We have been in Kenya for a while now so there is a lot to report on.
Our first days in Kenya were spent in Nairobi, where we were treated with a really nice hotel. It was great to eat raw vegetables again, especially tomatoes. We visitied the Nairobi Vet School, and also got a tour of the International Livestock Research Institute, ILRI, and stayed at the hostel there. We met a tonne of very hospitable people with enormous knowledge of the challenges facing some of Kenya’s poor.
From Nairobi we drove to Ischimara where we visited the Wakulima Dairy Co-op (Wakulima is Swahili for farmer). We stayed at the Chairman’s house, who we only ever knew as ‘the Chairman.’ We visited some farms in the area where we treated sick cows and John educated the farmers about the importance of stall construction and cleanliness to prevent mastitis. We also began taking blood from calves, which will be tested for immunoglobulins to find out about the success of passive transfer.
Soon we moved on to the Mchaka orphanage and the St. Theresa Mission Hospital where we watched in action the meal programs designed to feed toddlers in the area. We also fed and spent a day with the orphaned babies of the region.
Nearby in Meru we witnessed firsthand the effects of the 3rd drought in a row. We visited Kinyinjeri school where the garden and a sorry food store is all that feeds the communitie’s children. The principle told us that it is difficult to convince some of the children to return home at the end of the day, as often times there is no food there. They live dangerously close to the edge of starvation, and with no harvest until January it is difficult to imagine the challenges they will face in the near future.
We then travelled for a day to Ex-Lewa, so named because the man who named his farm Lewa (a muzungo- white person) had to vacate his land at the request of the government and took the name of his farm with him, leaving Ex-Lewa in its place. Here we visited some more farms, treating animals and taking blood. The co-op has a new relationship with Farmers Helping Farmers and they are very appreciative of the help and advice being offered. We were welcomed so warmly and were treated so well it was amazing.
Kenyans have given us such a warm welcome into there homes. Almost everywhere we have been we are offered something as we leave. We even recieved a bag of freshly picked avacados! mmmm.
Presently, Val and I are travelling to farms with Dr. Kimindi, a local Kenyan vet. We are learning a lot about challenges facing dairy farmers in the area, and about the veterinary profession here. What a great experience.