Friday, August 13, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
3 discussions about management efficiencies and resource allocation
1 new outside consultant
1 new constitution election
2 visits to the beach (one with my new mat from the village)
9000 shillings spent on souvenirs
1 Kenyan holiday
2 new custom outfits made by Mzungo (oddly, the Kenyan name for white people), my Kenyan seamstress
1 new wikipage communication system set-up
4 new Skype users set-up
2 birthday meals with my roommate Mel (Happy 28th Birthday!!!) - 1 breakfast al a Denise and a much yummier dinner at a local African restaurant
1 Friday night out to the movie "Our Family Wedding" and a dinner at home using the rest of my food, since I was leaving at 3am to start my trip back to the US
1 Happy Intern, excited to start on Yehu's new Marketing and New Product Development Plan
Thursday, August 5, 2010
In 2005 and 2007, Kenyans experienced turbulent elections wrought with controversy and outbursts of violence, but if there was trepidation about this election, it was not heard or felt at Yehu. It was business as usual.
It wasn't until Wednesday afternoon when I started receiving emails from my very concerned mother that I even thought about safety. Mel and I spent hours at the beach during the day, and other than being surprised that it was relatively empty for a holiday and seeing what we assumed to be a post-election party being set up in someone's back yard, we wouldn't have known a historical election was happening.
However, just to play it safe, we decided to stay in the rest of the day and check the internet from time to time to see if there were any election day surprises we should know about. Later that night, we heard the music and celebrations, which indicated that things must have gone well and we wouldn't have anything to worry about.
The next day at work was abuzz with everyone anticipating the announcement of the results, people showing us their pinky fingernails that had been stamped with ink to indicate they had voted (to prevent double voting), and sharing perspectives on their votes. One of the senior staff members shared with us that it was her first time voting. She felt like voting was much more important this time because it would change the history of Kenya and she wanted to be part of that. After the announcement of the new constitution passing, we were able to witness some of the celebration in the streets on our way home and I was able to snap a couple pictures from our matatu window. Although it wasn't my constitution and future being impacted, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement and feel a bit of victory nostalgia.
Congratulations to the Kenyans for this monumentous event in their history! Overcoming their previous election precedents and have a positive new start to their future governance is definitely something to celebrate!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
1 Hand-made mat (gift from the village borrowers)
10 New recommendations to be added to my plan (all derived from the client and staff interviews)
5 Pieces of chocolate cake (in 3 days, but a little known fact was discovered, that if you put a small slice of chocolate cake on a cracker with peanut butter, it actually tastes like a Reese's cup - and then add slices of banana and a cup of Milo and coffee, and you have breakfast)
9 New Yehu friends
1 Friday night out to the movie 'Inception" and a dinner that included a delicious chicken tikka sandwich and Snickers milkshake - YUMMMM!
Another great week indeed. It seems like it is all going so fast, but I am getting so much information that it will probably take me weeks just to process it all. Only 1 more week until I start my journey back to the US!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The market was abuzz on Saturday morning with all types of shops and vendors and customers rushing to get what they needed before lunchtime. We walked around the fabrics markets for about an hour, but everything looked like something I would pick up in India (which I already have 5 outfits from there when my luggage was lost 3 years ago), a burka, or something I could get at a fabric store in the US. It wasn't until I showed them a brightly flowered print and kept saying 'I want something Kenyan' that they realized I wanted kanga fabric. Typically, kangas are used to wrap around like a skirt or to wrap around a mama's torso to tow her little one on her back, but they come in the most interesting and fun designs that I wanted a dress made from them. After a painstaking deliberation and negotiation, I finally decided on 2 kangas at about 300 shillings each (less than $4) and we were on our way back home. Next week, I will be taking them to the tailor to see what amazing dresses he can design from these 'Kenyan' fabrics.
Friday, July 23, 2010
|View from Yehu Conference Room|
10 mad dashes to the Matatu stop
4 leisurely walks home (including one that included a detour to the beach for a beautiful sunset)
13 new friends at Yehu
7 manuals and materials reviewed
3 meetings with the CEO
24 opportunities identified that will be included in my plan
5 cups of Milo (my favorite ovaltine/cocoa drink that will make me a “future champion”, or so says the packaging)
4 new Kenyan dishes, which included beans and rice, chapati, ugali, beef stew
3 desk assignments:
- In a plastic chair on the side of the other intern‘s desk
- In the same plastic chair across from the marketing officer at his desk; and
- Lastly, the conference table in the top floor conference room (the final one is my favorite, despite the scratching, thrashing alligator that I swear resides on the roof, we have a beautiful view of the water)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
When we arrived, it was an awesome 3 bedroom apartment, fully equipped with a kitchen and 2 full bathrooms (with hot water even!). I know doesn’t sound like the lap of luxury, but after sleeping in a new place almost every night for a month, including one night on the side of the road on a sheet over gravel during the worst bus ride from Burkina Faso to Mali during my previous internship, this felt like the Ritz Carlton.
I had time to drop my bag, change my clothes and we were off to Old Town Mombasa, which included some really neat native souvenir shops and the beach at Fort Jesus (a fort built on the coast in the shape of Jesus by the Portuguese). The pictures don’t do it justice, this was one of the most breath-taking ocean views I had ever seen!
Unfortunately, I was quickly losing steam, so we headed back to the apartment in a tuktuk (basically a motorcycle cab). We decided to watch a movie and after about 10 minutes, I had fallen asleep and was starting to scare my new roommate with my sudden jerks awake, so I put myself to bed After 16 hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep, I awoke the next morning at 10am., and spent the whole day relaxing, catching up on emails, reading, and getting ready for the next day - my first day at Yehu Microfinance. I was so excited!
Monday, July 19, 2010
After I arrived, I was introduced to the staff and had a meeting with Yehu’s CEO, Adet Kachi. We decided on the game plan for the next three weeks since so much information needed to be gathered in a short period of time. After that, I was handed the first of many materials I would be reading over the next three weeks and dove into learning everything I can about Yehu, specifically about their marketing and new product development. My purpose is to make a plan that will help them attain their main goal of self-sustainability. This will ensure they will be able to continue helping the rural women in Kenya become economically independent without worrying about where the funding will come from each year. I realized quickly that this is going to be a challenging, but very rewarding internship.