After my last post, I was able to do some work with grading for the class, setting up ManageFlitter accounts to post from my Google+ to Twitter (check out my professor account here or my poet account here). I also set up my HootSuite account after exploring it for quite a while. I anticipated that the students would need more of a tutorial with it from personal experience, so I wanted to have some tools to show. It’s coming in handy today as I am at Youth Hub in Nanyuki, available to be a resource for the students should they need it. Today will be a longer day as they wanted more time to interact with the youth at the center.
Let me return back to a recounting of yesterday. There was lunch, and for me, I had a few hours to head back up to the house, review the budget, look at the upcoming events. When I came down from the house (it’s on a hill, which though close, literally takes our breath away sometimes), I went to the Transition space, chatted with Matteo for a few minutes, and then met the students for our departure to our evening dinner with our site partners.
In our meeting, I just went through all of the information and updates from the previous post. It was interesting that one of the groups was under another patch of shade when I went through the notes with the majority of the group. When we had all joined together, rather than repeat myself, I asked those who had heard me to go through what I had just said. It was actually rather difficult to do this off the cuff and so I asked them a series of questions to elicit what I had said about assignments, a visit from Jenni, individual sign-ups for check-ins, and more. What it says to me is that there is a lot of information for this trip and that, even with going through small bursts, it’s a lot to take in. I may have to give them even smaller bursts of information. The students also have their packet to refer to, as far as logistics.
Small quirk about me. I am very focused on time. When I say a time, I am there on time. When I was in college, I used to show up at places hours early, just to know I was on time. Timeliness is written into the very essence of me. There are occasions when I am late, generally when I know that being on time is not a requirement, but mostly because of circumstances I can’t control (a traffic jam or something like that). But when it comes to classes, I hold my students and myself to the requirement of being on time especially now, because it is professional behavior as we connect with NGOs. Last night’s dinner transport was definitely a challenge. A lesson to me is that, while I can mandate my students, I can’t do that for others. It’s not a problem when my students are all together, but yesterday required two vehicles: one filled with students and one for me, my co-instructor, and some of our Daraja admin guests. This was definitely a point when different senses of time collided … but the collision seemed to live only in me. The students, cramped in the van, had to wait while the last member of the smaller car group made her way to us. Perhaps there was a miscommunication on time, but that meant we left about 20-30 minutes later than expected.
There was a slight steam that rose from me for a moment, but as I looked out the window, waiting, I knew that my urgency around time is not someone else’s, nor is it the ultimate truth. Something I’m thinking about.
Anyway, eventually, we made our way to the venue. Part of the NGO partner group had already arrived and they were touring the grounds. The group that I was a part of also went on a tour of Tandala Ranch, an absolutely incredible space. I’m hoping to get some pictures posted soon. They have their own quarry, small farm, two wells, river access, 2 lodges with the beginnings of 2 others, the owner’s place, and a small restaurant. They are also setting up a small golf course. This all since 2012 or so, which is amazing progress! The owners, Marcel and Suzanne, run the place as a part of their retirement. They are a Dutch and Kenyan couple.
After a lovely cordial made of quince and lime, we settled in to conversation and dinner with 31 guests. There were carrots and green beans from the garden, samosas with a beef filling, tortilla española, French fries, grilled goat, chicken, beef, rabbit, and sausages, and a lovely fresh fruit platter for each of us. For only 1500 shillings, we had an amazing meal!
I sat with John, the interim executive director for Daraja Academy; Jenni, the co-founder of Daraja; Susan, the founder of Hope and Homes Recreation Center; Regina, the coordinator and social worker of Simama Project; and my mom-co-instructor. It was an exciting table to be at so that we could all learn more about one another and to think about even deeper partnerships between the organizations and individuals. It was also an opportunity to learn more about one another as people, which is so important to building trust within organizational relationships. Remarkable folk all around.
After the feast, the students were set into the van again, the site partners were ushered back to their homes, and those that remained (Gloria, a volunteer at Daraja; Janelle, part of the Daraja admin staff; Stephen, the Daraja volunteer coordinator, my mom, me, and Chris, a Daraja staff member) had a glass of wine on the house with Marcel as he spoke of his story as an EU employee, then diplomat, and how he met his wife, Suzanne, and how they came to Kenya. There was an interesting conversation about the Trump and the spread of his (I would say, dictatorial) leadership. Considering that he will be inaugurated in just a few hours, the conversation was timely. I joked again that as he comes to power I may not go back to the States, which is just a joke, but sometimes …
Unfortunately, several times in the rich conversation I fell asleep. I had been up since 4am, working since 5 or so, and with jet lag and dehydration and such, I had reached a point extreme tiredness. We didn’t arrive back at the room until 10:30 or so.
At one point, my mother told me later, Marcel spoke of someday, as he gets older, wanting a manager to manage the ranch, and I began to imagine what such a life might be … someday after my professorial work. Sometimes, I dream of simpler … though I love and live through and with complexities. Of course, simpler has its complexities up close as well. It’s a momentary rumination.
This morning has started with ease. I believe that the groups have all settled into their work. Today, I’m visiting the Youth Hub. They are creating videos for the website that they are populating. I really want to visit with Milka, the coordinator, today. I’m hoping she comes in later today.
Expected for the rest of the day:
hopefully, a conversation with Milka; a stop in town to pick up money, and get some snacks; lunch; chores (2-4pm with the conservation team); 4-5:30 pack for tomorrow’s trip to Twala, some rest and another look at the budget; 5:30-6pm conversation with Jenni; 7-8pm meetings with two students for their individual check-ins.