Our team has all made it to Kenya. We had a few quick days in Nairobi to adjust to the jet lag, and check on our artisans, football team, and kids program, before we set out for the villages. This past week we’ve been in a village in Meru, Kenya, which is in the central part of Kenya. This is where Edwin is from, so it is awesome for him to have the opportunity to go back and offer empowerment opportunities in the community where he was raised. During our time here, we trained 8 entrepreneurs with business training skills. They learned everything from customer service and marketing skills to budgeting and savings. After the first day, we were pleasantly surprised that everyone came on time and sacrificed their entire day for this Yobel International Training. You could see the way many of them were soaking up the knowledge. The entire training was done outdoors under the beautiful sunny skies (we all got sunburned, even Edwin). All of the trainees are farmers who expressed interest in improving their current small businesses of growing crops and selling milk and eggs. You could definitely see the growth of knowledge as the week progressed. We were given tours of everyone’s farms. I climbed an avacado tree, and we were gifted at least 100 avocados as a thank you (heavenly!).
The training was definitely impactful, as seen by the questions people asked and the exit surveys from training. The last day we had a graduation ceremony, complete with dancing, a cake cutting song, and decorations. You could feel the joy and love radiating from this small group, and it’s amazing to see the relationship building that happened with all of the trainees, many of whom Edwin has known their families since childhood.
It is fair to say that this training wiped out the trainers. We are mentally pretty tired, I think especially hearing peolple speak in Kimeru all the time and trying to guess at what is being talked about. Last week we had a terrible expereince of trying to get our car fixed after the brakes went out going down a hill. We literally sat on the side of the road arguing for more than 2 hours about the price, with the mechanic, who leaned on the car the entire time chain smoking and chewing khat (a mild narcotic here). After no resolution could be reached, we settled on paying half of what he had originally asked, only to find out on the way home that the brakes had in fact not been fixed at all. We then proceeded to wait an entire extra day for the car to be fixed, missed picking up our other U.S. volunteers from the airport, and had to send Naomi to get them instead. They have been very gracious to us though. Please pray for encouragement and strength for us, and that we would not grow weary in these trials. It is not the lack of hot showers that really gets to you here, but rather the lack of honesty that is so pervasive everywhere.
This past week we began another Yobel training session in Nairobi. Things are going well so far, and we are extremely busy. We have taken lots of warm water bucket baths, but our spirits are mostly high. We’ve had little Internet access, so please be patient as we try to post pics and info. Thanks for all of your prayers.