Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Polly's back from Kenya!

Remember Polly was planning a trip to Kenya? She's back, and was nice enough to share some details of her trip:

Well, my husband, daughter and I safely returned from our trip to Kenya having truly had a spectacular time. This trip was all about seeing the spot where our daughter, Kate, had been living for the last 5 months and meeting her many friends and c
oworkers. We had been to Kenya 11 years ago as a family when we went on some amazing safaris. The only animals we saw this time were 2 giraffes at the game park located right next to the airport in Nairobi. Now that's an unlikely sight as you touch down!

Just to set the scene, I've enclosed a photo of the small town of Kendu Bay. Things are very rugged by our standards, but teaming with life and a feast for our western eyes.

Here's a picture of Kate surrounded by some of her girls from on
e of the primary schools where she worked.
She was instrumental in starting girls' clubs in several of the local schools with the purpose of addressing the reasons for the unacceptably high drop-out rate of the girls. Turns out that one of the main reasons for truancy on the part of the young adolescent girls is that with puberty they have no sanitary protection and so must miss school on a regular basis. Kate, together with a team of local women, were able to devise and distribute reusable pads that were hugely helpful for the girls. She also was involved with sex education - a taboo subject - to try to address the high early adolescent pregnancy rate.

Getting to the crochet workshop, I have to say that it was a huge success! Turns out that Mrs. Opondo (who was Kate's host mother and important community figure) had gathered about 15 or so of the members of her women's group called Voice of the Youth. She even rented a tent for the occasion which was really useful as a protection from the hot sun. As I mentioned in my first blog before departing, I had no idea whether the group would know anything about working with yarn. Turns out most all of them had crocheted before and were familiar with some of the basic stitches. They had this really odd way of holding the yarn, however, so I spent a good bit of time trying to teach them a more fluid way. They loved when I referred to the "pinkie" finger! Though it turned out that most everyone's English was quite good, they had never heard this word before.

We went on to the techniques involved in making granny squares and without too, too much trouble they all pretty much picked them up.
They absolutely raved about the quality of the Encore yarn that I had brought with me from the shop and were so grateful for it and the crochet hooks. I showed them how to change colors as they worked around their squares and also how to sew together smaller squares to make a large blanket.

After we were several hours into the workshop, we had a lovely tea break. I learned that the Kenyans love their tea and it's delicious. It's served with quite a bit of milk and sugar so there's a lot of nutrition to it.

Among the photos from the workshop is one of us dancing. I absolutely loved this part! As a way of celebrating our completed task, they suggested we dance. Everyone set down their work and commenced to sing as we moved in unison to the music. There were big smiles and warm feelings all the way around. I knew that I had shared with them a meaningful skill which they would be able to go forward with in the future. I felt like the distance between our worlds had just been made a lot smaller because of the time we had shared together. Maybe our political leaders around the globe need to talk less and crochet more!

My last photo was taken on the island of Zanzibar where we went for a beach vacation before coming home. It was a beautiful place and a perfect way to end our faraway adventure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed Kenya with you. It was a joy to see the ladies, the crocheting, and the dancing. Here's to more people taking time to sit and crochet and/or knit together.