Rocking Recon

Its been just over three weeks and I am officially in love with East Africa! The trip planning is going incredibly well. After Landing in Nairobi I was met by our Host from North Maragoli who showed me around the city. While in Nairobi I connected with Solo7 and Massai Mili. Solo7 is an artist living in Kibera who has been internationally recognised for using his artwork to promote messages of peace during the post election ciolence of 2008 in Kenya. He is part of an artsits collaborative called Massia Mili based in the slum and they contribute a portion of their earnings and resources to running art workshops for local kids. this practice started after the violenec as a way of bringing children of different tribes together in a postive creative environment. The OGEA 2010 Team will be visiting the studio and get a chance to meet the artists while getting shown around Kibera, and meeting with organizations that are working there.

From there I camped out by lake Naivasha and explored Hells Gate National Park, even saw a family of giraffes from 10m away! I know the group will be in Awe when they see the massive sandstone gorge, which according to the local rangers has deepend by 3 feet in the last few months alone.

After Naivasha I went to Kisumu, the homestead of the Obama family and Kenyas fishing port on Lake Victoria. There we will be working with Blue Cross, an organization that provides support for local youth through soccer tournaments, theatre groups, health and drug clinics, and counseling. We will work with the theatre group to put together a set of skits to liven up a youth group debate on the Proposed new Kenyan constitution which is up for a vote in August. It will be a great way to delve into Kenyan politics and support an excellent organisation.

From Kisimu we will head North To Maragoli, a small area between the Lake and Kakamega National Park. There we will stay with Ahuga and each participant will geta chance to stay with a mentor/ host who has been matched to them by similar interests. All of the mentors are active in the community and most of them volunteer . Here we will get a chance to see the special needs school that our two local participants have been working on in their hometown for over a year!

From There I jumped the border to Jinja where I met the director of Friends of Lake Victoria, an INGO that facilitates conservation with organizations in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. After jetboating on the Nile I cooled off with a cold Tusker and watched the rapids before heading to Uganda’s capital.

In Kampala I met with the head of SLINT Uganda, an organization that focuses on poverty eradication and environmental sustainability in Uganda. We ironed out the last details of our volunteer stay in Kiboga and the surrounding villages where the group will be tree-planting building two nurseries in primary schools and facilitating and participating in a bee-keeping workshop.

Despite some minor tent malfuntion, I am happy, healthy and pumped to see Kigali, and Mwanza before heading back to Nairobi to meet up weith the team when they fly in on the 21st.