I get some Information…still no home

Today we were introduced to our partner organization reps. Sure, mine showed up a little late, but we’re on Kenyan time now. The man I met is named Isaac; I can’t remember his last name. People are often referred to by only their last name in a business setting; I would obviously be called Woodruff. It’s polite for me to refer to others as Bwana (sir) or Bibi (ms.).

So my placement. I’ll be working for the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) and here’s what they would like me to help them with: sending out PR announcements, creating and maintaining a newsletter to send out, develop a website that can: receive feedback, capture contact information, etc., set up their in-office network, create a database of contacts, create a financial system, create an hr/payroll system, create reports for as needed information…I’m sure there’s some I’m missing. Oh yeah… and train all their employees to use and maintain these systems. It seems like a mountain of tasks and I hope to achieve them all, but I know there’s only limited time and limited resources so we’ll see what I can do. I’m always up for a challenge.

What is UDPK? UDPK is an umbrella organization that promotes advocacy for persons with disabilities in Kenya. It overseas over 200 organizations that work directly with people with disabilities and HIV/AIDS. What they strive to achieve is equal rights for all disabled individuals and reduce the stigma that comes along with it. The Kenyan government has still not included equal rights for people with disabilities in their constitution. UDPK is working hard to ensure that this happens. I hope I can help speed up this process.

JB Learns some Swahili

Habari za jioni? Good evening. The Swahili studies are going well and I’ve found it’s been fairly easy to learn the basics in just two days of study. The remainder of our orientation will be dedicated to learning some practical skills for working in the country as well as some safety and health practices. I just want to know how I can join a football club and start getting some exercise…I don’t think it’s possible to just go running down the streets here.

We’ve been able to leave the training compound to go to the pub down the street at night to grab some national Tusker beers…pretty good…no alcohol in the Methodist guest house. Speaking of which, I woke up this morning to some singing outside where a group of people were being baptised in the pool…yes, Kenya has swimming pools.

Everyone around us have been helpful in practicing the language and learning about the culture and politics…so far, most people say things are fairly corrupt. I think I’ll stay out of those conversations for now.

JB Arrives in Nairobi

It’s been 24hrs since I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya.  First impressions…this should be interesting.  We are a group of 12 volunteers from all over the world and we start out with some language training at the Methodist  Guest House in Nairobi.  Many will leave after the week to head off to their respective positions around the country.  Swahili seems like it’s going to be fun to learn with some difficulties.

Food is ok…edible is good.  Water hasn’t upset my stomach…yet…good.  Beds are comfortable…i could sleep anywhere though.  Water in the shower…warm…good.  Weather…awesome…and this is their rainy season. 

I’m new to the blog things so I’ll try and pick a topic to discuss and avoid jumping around, but look forward to sharing my experience with you.