan hospitality. Unfortunately, because of the circumstances that a lot of people live in, they have a lot more to gain than lose by asking a foreigner for money or some form of charity.
Although I’m not in South Africa and Kenya did not actually qualify for the World Cup, the excitement about the World Cup being in Africa is contagious. Kenyan’s are proud that Africa is hosting the World Cup and the games are always exciting to watch here. We met a girl who works for a U.S. aid agency that is setting up big screen blow up TV’s around Africa in underdeveloped areas that would normally have limited access to TV so they can watch the games. They have a site about 10 minutes outside of Oyugis and we’ve gone and watched a couple games. The whole community comes out and watches the game. It’s a really fun atmosphere and great idea.
It’s also an interesting time to be in Kenya right now because on August 4th the country is voting on a new constitution. The new constitution is very progressive thinking and I think it would be a huge step forward for the country. It would create more power sharing in the government and work towards limiting corruption. Right now Kenyan ministers are among the highest paid in the world and don’t pay any taxes. They also decide their own salary and as far as I’ve been told the elections are mostly based on who can pay to get the position. I’ve also been told there’s a lot of nepotism. Either way, they’re not the most legitimate appointments. The new constitution would put limits on the ministers and give the President less unquestioned power. It would also give women more rights, etc. But it does have some controversial aspects such as legalizing abortions and gay marriages. There is a No camp and Yes camp and right now there is a lot of debate as to whether there will be violence or not. Surveys are saying that the vote is leaning towards Yes but it will be very interesting to see the lead up to the vote and what happens. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Week in Kenya

Nairobi in a Nutshell
There is so much to tell about my five days in Nairobi that I would end up writing a novel that lets face it, no one has time to read. So I’m going to focus on some highlights. The first day my friend from school (we lived in residence together but he is from Nairobi and is spending the summer there), Eric and his cousins, picked us up and gave us a driving tour around Nairobi. I did not expect it to be so tropical and lush. We also went and watched a high school rugby game. It was Erics high school St. Marys vs their rival Nairobi School. The high school was ridiculously beautiful. It had massive fields and trees and numerous buildings. And all the students were really into the game and the rivalry.

The next day we were invited to Eric’s cousins house for dinner. We were served a traditional Kenyan meal with goat, beef stew, rice, ugali (ground up maize that is then hardened to this bland sponge-like thing – I wasn’t too crazy about it but most likely will eat it a lot), plain maize (which is not good at all) and kale. The dinner was delicious and we drank fresh milk with it. For desert were my new favorite fruit: stubby bananas! I’m sure they have a name but I have no clue what it is. They’re pretty much the same as our bananas but not as sweet. After dinner we went to a pub called Changes. Kenyan’s love to dance so I tried my best to keep up. Although my North American dance moves were far from up to par.

On Friday we had a meeting with Johnson Weru, the Director of the Economic and External Trade Division for the Republic of Kenya. We were meeting with him to talk about our projects and ask any questions we had. Mr. Weru is an extremely intelligent and well-spoken man and our meeting with him was really enlightening. He explained that he believes that the key to Kenyan economic development is through trade and greater access to international markets. He told us a little about the union between East African nations that will begin in July and how that is a step in the right direction. We turned to the subject of our probiotic yogurt project and Rebecca’s research, both of which involve work with small social enterprises. Mr. Weru’s take on it is that the details on the ground (ie what were doing) need to be sorted out and fine tuned for the bigger picture to work (ie trade). Our work is enabling people to be productive members of the economy, which in turn will benefit Kenya’s global economic position. It was a really interesting meeting and refocused us on the project and our goals for the next couple months.

Saturday we went to the Safaricom Sevens Rugby Tournament. There were teams from all over the world (no Canada or U.S. though) playing. The atmosphere at the tournament was unreal. Everyone was wearing the Kenyan flag in some form or another. Each rugby game was 14 minutes long and really fun to watch. No stop-and-go like football. I think by the end of the day I kind of understood what was going on. All day was non-stop cheering. When the Kenyan team played everyone went nuts for 14 minutes straight. They beat the other team 41-0 and ended up winning the whole tournament on Sunday. There was a grounds area set up beside the rugby field with food and drinks and promotional games. There was also a big stage and dance floor where a Kenyan singer (I have no idea what his name was but apparently he won a few MTV awards) performed later in the night.

On to Oyugis
Woke up at about 5am on Monday to head to the airport for our flight to Kisumu. We landed in Kisumu at around 9 am and were picked up by Bob from KEMRI (the government institution Western Heads East partners with here) who drove us to Oyugis from Kisumu. The drive was about two hours and absolutely beautiful. Everything is so green and lush and hilly. Way different than I expected. Arriving in Oyugis might be a difficult scene to explain but I’ll try me best. All the shops line the few roads there are with houses and fields scattered behind them. The shops seem oddly small to me and I can’t imagine more than 5 full-grown people fitting in one. Although there are many restaurants and pubs with more space. The roads are in bad condition and filled with cars, motorcycles, bicycles, people, cows, donkeys, chickens, etc. But the town is so green with beautiful trees and luscious fields that its beauty overwhelms the chaos on the road. The kids are also adorable. There so intrigued to see white people that they just stare at us. And when I wave or say hi they giggle or shy away. Amanda and the other interns last year bought some kids skip rope last year so we played jump rope with the kids for a while and they loved it. By the time we left there was a huge crowd of kids waiting to play.

Up Close and Personal with the Project
We went and checked out the yogurt kitchen and the Mama’s were really excited to see us (well excited to see Amanda but seemed just as excited to meet me). They gave us a tour of the kitchen and showed us their books. I was very impressed with the Mama’s recordkeeping skills and their dedication. One Mama, Mama Diana, comes in at 6am and stays until 7pm to make sure all the recordkeeping is done. I tried the yogurt – I think it will grow on me… it’s a little sour tasting. But now the Mama’s at Oyugis are making it with sugar and flavoring, which is very tasty. We also went out to Kabondo to check out the yogurt kitchen there. This is a very new kitchen (its only been up and running for two months) and is doing very well. The Mama’s are very hard working here and have been selling out of their yogurt daily. They were very welcoming and sang a few songs when we arrived. The kitchen is very organized and clean. And its painted purple for some Western pride. Were going to spend a full day in each kitchen observing the operations so I think it will be very interesting to see the differences.

Kenyan First’s
Today I had my first experience on both a matatu and a boda boda. Matatu’s are vans that have seats for 15 people but they squish as many people in them as humanely possible. On our way back from Kabondo (about a 20 minute matatu ride to Oyugis) there were 23 people in the car. And most of them are full grown men. Thankfully I was sitting in the front so I had a spacious and comfortable ride home! My luck will probably run out though as were going to be taking lots of matatus because they are a cheap and easy way to get around.

Boda boda’s are bicycles with a cushion on the back that you can sit on. It’s like a personal taxi bike. I loved it and was considering hiring a personal boda boda for the rest of my trip until I realized that it would be completely silly. But a lot of fun. We took the boda boda’s to a school in Oyugis called Agaro Sare. There was a huge track and field meet going on there between a bunch of schools across the region. A couple of the Mama’s were selling yogurt there so we decided to go see how they were doing. We arrived on our stylish boda boda’s to realize this was a HUGE tournament. There were thousands of kids. And we were of course the only white people there. Amanda played soccer at this school last year and recognized some of the boys. When we went to say hi and when we were talking to the Mama’s huge groups of kids formed around us. Just watching us. Completely transfixed by these crazy white people in front of them. It was pretty hilarious and a few touched my skin when I walked by just out of curiosity.

Oyugis is beautiful and I’m excited to finally be here and get started on working. We have a couple meetings coming up and will most likely be extremely busy by the end of the week with work to do. Our two main overarching goals for the project that all stakeholders are interested in are: making the two kitchens sustainable and expansion through Kenya. In the meantime, I’m going to keep trying to figure out this personal boda boda thing…

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Saga Begins...

The Project:
About three weeks ago I was accepted for an internship with Western Heads East and Ivey to head to Oyugis, Kenya for two months to work on the probiotic yogurt project that began production there last year. The project in Kenya is a replication of the probiotic yogurt project that was started in Mwanza, Tanzania in 2005. The mission of the project is to teach, research and aid the African HIV/AIDS crisis while making a sustainable difference to communities in Africa. The means to this goal is through probiotic yogurt. Probiotic yogurt is an easy, economical and effective way of helping people receive the health benefits they need. More specifically, it has been found to help alleviate some of the symptoms and discomforts for people living with AIDS.
Yogurt kitchens are set up in communities with a high prevalence of AIDS and a high rate of poverty. Local women called the Yogurt Mama's volunteer their time to make this project happen. They are responsible for the daily production, distribution,  and selling of the yogurt as well as all other aspects of the project (except actually making the probiotic culture which is done by an expert).
My job in Oyugis will be to support the Yogurt Mama's and help them towards building a more effective and sustainable kitchen. I will also be doing research on further benefits and uses of the probiotic yogurt, as well as general operational aspects of the project.

The Arrival
After two long days of traveling we have finally arrived in Nairobi! Our overnight flight got into Nairobi at 6 am and we deplaned to a warm, humid morning. Getting out of the airport was way faster and easier than I usually experience with traveling. Getting our Visas was simple and fast and our luggage came out immediately. We cabbed into Nairobi, which took awhile because of the traffic. Nairobi so far is so different from anything I have ever experienced. Its like Cuba meets New York. It looks more like a tropical city to me than the desert images mostly associated with Africa. I am definitely not used to traffic yet as I almost got hit by a car already. Pedestrians absolutely do not have any right of way when it comes to traffic. Our hotel is really cute and we had a delicious breakfast this morning of eggs and fruit and lots of tea and coffee! We’ve also met up with another Ivey intern named Rebecca and a local, Janet, who she will be working with. They are going to be staying in Kisimu, which is two hours from us so I’m looking forward to hopefully spending time with them over the next couple months! I also got a cell phone and although I hate to admit it, my crackberry ways have really slowed me down on my new cell phone. There’s a lot of interesting buildings and I’m looking forward to doing some touristy things while I’m in Nairobi. Our traveling went really smoothly which is a nice change from the penguin-like way my family usually travels (ie everyone is all over the map and everything takes forever) but I have had a few frustrations. I wasn’t able to deposit my funding cheque, which has been quite a hassle to figure out especially with limited internet. So far I’ve just been borrowing money from Amanda when I need to. Hopefully I can get it sorted out before I get to Oyugis because I know it will be even harder to figure out there. Actually I guess I’ve only had one frustration. But it’s getting pretty annoying so I count it as a few. I can feel the exhaustion from two nights of minimal sleep setting in so I will probably pass out really early. But not until I have tried a real Kenyan dinner! Can’t wait for that.