Here we (Shaz and Liz) are in the last week of a month speaking tour in New Zealand (NZ) before we head to Aussie to do the same. We’ve been in schools, unis, Rotary Clubs and had lots and lots of coffee catchups with people.
In this month alone we’ve slept in 12 different beds.
Besides the question of corruption the other question I mainly get asked is “So, what do you actually do for a job?” So here’s what we actually do, although every day is different.
I try to be in the office by 8.45am but it depends on traffic. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, other days 30. Basically in the mornings I volunteer with an organisation called Afri-Lift which works with children and youth for very poor backgrounds. On Mondays I’m in meetings until 2pm, Tuesdays I write grants for fundraising, Wednesday’s prepare for a 6 hour teaching day, Thursday teach, Friday do marketing.
The afternoons/evenings are taken up with work for BeyondWater (the Aussie charity we started in 2007), writing LOTS of emails, blogging, social network updates, looking at projects and every now and then taking Pete out for a coffee. I work till about 9pm most nights with my other spouse – the laptop.
Three out of four weekends we also have programs on. One Saturday we train youth leaders, another we have a tuition program in the Kibera Slum and the third Sunday of the month we assist with the Riziki Childrens Program. That leaves us one extra Sunday to meet up with some young couples we are mentoring.
In addition we host lots of international visitors, sometimes go to the Kibera Slum with food packages or randomly do things like have the odd day off.
My days are certainly never dull and boring. Like Sharon, on Mondays we have a staff meeting for a couple of hours but every day/week is different. Sometimes you’ll find me tiling a kitchen, fixing a tractor, buying a truckload full of seeds to transporting tomatoes. You will also see me working with teenage boys training them on the ‘how tos’ of farming. This might mean pulling apart something that doesn’t work and showing them how to fix it. A lot tends to break down and it’s giving the locals the skills so next time they can fix it themselves. When I say things are varied, it’s a slight understatement. One morning I might be trying to find a market for the produce that the trainees grow and then that afternoon helping to install a water tank.
I try and spend 2 – 3 days out at the farm which is about an hours drive. But I also need to be in town to work out all the other stuff. I’m not confined to an office or computer but every couple of days you can’t get away from paperwork. I work with a small team of people who have different roles but one thing I’ve learnt is that you can never over communicate.
Here in Kenya things are complicated and take much longer than say in Australia. You can’t go to one hardware store and get everything you want. Just because they say something is definitely in stock doesn’t mean it’s actually there.
This year I’m trying to take a couple of afternoons off a week. So far I’ve failed miserably.
Every couple of months we get personally involved with our water projects. That might mean driving a few hours to meet up with the community to make sure they’re on track.
That in a nutshell is our life, but it’s much more interesting in reality than in print. We meet amazing people, every day is a challenge and there is lots of work yet to be done.
Why not join us by:
- Giving (ask me how)
- Joining us (long or short tem)
- Find out more (shoot me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org)