Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kate's first week on the Community program

What an incredible first week it has been!  It has been so full-on that it’s only now that I have the time to sit down and put pen to paper about everything that we have been up to since the start of the community project last Monday (It’s now Monday a week later!).  Time really does fly here, even if everything does happen in “Kenyan Time” (their definition of punctuality here is definitely not to be compared with ours in Europe!).
It’s simply different here – everything is different!  Forget about what you’re used to back home! You’re just simply not going to find it here.  OK, despite the running water, electricity and internet acess.  To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting this at all, but at the end of the day, it does make life infinitely easier.  Nevertheless, I am going to make the most of it while it lasts – next week I’m off to Mkwiro, an even more remote village on the small island adjacent to Shimoni.  Being much less developed than Shimoni, there will be no electricity or running water.
But enough about all of this! I have to say that even after just one week, I can understand why so many people have decided to stay on here.  You immediately feel welcome in Shimoni with almost all the locals who you awlk past on your walks between the GVI house and the village and schools greeting you with a friendly “Jambo” or “Karibu” (They only make you awnt to be more generous and hard-working while you are here).  It seems that GVI has developed a really great relationship with the local community and you just feel lucky to be able to be a part of what they do here.
Welcoming kids from Shimoni.
I myself, among others (including our amazing GVI Community staff, Nikki) have been involved in the community side of the project, continuing on GVI’s work with the local schools – Shimoni Primary School, Matunda Bora Primary, and Base Academy Primary.  I think it has been due to our close work with the local people that has really given us this sense of feeling a part of the community.  Although I walked into Shimoni with just a short pre-expedition TEFL Assignment as my official English teaching training, I have just thrown myself into it and found teaching here to be an incredibly rewarding experience so far, more than I could have ever imagined!  I confess, I already don’t want to leave in 3 weeks time. 
Adapting to a new culture climate and way of living like early morning wake-up calss that sound from the nearby mosque calling people to morning prayer and teaching a class of so unruly pupils living here has certainly come with its challenges.  However, it has all been really positive and above all interesting to see the workings of a community which has indeed started to develop but still lacks a lot of the necessary foundations that will ensure the sustainability of any future development.  I guess that’s what we’re here to help them with, but with an emphasis on community initiative and ownership.  We are just here to lend support when they need us!