My Visit to America

I went to America in June a week or so after my 1 year anniversary of living in Kenya. It was a much needed homecation. I flew into DC and that moment of readjustment some volunteers talk about was not necessary, as soon as I saw my friends it was almost as if I had never left. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

I think I’ve said this before but my friends are AMAZING. My friends, the dynasty, threw an elaborate cocktail party in Rochee’s perfectly decorated apartment catered by a professional chef to celebrate my visit.  The menu? Crab deviled eggs. Lobster mac n cheese. Cornbread muffins with a collard green filling. Chicken and waffles. I could go on but that really doesn’t seem fair. I’m obsessed with upscale soul food and I love when someone is able to add a new take on a classic. Kudos to the chef. Double kudos to my friends.

The timing of my visit was perfect. I was able to meet up with my H.O.P.E. family to scout venues for our 3rd anniversary event. Missing H.O.P.E. events comes in 3rd place for cause of sadness right after missing family and friends. It was so nice to jump in and be a part of a major accomplishment for our organization.

Of course I went back and visited all my friends at my pre-PC job Banner & Witcoff. Oh man, it was like old times. I was so fortunate to have an amazing supervisor and so many friends during my 4 years at the firm…I mean they have to be awesome to make intellectual property fun.

DC was just the start of my journey, I spent the majority of my time at home in Oakland, CA. My mission was to see family and friends, help get my brother prepared to start community college, and eat all my favorite foods. I think I would claim victory for all three categories.

Jetlag hit me in CA. I was tired and so appreciative of everyone who understood and let me rest a bit, unfortunately that cost me a few visits with some family and friends.

I went skating with my cousin wearing matching outfits, and by skating I mean I put on skates and hung on the sideline while she grooved around the rink. She convinced a couple of really nice guys to skate slowly with me while I held on to their arms for dear life. I had a blast.

I returned to DC for my last hoorah before returning to Kenya. I did a lot in a relatively short period of time. Visiting home was refreshing and it made me excited about continuing my work. I took pride in telling people about the work I did in Kenya. I took pride in truly believing that I am doing something that I think will make the world a better place. And it was home that made me realize that Kenya has changed me for the better.

DC: Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party: warm greetings

DC: Cocktail Party, The Dynasty

DC Cocktail Party: The Dynasty

DC: Cocktail Party, crab deviled eggs  cornbread and collard green muffin

DC Cocktail Party: crab deviled eggs and cornbread and collard green muffin

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DC Cocktail Party: chicken and waffles

DC Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

CA: skate night

CA: skate night

CA: theme park

CA: theme park

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Week 1 at Site

Site: The location a volunteer works and lives for 2 years after PST.

I found out around week 3 where my site would be…that day was both exciting and terrifying. My packet said I would be in Western Kenya, north of Lake Victoria working with the Madiba Fish Farmers.

Yeah, I went fishing with my dad when I was around 4 (or so I’ve been told) but that’s the extent of knowledge on the matter. Paired with that lack of knowledge on Aquaculture I had also been informed that exchanging sex for fish is a major issue, fish farmers are a group with extremely high HIV/AIDS rates, and there’s an issue with Jiggers. Welp…thanks Marketing degree.

Having been here 1 week…I feel like this site is PERFECT for me. Hopefully I won’t have to retract those words.

The area I live in is beautiful, I’m surrounded by trees and hills and beautiful green area. With time I’ll make sure to share some photos of the area. My supervisor is extremely knowledgeable in Aquaculture and is teaching me tons on fish farming and wants me to assist in training the community on doing Fish farming as a business. (Marketing degree…sorry I doubted you)

I will also be working with the Odiado Tumaini Assoication. Tumaini means HOPE in Kiswahili…if you are missing the irony…in America I am the Marketing Director of The HOPE Scholarship, an organization that awards need based scholarships to HBCU students and with this organization I will do some health related work and business basic trainings in the community.

So yeah…it feels a little divinely orchestrated.

We hit the ground running. Here’s an overview of my week.

Monday:

  • Went to Moody Awori, former VP of Kenya’s, residence to view his fish pond project which my supervisor is managing.
  • Met the former VP
  • Visited the Ministry of Fisheries and met the officials and toured their demonstration ponds.
  • Attended a Malaria net distribution event organized by my closes PCV, Sarah.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday:

  • Visited the offices of the:
      • District Commissioner
      • Public Health Officer
      • Deputy Police Officer
      • Ministry of Youth Services
  • Worked on the presentation my supervisor and I were to give on Fr.

Wednesday:

  • Attended a Malaria training for Community Health workers

Thursday:

  • Market Day (bought a few household things)
  • Visited a Peanut Ground Plant/Peanut butter making facility.
  • Presented to a Stanford PhD student on Aquaculture…well my supervisor presented on Aquaculture and I presented on the current business climate for fish farmers.

Friday:

  • Visited the former VP’s property to view the new construction of a nursery pond.
  • Went on a 3-month follow up visit with a fish farmer in the district to evaluate the growth rate of the fish and make recommendations on feed and pond maintenance.