Yesterday the NEC team was challenged to a soccer tournament at one of the local universities in Meru. We had just enough players to field a team, and played hard – we lost the first game 3-0 (we made them work for it, though) and we won the second game 2-0. Following are pictures from the tournament:
Mark Nowak as goalie, “protecting the ship.”
Mark preventing a goal from the Kenyan team
Marcus Lindquist running neck-and-neck for the ball
NEC’s own John O’Connor getting in on the fun
Jonatan Nillson and Marcus Lindquist
Ronsard Masamba making us proud
Marcus and Mark
Stephanie Goulet and Marcus Lindquist
Eduardo and Theo Nkanfack
Marcus blocking the ball
Arriving for the match
Taking the field with Mt. Kenya in the background
Stephanie resting in a Mango tree
From Stephanie Goulet and Theo Nkenfack
We are two days into our great cultural adventure and already we are starting to witness the drastic difference between Kenya and Henniker. No one lost any luggage on our way here, everyone still has their passport, and there hasn’t been any sign of anyone getting sick just yet. Besides the fact that we are all baffled by the time change, everything else seems to be falling together fairly well. Being together with so many people that we don’t know much about and without any instant connection to the outside world due to the lack of Wi-Fi and inability to charge our electronic devices, we are forced to communicate with one another, which is quite rewarding. Today we were all split into three groups of six people each and went to three different locations in Kenya in order to conduct surveys with the TIST farmers in collaboration with two students from Yale University. The purpose of the surveys was to get their input on how they felt about TIST and whether they believed it was actually benefiting them. From experience today, it seemed as though one of the main barriers we had to conducting the surveys was not being familiar with the language commonly spoken here, Swahili.
As helpful as it was to have translators present with us, there was still the problem of having to explain our questions to the translator so they could explain it to the farmer. During the translation process, I’m sure there was some miscommunication. There were even times when the farmer seemed to know the answer to our question and begin answering, but the translator would cut them off to give us a different answer. Another group was having a problem where even the translators weren’t as helpful because the people of the area did not speak Swahili and no one in that group spoke the language either, producing a greater challenge compared to the other groups. After the interviews, most people from each group had their own unique stories to tell.
Samba was telling us about how, during his interview, hand gestures were used to portray the words “small” and “big”. Palms clapped against each other meant small while spread apart meant large. Some of the other people from a different group went to a school. When they walked into the classrooms, the kids in class one who were of a young age were super excited to have colored visitors come into their class, but those in the older class six seemed uninterested, staring blankly back at them. As they were leaving, one of the younger kids jumped out of the classroom, squatted down really low and began to spiritedly play sheriff at the group with his “hand” guns as they were walking away. Moments after that, more kids joined him to wave goodbye. Overall, we had quite the exiting day. Some had longer days than others, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience, however tiring it was, and will remember it for some time. We’re all eager to get out there and learn more about the Kenyan lifestyle.
While in Meru we are staying at the Gitoro Conference Center. Attached are photos on the center, It did not take long for us to take over the center and treat it as a new home. Most of out time is spent outside, as the weather is a balmy 85 degrees and sundry, with a slight breeze.
Daily debrief in the commons area of Gitoro
Dinnertime at Gitoro
A dormitory at Gitoro
Gitoro Conference Center
A room at Gitoro, with mosquito net
These images are from our first full day in Kenya. We stopped on the way from Nairobi to Meru to visit a group of TIST farms about 2 hours out of Nairobi. The farmers welcomed the group with incredible generosity, giving us bags and bags of fresh mangoes.
Our new friend taking us to the Mango grove. All ago mango trees were part of the TIST program
Austin and Kellie devouring a Mango
Anita remembering the mangoes of her native Nepal
The new “Mayor of Meru” trying his first Kenyan mango
Stephanie in the mango tree
Meng and David
The mango grove
The group avoiding the sun under the shade of Mango trees