Casual Arrangements

Writing is about a lot of things, and sometimes it’s about processing life, trying to make meaning of events, and catharsis. That’s what Collin and my posts were about yesterday.

Unfortunately, it appears that we offended someone who thought what we wrote could be easily tracked online and that it might be offensive; this advice might be valuable. I dislike the anonymity bit, though. I think that if someone has something critical to say, it’s best to own it. Then it can be a real dialogue.

Moving on…

This morning Collin and Terry went to visit several people who are involved in some of our development projects. He got to meet some women who have started businesses due to the micro-finance program. We stopped to get dinner from one woman’s restaurant that she started with her loan money. It is really cool to see these programs bring tangible benefits to people’s lives.

Collin also met a woman with a daughter who is alive and well today largely due to the care packages sent by VCF. The infant formula sent during Impact Week went to an HIV+ mother with an infant. She had suffered the tragedy of losing her first child due to the transmission of the virus through breast-feeding. So, when her second infant was born, she was able to feed her with the formula that was sent by VCF. Her daughter is doing well now, and she is old enough that she can consume other foods besides formula (below).

Meanwhile, Senya and I spent the morning together back at our cottage. We went for a walk, splashed in a little “pool” that I made for her from a large plastic tub (it was during the strongest hours of the sun when we try to keep her indoors or in the shade), and had a wonderful time.

Then Collin brought Terry to meet me for lunch in Diani. It was our goodbye lunch, and it was just her and me. We had fun, ate good food, and laughed. She is so ready to have her baby! We all thought that we’d be here to meet her new baby daughter. I guess there is still time! We have a day and a half left here on the coast. I will miss Terry very much. She is a good friend, and she invests so much in our joint projects here. It always feels so strange to leave her and not know exactly when we will see each other again. But, I always feel in my heart that it won’t be too long.

After lunch, we went back up to a primary school in the village. I was supposed to have a focus group that I rescheduled after I had to “shut it down” a week ago. These arrangements were made casually with the teachers, not the headmaster.

When we arrive to the school, however, the Headmaster (same one who thought we were gate crashers) said, “well, as you can see, that is the problem with casual arrangements. The students are busy in a competition this evening.”

Ha, ha, ha. I like that man so much. He is so opinionated and just says it like it is. He likes us, though, and he said so. He said that we are welcome anytime at his school.

So, the students were unable to meet for a focus group. Again. But, that’s okay. I mean, it’s all part of the experience of doing my first study here. I got several great focus groups, so I should have enough data to use for my report.

Then we stopped back by Terry and Paul’s house to say good bye to everyone one last time. We spent a couple hours drinking chai and talking about life, relationships, politics (US and Kenyan), and laughing. It was really fun, and we will miss them very much.

On the way back to Diani, Collin realized out loud, “Wow. we are done the work we came to do this month.” Now it’s just packing up and getting ready to leave.

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