Posted by: Claudia Tompei
I can’t believe that it has already been six weeks since I traveled all of the way from Switzerland to Kisumu to meet David and Erick.
After giving me some time to settle in, to find my way through the city of Kisumu and to get used to the Piki Piki, we started our work. Just in case you didn’t know: We were building a brand new boarding home for the girls attending the brand new class rooms in the village of Obambo. I didn’t know much about construction work but the image I had in mind about building a house contained a lot of different machines, but No! Only real hand work in Obambo. It’s so great to see a building coming up step by step. After learning about the importance of measurement, I realized how much hard work it is to dig the ground and prepare the foundation, wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow. But then, for me, the most interesting part was, of course, the walls. This is where even a construction beginner like me can see what’s going on. Brick by brick we go higher and higher.
Besides construction work in Obambo I spent a lot of time playing with the Akili Girls and visiting their classes. I realized that if I wanted to learn some Swahili, the easiest way to do so was to attend Kiswahili lessons with the first graders. Teacher Annette made me repeat the words over and over again, so that I wouldn’t forget them. Of course that still happened sometimes, and the look that I got from teacher Annette is more of a punishment that anything else. To prove my progress: Samaki means fish, ng’ombe means cow, mayai means eggs and maziwa means milk. But no matter how much I enjoy Kiswahili lessons, the best part of the day was the break. I remembered that I really liked to play football and that my talent to sing didn’t get any better since I left primary school. But the girls were very patient with me and they kept on showing me the right moves to the song. I still did a better job at “catch me”.
The best thing to do here, besides work, was eating Kenyan food. I loved to go over to David or Erick’s place to have a home cooked African meal. Of course my favorite was Chapatti, I call it the African version of a Tortilla bread. I could eat Chapatti everyday all day long with beans or lentils, or just by itself. Of course there are several other dishes I loooved to eat: fish, for example, or beef. But, of course, I could not just eat Kenyan food without making my family here try some nice Swiss recipes. They had to try Röst, Älplermaggaroni and Gschnätzlets. Of course you have no idea what that is. But that’s OK, I can just tell you that it tasted great; not Chapatti kind of great, but still very good.
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Riley Orton Foundation
Riley Orton Foundation (ROF) provides holistic education and promotes gender equality in STEM education to ensure girls and a community with the agency to realize their full potential