Quote of the day: "It doesn't matter what you do from 8 to 5, it matters what you do from 5 to 8 in your own personal time" - Roy (the amazing Project Coordinator)
"Everything happens for a reason" - Roy
- Unlike Nairobi there were bicycles everywhere...they are called Boda Bodas. People use these as taxis with cushions and handlebars on the back, it costs about 20 shillings as a taxi which is about 20 cents. The Boda Bodas are the most common type of transportation used in Kisumu as well as in Oyugis.
- Luo is the language spoken in Oyugis, not Swahili! So now we have to start learning a different language that we had prepared for...o well :) Luckily all the words are pronounced like they are spelt. Ero Kamano - Thank you, Ber - Hello
- Food grown: avocados (AMAZING! I have already eaten 2 huge ones and drank avocado juice at breakfast), sweet potatoes, pineapples, rice, bananas
- There is a serious state of urgency for the yogurt production to begin. The Yogurt Mamas (22 volunteers currently who will be making, distributing, and selling the yogurt) have been waiting 2 years to begin. The study subjects (200 children, 200 women, and 200 men) are getting frustrated and angry that they have been interviewed and extensive data was collected from them and they have still not received any yogurt.
- It was very difficult to get 200 men to participate in the study since many did not want to expose themselves as HIV positive
- distribution→ the study subjects MUST consume the yogurt daily and it is especially important to ensure that the children are drinking the yogurt (and not their parents)
- The study subjects' compliance to come to a distribution site and consume the yogurt every single day is one of the most challenging aspects of the project.
- It is necessary to extend the working hours to provide the yogurt daily for people who work 8 to 5 and cannot make it to consume the yogurt
- Although the yogurt is supplied free to the study subjects if they do not see the benefits then they will not want to travel every single day to consume the yogurt, which is necessary for the study to be complete.
- Completion of the study (2 yrs): this is critical to prove the results and benefits of the probiotic yogurt. The study is necessary for further funding and sustainability of the business.
- Empowerment of women→ financial freedom for the women
- Women were chosen over men because they are known to use the money to support orphans and other children. Men are likely to use the money for booze and women.
- The Yogurt Mamas are leaders in their community
- Help the women brand and market the yogurt to sell
Greatest learning experiences:
We finally arrived in Oyugis which was when things really started to get interesting. This would be our home for the next 3 months and I was a little nervous but my excitement overtook that quickly. From the moment we got there I could tell that the village was one of the poorest regions in Kenya. In this small village we are the only white people so we attract A LOT of attention and everyone is curious to meet us. Our first stop was the Rachuonyo District Hospital where we met the Medical
Superintendent Dr. Peter Ogola, some other doctors and nurses as well as many other curious Kenyans who wanted to meet us.
Our next step was a visit to the yogurt kitchen where we will be spending most of our time working. It looked great! Roy has taken a lot of time to renovate it ensuring that all the requirements are met to produce dairy products in the kitchen. It is very clean, operationally functional, and Roy has proven to be quite the intelligent young man who is well educated about dairy production and business in general.
Everywhere we went we got attention especially from the children. Many of the younger children between 3 and 7 years old are running around everywhere which is completely normal. We checked into our hotel which is really great and a lot better than I had expected! The staff are amazing and the security is pretty tight especially because Roy has been very helpful ensuring we get the very best service. Lastly Roy took us on a walk around the village which was absolutely amazing! This is when we
interacted with the children the most after they had finished school.
Most memorable moments: