- 19.09.13 - Kenya Kwaheri - We'll be back!
We have been back from Kenya for ten days now and it still feels a bit strange to be in Germany, where the weather has already decided that it would like to be all autumnal and cold and rainy. Catching up on work and life has kept us busy, but we are already starting to plan, how our friend- and partnership with KGSA can go on.
We might have left without being able to work with the girls on the computers, but Abdul tells us, that they use the computers every day. And that is, after all, what we wanted to achieve. But we are full of ideas for future projects and will be ready to post more infos, as soon as we have worked out the details. So, stay tuned and check out our photo gallery.Carola
- 07.09.13 - The KGSA-Team with the ball from the DFB Team
- 07.09.13 - All’s well that ends well
Good old Shakespeare always gets it right: big drama and then a joyful happy ending. Our story definitely was a drama in five acts.
Act 1: Exposition - an idea is born for Britta and me to go to Nairobi and the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy and work for the project. We start to prepare for our trip. We have to think of a thousand things and plan ahead for every eventuality.
Act 2: Complications - just one day, before we leave, Britta falls ill and cannot come with me. Luckily, Jessica enters the scene, prepared to save the day.
Act 3: Climax of Action - I arrive in Nairobi and am welcomed by Christine and her friends at Gracehouse Resort. One day later, Jessica arrives. We are very busy trying to get our cargo from the airport, meeting new people, finally getting to see the school, meeting the girls, and getting an impression of Kibera. But mainly, we go back and forth between the city and the airport on this strange and exciting quest for our computers.
Act 4: After a long and exhausting, at times even frustrating, process, we are finally able to get the cargo out of the airport, shop for some additional equipment, and set up at the school. At the last stages, new characters are introduced. We have a real crew of cargo connections now. Great people, who help us, when we are at a loss for words and hope and things to do.
Act 5: Catastrophe or rather: Happy Conclusion - all is well again. We forget our troubles and end the day with a Kibera Derby soccer match, which was definitely dominated and won by our girls, while we cheered along with some of the other girls. Before the game, we give them our present, a football signed by the current European Woman’s Soccer Champion, which is, of course, Germany. We say good-bye with one eye laughing, the other crying and hope to soon hear more about the school’s brand-new internet café.
I cannot quite decide yet, whether our adventure is a comedy or a tragedy - it definitely has aspects of both. Maybe a drama with a lot of comic relief because we did spend a lot of time laughing and joking with our new friends, the laughter of the KGSA girls cured all evil, and we brought the project to a good end.
- 05.09.13 - Overtime at the airport
Another lovely Kenya day and another day we spent at the Nairobi airport Cargo Centre. But today we had a good day at the airport - a busy day. There was still a lot of waiting time, but we got things done. Suddenly everybody was eager to help us - we got connections now and we are sure to get our computers tomorrow.
There is not much else to say; only that Abdul is an absolute star, being with us all along the way. And that we might not have spent our time working with the girls, but we definitely spent our time working for the girls.
Hakuna matata - tomorrow will be good!Carola
- 04.09.13 - With open eyes through Kibera
Please forgive us, if today's blog posts are a bit shorter. It was an exciting day. Good news all around. Still no computers, but help! I won't go into detail here, but Abdul was on the phone all day and we are going to the airport tomorrow morning to work something out with a new agent, who's contact we got via Christine. We don't know, how this confusing and long story will end, but we hope for the best.
We spent most of our day in Kibera and at the school, where we chatted with the girls, showed them some photos, and completely amazed them with a photo of a frozen German lake. They could hardly conceive the idea of being able to walk on water. We had a delicious lunch prepared by the school. Then we played some soccer with the girls and an exciting and turbulent game of netball. Jessica and I were on opposing teams, but the game was very fair and we all felt like winners in the end. We met a new friend from Danmark, who is also working at KGSA this week. Amos and Claris took the three of us on a walk through Kibera, showing is the famous Kibera eyes art and the area, where most of the students and some of the teachers live. At the end of the day, Teka took us home in yet another matatu. Now we are eating maniok chips and a fresh mango, while blogging and working. It has been a good day!
- 03.09.13 - Mambo? - Poa!
Today, we learned the way Kibera kids greet each other. With each and every one of the kids we met today, coming up to us, asking us how we are and high-fiving us, we had great fun and immediately tried our new knowledge.
That is the good news of the day. We made it to Kibera and the school. The bad news is, that we still did not get our computers out of customs. We don't know why, but Jessica's theory is that they either like us very much and want to see us again every day, or they don't like us at all. Either way, we did the smart thing today. Instead of waiting, we hopped back into the car and drove straight to Kibera, where we had a late lunch of chapatti and beans*, before making our way to the school. Kibera has a new road, which is just a few months old and which stops almost right outside the school. We grabbed the two laptops, we'd picked up earlier, and started to set up. Even if we could not have our whole little internetcafé up and running today, we made it to the school, we got a good first impression of Kibera, and we met some of the girls.
Teka, one of the teachers and the in-house computer expert, gave some of his students the choice to get out of class and meet us. And of course they all wanted to. They crowded into the library and computer room and immediately started to shake our hands, tell us their names, and inspect the laptops. It was no problem, that there were just two laptops; they all crowded around one of them and wanted to try out, how it worked. Jessica had them writing their names and having a go at the games, while I chatted to some of those, who could not get a good spot to see. We taked about internet, facebook, and our plans for the computers. It was great to finally be at the school. I had heard about it for two years and have been anticipating seeing it for so long. A place never quite feels real, until you have been there. And now I know that it is just around the corner, that tomorrow the girls will get there early, be eager to study, and will wait for us to get there. It is a good feeling!
Later, Teka took us home. He walked with us through Kibera and told us, that we could not just always take a taxi, we'd have to experience other ways of transport. So we took a Matatu (Kenya way of travel - a white Nissan minibus that seats 14 people; you see them everywhere around the city) back to our hotel, where everyone was asking how the day was and if we managed to get our cargo. The whole staff has been worrying with us and crossing their fingers for us. They ask every day and cannot believe that things move so slowly, cost so much, and take so much effort and so many trips to the airport. We had tea, which has quickly become my favourite time of the day, before returning to our office to recapitulate the day, upload photos, write our blog entries, and relax with a bottle of Tusker beer.
All is peaceful and quiet now, but it was quite noisy a while ago, when the power was out, as it has been frequently over the day, and the generator turned on. Then it is light's out Nairobi for everyone, but those, who are lucky enought to have a generator. Kibera is not. People are lucky, if they have electricity at all. The power outages took us by surprise this afternoon, when we wanted to charge the laptop batteries, but had no power. So we waited, took a stroll around Kibera, and came back to the power just suddenly turning back on, and the radios playing again all over the place. And nothing ever seems to perturb the Kenyan people. Power outage? Hakuna matata! And that is, how we know, everything is going to be alright. It might take longer, there might be more barriers to overcome, but in the end all will be good.
* I get the feeling, all those beans, we keep on eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, start to take tango lessons in my stomach each night.
- 02.09.13 - The computers are being processed
Another lovely day in Nairobi is ending. It is not yet 7 pm and it it is already pitch-black outside. For Kenyans it was a cold day, people have been wearing boots and turtlenecks. But for us, it was quite lovely and warm. And, since we apparently have nothing better to do, we took yet another trip to the airport, down the familiar roads, along the familiar sights of street stalls, grazing roadside cattle, busy construction workers, and traffic jam.
We were very positive about getting the computers out of the cargo building today. Our cargo agent told us that we had to wait for maybe an hour and then all would be good. We waited and waited and waited, while they searched and searched and searched, but did not find our cargo. It seemd to have been lost somewhere in the building. But on a simple quest to find toilets, we were waylaid by the cargo agent, who took us into the cargo holding area, where we waited yet again until they had finally found our cargo. They proceeded to unwrap and unpack it all to make sure, it was what we said it is. We were glad to see the computers got to Kenya safely and we were happily anticipating, loading them into the car and setting off for Kibera, when the agent told us: "The cargo is now being processed. Wait!" But waiting would not do. It was soon 5 o'clock and finishing time, so we were yet again being put off until tomorrow.
So, first thing tomorrow, while the girls get ready to start school, we will go to the airport and this time we will not leave until we have our computers. Keep your fingers crossed!
PS: If you haven't noticed, from now on Jessica is posting in German and Carola in English - but we'll tell you the same stories, only in our own words.
- 02.09.13 - Our Office