Week 10 with the Naari Dairy Group – by Emily Egan
It’s been a while since I wrote a blog…And so much has been going on I don’t even know where to start!
We’ve been hiking on Mt Kenya, white water rafting on the Tana River, mountain biking in Segana, we’ve seen cows with cystic ovaries, endometritis, gangrenous mastitis, we’ve eaten tilapia (whole!) and some very strange and wonderful fruits, we’ve been to church several times, and we’ve watched the Lion King at least three times! It’s been a truly incredible summer…
Over the last 10 days or so, we’ve had an opportunity to spend some time with the highschool students who are here from PEI. We spent a morning with them at sports day at Buuri Secondary School, which was a lot of fun even though we were definitely not wearing the appropriate footwear! They also came out with us to visit a few local shambas and get a taste of how farming is done in Naari. And yesterday we went with them to the Naari Dairy Co-operative and Geoffrey gave us all a tour of the facilities there. The students all seem very enthusiastic about all of it and asked lots of good questions at the dairy. They appear to be having a great trip and making the most of the amazing opportunity!
Work has been going very well, we have only a handful of farms left to visit for the study, and then a few “freebies”. Over the last few weeks we’ve had a rotation of students from the other project staying with us, which has been very fun, plus it means Krista and I get to relax while the new girl does blood draws and palpations!
While Mira was here, we went on an adventure to the Lewa Conservancy to visit one of her friends who lives there. The directions we had to go on were the most amazing I’ve ever seen, and included instructions like “left 100m after euphorbia hedge” and “past more farms/rocks/s**t, turn right”. Obviously, we got very, very lost and it ended up taking us 3 hours to get to the house. Took us 20 minutes to get home. But the conservancy was gorgeous, and the people were lovely. We got to go for a swim in a spring while baboons played in the trees overhead! Even the drive was nice because it meant we got a great tour of the area!
Sarifa has visited us twice, and we’ve had a great time with her. She and I both bought milk cans from the dairy to take home as souvenirs, and I have to say that it was the best shopping experience I’ve ever had! We got to climb on the pile of feed sacks to reach the top shelf where the cans are stored. Talk about shopping till you drop!
Last weekend she was here and we all went with Salome, a FHF employee, to see a waterfall and suspension bridge in the Ngarendare forest. The water in the pool at the base of the falls was a beautiful silty blue and the falls were amazing. The park ranger told us that elephants visit the pool by sliding down the hills on their rumps. I was really hoping an elephant would come out of the woods and demonstrate, but no luck! And the suspension bridge through the treetops gave us a wonderful view of the surrounding area. At the end of the day we drove back through the Lewa Conservancy and pretty much had our own mini safari! We saw giraffes, zebras, antelope, and even a rhino way off in the distance! Our guide had incredible eyesight and could spot animals so far away that they looked like little specs of dirt on the window to me! And to top off an incredible day, we went to Jennifer’s for a sleep over and a delicious dinner with the group of high school students visiting from PEI.
Sarifa left this morning and Maggie was dropped off. As yet, we haven’t had any super exciting occurrences during Maggie’s stay, but I’m sure that will change! We did manage to visit 4 farms today and all the farmers were very generous. The first gave us a chicken (our fifth this summer!) which we then carried around for the rest of the day. The second fed us a very tasty lunch and tea, the third gave us hot milk (a first for me!), and the last gave us more tea. We are all very well fed and appreciative!
The last 10 weeks have been a whirlwind of new experiences and great adventures with wonderful people, I feel so privileged to have been able to meet so many amazing people and learn from them some small part of Kenyan culture, farming, and community.
This is my last week in Naari, and I will certainly be sad to leave, but more adventures await and I’m very excited to visit Mukurwe-ini and see how things are done on the Vets Without Borders project!!