Kaleidoscope Program (August 2015)

Week three in Mariakani was off to a slow start. Both Julia and I had gotten sick over the weekend, probably due to something we ate. This was bound to happen at some point, as we’ve been eating everything that people suggest to us, which includes a lot of street food. While the physical aspects of being sick are no party, I was mainly upset that our weekend plans to go to the Gedi ruins had to be canceled. However unpleasant the consequences had been, I had recovered by Monday, but Julia was not yet at the top of her game. So the first few days were slow, mainly us sitting in the office and writing. One exciting moment was when we made the second poster for the nudging experiment; the one with well-known Mariakanians holding up condoms. We had been worried that it would be very difficult to find people who would be willing to do this, but Yieri made a few calls, and that evening, we were able to take the pictures. It was much easier than such an arrangement would have been at home. Shout out to Saumu and Said for helping us out!

Besides the experiment, we’ve also been continuing with the condom distribution. A few days ago, some commercial sex workers asked for condoms and training. We went to find them the next day, but unfortunately, we couldn’t find the same ones. So while we still distributed the condoms, there was no training.Maybe we will run into the sex workers again, so that we’ll actually be able to give them the information they desire.

We are finally hitting our social stride in Mariakani. A local youth is teaching us to make biryani, we have been invited to church, and on Friday we are going out in Mombasa with the office staff. It’s nice to feel more included, and less like outsiders, especially to those we see every day. Besides that, we’ve been taking a lot of walks, both through the town and by the railway. It’s always nice to get outside and move a bit after sitting in the office.Also, on a positive note, we have our water back! Another small anecdote about becoming more accepted in the community relates to samosas. We happen to live next to a man who makes and sells samosas. So obviously, we’re probably eating more samosas than the Department of Health recommends. This week, I was buying some samosas, and did not have exact change. Unfortunately, the man also didn’t have change, so we were at an impasse. I was expecting to just go without the samosas. However, he allowed me to take them because I could just pay him back the next day! Yay for gaining a bit of trust!

Anyway, we still have one week of internship to look forward to, which includes some corporate social responsibility, and, of course, analyzing our data and discovering if our experiment had any results. Then it’s just some frantic report writing, and back to Europe. But let’s not think about that until the time comes.

By ANNEMIEKE & JULIA