Week Two of August 2015: Training on Enterpreneurship at Mariakani, Kilifi County

Week two in Mariakani started out quite slowly. After spending the weekend in Mombasa, swimming, chilling on the beach, searching for matatus and realizing that food costs the same as in Utrecht, we returned on Sunday evening ready to continue with the internship. Monday was predominantly occupied with planning for the following days. We spent ages on our laptops, while occasionally talking to people who wondered into the office.


On Tuesday and Wednesday we were supposed to give a workshop on social entrepreneurship, which was a new topic for us. So Julia and I did a lot of research and prepared an interactive presentation for the youth of Mariakani. Just coincidentally, Obama had spoken about entrepreneurship a few days before during his visit to Kenya, so we were able to incorporate some of his speech into the workshop, which had the dual benefit of enriching the program while making us feel as though we were involved with a super hip and current topic. The presentation went well, at least according to the feedback we received, but it once again showed some cultural differences between the people of Mariakani and us. Only one person showed up on time! While this is not that unusual, I was super surprised when the rest arrived over an hour late. We are used to people being no more than 15 minutes late, and if you are, it definitely requires an apology. However, here, it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Luckily, by cutting out a few games, we still managed to fit the presentation in the required time. On Wednesday, it was raining, so no one showed up for the training. That was quite disappointing, but there’s nothing we could’ve done about it. Instead we went to visit a school to observe the meeting of a youth club. Which was really nice about the workshop days was that Esther came over from Nairobi, so we got to see her again. We also put up posters for the first nudge week in our experiment, and are excited to see if it has an effect.

With regards to life in Mariakani, everything is going smoothly. We are bonding with all the shop owners by the office, and are continuously meeting new people who chat with us and ask for our phone numbers. I am sure that in the past two weeks more people have asked for my number than in the rest of my life combined. Julia has it especially bad. She has a Smartphone, so countless people WhatsApp her or add her on Facebook. Since my phone was cutting-edge technology in the early 90s, I can call and, with great effort, text, which effectively cuts down on the amount of suitors who contact me. Another factor may be that Julia is just much more social, so she talks while I stand next to her and smile.

Two things happened which really set us apart as foreign. First, our water ran out, and we were very confused. Charles came to our rescue, and now we have water again! Secondly, Julia and I really wanted to eat some coconut. We bought one from next door, but had no idea how to open it. So the butcher used an ax to open it for us, and then three people helped to take the flesh out. I guess it takes a village to feed two wazungu. That being said, it was delicious.

It is strange to think that we are already halfway done with the internship, and that there are only two weeks left before we return home. So maybe Julia and I should start working on our report. At least, that would be the responsible thing to do…