Friday, July 27, 2007

We’re Old Enough: A Team Update from Andy

This morning I discovered that the sound of a donkey is more ear-piercing than that of any rooster in the world. Sitting up underneath my mosquito netting, I leaned over and grabbed our team’s blackberry to see if there were any new messages from our partners, donors or friends. I always find it ironic that we are in one of the most rural villages of Kenya, and I am still able to read the front pages of the New York Times, CNN, and my Mom’s updates from Vermont.

What was interesting about this morning’s set of emails and the most challenging for me was a message from a friend of mine back at Duke. It read, “So Andy, how’s the team doing in Muhuru Bay?” With only my thumbs to type the answer, I simply replied with, “Amazingly well – everyone has dived in head first.” But as I sit here in Migori at the internet café with a full keyboard at my disposal, I found myself typing a different response. And I wanted to share it with you when I had the chance.

My subject heading: You’re old enough.

Ok, so I have decided to take a second crack at your seemingly simple, and yet almost impossible question of describing how our team is fairing in their first two weeks here in Muhuru Bay. In the last email, I tried to use one phrase. Today, I have narrowed it down to one item: a driver’s license. But I’ll get to why I chose this prop over, oh, I don’t know, a passport. First, however, let me tell you how frustration is a good thing here and what makes this team different than any other I have worked with in the past.

One of our team members told me one morning that no book or class could have ever prepared her for what she was experiencing in these first few weeks. She explained that yes, reading about something is one thing, but meeting a girl face to face and listening to her accounts of selling her body in order to earn enough money to pay for school – “You just can’t prepare me for that,” she said. And on the other spectrum, one of the guys in our team was floored by the community commitment expressed at our town-meeting the other week. He recalled the chiefs announcing that although poverty plagues the region, they were willing to invest in the future of their girls and raise enough money to pay for one girl to attend WISER every year through a Muhuru Bay scholarship fund. “I never in my wildest dreams expected that,” he said.

And it’s difficult coming into this community for the first time. Even in the taxi ride from Migori to Muhuru Bay, I was asking him about his thoughts about girls’ education in the region. I will never forget his answer. He told me, “The women here are the farmers’ first harvest.” He explained that when there is a drought, or a low crop yield and farmers are hard pressed for money, they will immediately look at their women, daughters, and any others that could be sold into a forced marriage. As we were driving, we passed a trio of girls carrying buckets of water on their head. The driver pointed, “If they were part of one family, two out of the three would be sold.” These girls were no older than 15 or 16 years old.

So, as I said, I think it has been difficult for some to enter this community and begin to understand the giant need for improved girls’ education here. As is natural, many in our team simply became frustrated by what they were observing – classes not having qualified teachers, homework being given without any answers or textbooks, and a preference for boys in almost every aspect of the day – food, sports, and more. But what makes this team unique is that they have used their frustration to fuel their action.

Take Patrick Messac, for example. During his first week here in Muhuru Bay, he wanted to learn what it takes to be a teacher. He sat in the back of multiple classes in both the existing mixed secondary and primary schools. On different occasions, he has interviewed students about what they enjoy most about their school experience and where they hope things can improve. He has tutored countless students in what are called “Night Preps,” almost serving as a Jeopardy contestant helping students answer questions ranging from geometry to agriculture, Kenyan history to Christian Religious Education ( a requirement in the Kenyan education curriculum). And lastly, he has talked with many of the teachers about what they enjoy about their school day and what areas they hope for ways to improve. And the reoccurring theme is homework – how to assign it, how to do it, how to review it, and how to make it an important rather than supplementary part of the day’s lesson.

After seeing him interact with the students and teachers on a twenty-four hour basis, I knew that this team was not going to stop with being frustrated. He has now arranged with the teachers and administration a teachers’ seminar about ways to use the Duke donated computers to provide students a weekly homework assignment schedule, an answer sheet for review and a grade sheet to provide incentives for students to complete their homework. Talking to the deputy principal, Patrick is providing them with something they have never had – a brainstorming session.

But Patrick has also planned a student study skills session. He tells the group over and over that simply tutoring and giving an answer here or helping out with a formula there, will not make a lasting impact. Instead, he knows that if given the opportunity to learn study skills (different methods of review, working in groups, budgeting time, having weekly goals, making to do lists, using study skills such as acronyms, chunking, and flashcards) these students can and will succeed. He has planned two school-wide sessions that have not only got the students excited but relieved in a sense considering their major exams are in two weeks and to have a new set of study skills – as one student put it, “Better than a futbol goal.”

So right, the team gets frustrated, but when I told you the team was doing amazingly well, I meant that frustration was not the dead end, but rather a catalyst to the change each student feels they can make in partnership with the community.

Coupled with frustration, many team members have also expressed moments of utter surprise (and I am not talking about how bats fly around our mosquito nets each day or even out from beneath the latrines!), but instead how students are literally on the edge of their seats to learn new things.

Take Kelly Teagarden and Tyla Fowler for example. Both are prepared to lead the leadership session that will take place over WISER Camp from August 5 to 18th. But beforehand, they have helped lead a session where the former form 4’s from last year, returned to provide feedback about the curriculum we hope to use in this year’s WISER Camp. Kelly and Tyla led an activity that according to them, on average took students in the United States about an hour to complete. The task was retrieving a bucket from the middle of a circle (the pretend lake) using only rope and each other. The group of Former Form 4s completed the task in less than five minutes. But what took them a lot more time than expected were the trust falls and floating stick activity where a group of twenty student all have to be touching a stick and then gradually get it to the ground – it’s fairly difficult without a solid teamwork and chosen leader. Both Kelly and Tyla found it empowering to see such active participation by the students, but more importantly, during their feedback session, students told them that they had never had these type of activities before. One girl said in the group that before, she would have never trusted her peers as much as she does now after the activity. Another student observed that, and I quote, “The best team is the one who has a team of leaders.” At the end of the day, students worked together to create a shirt that described what they have all been doing since they finished secondary school. None of them had continued onto college. None of them had steady jobs. To be honest, I was a little nervous what they were going to put on their t-shirt.

After an hour, the shirt had the design of all their names on it with the phrase written in royal, bold blue, “Unity is Strength.” When asked to describe the process of making the shirt, one of the girls shared that, “Too often, we’re alone. Today we were together and felt stronger. That’s why we wrote about unity.”

Both Kelly and Tyla took all the feedback and are now in full swing preparing for the WISER Girls’ Day (this precedes WISER Camp) where all of the area primary school standard 7 girls are invited to attend an all-day long event sponsored by WISER on August 9th. These are the girls who will be eligible next year to apply as Form 1s for the first class of WISER. The All Girls’ Day will involve every Duke student as it has been planned to involve five different stations: W I S E and R. the W station will have games, activities and information about Who, What, When, Where, Why WISER led by April? The I station pushes girls to say, “I can lead, I can trust, I can be myself” which will involve Kelly and Tyla’s leadership activities already piloted with the former form 4s, the S station will be led by Chetan about “Strength Within” which will listen to the stories of each girl in order to learn who might be our first class of WISER students and how we could pair certain students with sponsoring organizations and families, the E station will be led by Lee which stands for “Expand Your Mind” that involves a life-size puzzle of Africa and a series of trivia questions that we as a group have collected from the area primary schools, and lastly the R station stands for Rx where students will learn from Mike and Elise about health facts including HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and puberty. The day will begin with an opening ceremony that will break the 125 girl students into five teams – the W’s, I’s, S’s, E’s, and R’s and each have a counselor. Each team will create a cheer and flag with which to travel station to station. At the end of the day, students will participate in a final closing ceremony where they will be addressed by two women leaders of the community including one of WISER’s board members and learn that this was a walk through a typical day at WISER. We are hoping to target the standard seven girls at this time to provide them with an incentive and motivating goal to work extra hard in the next year in standard eight in order to be eligible for WISER the next year, but more importantly, realize that WISER will be a community center in addition to a school that will provide workshops that are not only educational, but downright fun.

So we have feelings of frustration and surprise in our team, but both coupled with action – and thoughtful, meaningful action in the community. Among the many activities, however, one has been the most exciting for our team and involves almost everyone. After installing the first solar panels of the community with Dr. Sherrryl Broverman’s funds, we have utilized Duke’s 20 donated computers to lead computer training classes during the day and at night. Every Duke student pairs with 2-3 Rabwao Secondary students huddled over a computer learning how to successfully use a computer calculator, type, format, save, and open a document and reach 25 words per minute or more typing speed. These students have never seen a computer, much less touched one. To see the students’ pace of learning explode with the support of the Duke team is absolutely incredible. We printed off a practice typing sheet which we drew from hand. And every night and day you can see students practicing their homekeys and proper fingering techniques for typing.

One student who was paired with Jason Pate, just could not type on the first day. There was no concept of lifting up one’s finger before pressing another key. So instead of typing “I am a good student,” it would instead read, “ IIIIIIIIII AAAAAAAAMmmmmmmmmm aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ggggggggggoooooooooooodddddddssssssssstuuuuuuuudeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnt.” Lots of areas in which to improve! We thought it was going to be pretty difficult on the second day. But again, why underestimate a kid who wants to learn. The next she was the fastest of the entire group and on Mavis Beacon achieved 32 words per minute with 94% accuracy. Unbelievable.

But the computers are used more than just for typing and word processing. Instead, they also provide us with an incredible tool to teach about health issues with visual examples and even a few videos. In addition, we can show the students their photos instead of just taking a snapshot and walking away. And lastly, we have showed a “A Closer Walk,” which is a film about the worldwide AIDS epidemic and for many, it’s their first time seeing a white person have AIDS and realizing that this disease is truly a global nightmare requiring a globalized solution. We have been training teachers in the mornings and students in the afternoons and evenings. But most of all, we have realized how much power you give to a student by opening a laptop and telling him or her, “Go ahead!” Absolutely incredible.

So that’s how are team is diving in head first. It’s not that they are unprepared; in many cases I think our team is over prepared in the lessons we teach, the activities we lead and the discussions we have among ourselves debriefing the days’ events. Although most of us say no book, classroom or article could prepare us for what we have experienced here thus far, we have also realized that we could not be thinking about any solutions or interventions without the preparation back at Duke and in our own high school experience. We have realized that international development is not isolated to those who spend their entire lives in the classroom; nor is it only about those who devote their entire lives to being ‘on the ground’, but rather, it is an intersection of both – a delicate, complex, but empowering combination.

I told you that I would describe our team using a driver’s license. And I’ll now tell you why. Although most of us are still under our parents’ life insurance plans, we all have a driver’s license. On that license, it tells us our age. Whether it is Patrick in the classroom, Tyla and Kelly in their leadership workshops, Jason in computer class, Sunny and Lucy in their microfinance surveys (see Lucy’s blog), Chetan and Lee’s planning of Girls’ Day, Mike’s involvement with health education in and around the community, and my work with the architect beginning the construction of our school and all the bureaucratic steps in between, we all know one thing: We’re now old enough. We’re old enough to start something big.

We’re old enough to make an impact. And we’re old enough to say we can and mean it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

4th Dispatch from Muhuru

Today, after spending one night in Nairobi, Andy, Denis, and I will be returning via nightbus to Migori. There are so many great things that have happened since my last blog, and Andy will give a team update in his upcoming blog!

On Tuesday, as planned, we brought Stayfree pads to Rabwao Primary School, and the reception we recieved was even warmer than when I distributed the pads to Women from the Community! At first, April and I introduced ourselves to the classroom full of over 100 girls. The girls were very quiet, and probably a bit uncomfortable as Lee, Andy, and I sat in the room as April explained how the body changes during puberty and how, "All of these things are normal, they are a part of growing into a beautiful healthy woman!" These girls ranged from standard 6 to 8, and many had never been told why the menstrual cycle occurs, or that it is a normal part of growing older. It was clear that the girls had many questions, but they were very shy, so I insisted that the three men in the room, including myself, go outside to give the girls more privacy. The result was incredible. For a full twenty minutes, April recieved questions ranging from menstrual cramps to hygeine, and utilized several diagrams. April then told the girls that we had a gift for all of them, and I could hear shouts of joy fom outside the room.

At that point, I returned and explained the proper use of the pads, and thankfully, a worker for the Muhuru Bay Red Cross served as my translator, allowing the explanation to be understood easier. It's really been empowering to provide knowledge and education along with the pads, but it has also been abundantly clear that my gender has a way of getting in the way of my objectives. April took more questions about the pads, but girls only raised their hands after the men left once again. What was important, was that all of us felt that the information had been effectively communicated and absorbed by the Rabwao students. When a male teacher returned to the class, he said something incorrect (and inappropriate) about "retaining freshness" and "applying one pad before class each day". Thankfully, most of the girls were ignoring his ignorant comments, or shaking their heads in disagreement. When April told the girls that they would be recieving four ten-packs, I heard girls shouting, "That's forty!" It will be truly amazing once the use of such products becomes widespread, enabling girls to stay in school rather than missing weeks of class each year.
Andy and I had an incredible meeting with a Johnson and Johnson Representative, a meeting which was helped in no small part by a chance encounter with Prashant Swaminathan, who happened to be staying at our hotel! I'm extremely excited about WISER activities this coming year, there are so many opportunities and challenges ahead of us!

We are ready for them!

3rd Dispatch from Muhuru: MicroFinance edition

Squinting my eyes in the late afternoon sun, I watch two toddlers toying with a piece of plastic. I lean in to listen closely for familiar words in the Luo banter among the older members of the family. They are trying to calculate how much the family spends per person on clothing and footwear each year. This question is one of the more challenging on our fifty-six question survey. I sit back and wait until Michael, my translator, announces the decided amount.

Perhaps you are wondering: what is the purpose of a survey full of questions about shoes and school fees? These questions provide the skeleton of a complete poverty assessment, which will produce a snapshot of the economic condition and needs of the Muhuru Bay community. We are one week into the second phase of the three-part process to accomplish this task. The results will be used to demonstrate to existing Microfinance Institutions the specific needs of the Muhuru Bay community. The ultimate goal of this effort is to bring the specific financial services to the community that will fill these unique needs.

The “we” I refer to is the WISER Microfinance Team: Jason Pate, Sunny Kantha, and myself, Lucy McKinstry. Throughout the spring, we worked with several Duke professors of Economics and Public Policy to complete the first step of our project: a needs assessment tool tailored to the specific cultural and economic climate for households in Muhuru Bay. Step two is the random sampling of 300 households in the area. The daily routine entails biking throughout the 28 sub-areas and visiting five random houses to each complete a survey. The final step will be the econometric analysis of the survey results this fall, again working with Duke professors experienced in this field.

This project is fascinating and exciting for several reasons. By personally visiting the houses and listening to the problems each family faces, we are experiencing the vivid reality of these families in a way that would be impossible to replicate in a book or a website. Looking at home economics through their eyes has illuminated with sharp clarity the luxury and privilege that saturate our American lives. Despite the language barrier, we are immersed on a daily bases with the challenges these mothers and fathers face, the trade-offs between a new roof and school fees or the blunt truth that for half the year there simply is not enough food to go around. Even my simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a tangible sign that we are living in two different worlds: jelly is such a luxury item that none of the families we have visited thus far ever enjoy on this sugary treat.

On a lighter note, the field work can also be fabulously entertaining. People are both curious and warmly welcoming. Many families graciously insist that we take part in their midday meal or a snack of porridge. People are full of business ideas and often ask questions on how they can learn more to improve their income and raise capital. There are also many comical scenes such as chickens flying inside the house. Occasionally we provide the comic relief for onlookers while biking over the uneven hills and rocks on the Muhuru Bay peninsula.

To me, the most exciting aspect of this trip to Kenya sandwiches our field work here in the community. Our first few days in Nairobi we were able to meet with several Microfinance Institutions and microfinance NGO’s, and we will conclude the trip with several more next month before we fly home. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from their experience and also establish relationships that we hope will evolve into partnerships with the Muhuru Bay community.

Although the survey process can be slow and tedious at times, we are thrilled to have this opportunity and inspired by the warmth of this community. We are constantly driven by the incredible thought of what an positive impact a strong microfinance program could have on the lives of these families.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2nd Dispatch from Muhuru


We have been in Muhuru for over a week, and the lessons and experiences have been incredible. Many of us on the Duke team, including myself, have been shocked by our experiences both in and outside of the classrooms here. I’ve visited classes at Rabwao Secondary School, intending to observe teaching methods utilized by the teachers, and had teachers hand over the chalk, and walk out, expecting me to teach. I went to the teacher’s lounge, where a teacher claimed he was preparing final exams (his excuse for skipping class), and found him reading the newspaper.
Muhuru bay has the worst exit exam scores in all of Kenya, and it is easy to see why. There is absolutely no accountability at this school. First of all, Rabwao is a public school, and the government chooses what teachers the school may hire. The implication is that while there are good teachers in Kenya, few want to work in a poor, rural environment like Muhuru, which lacks luxuries such as electricity. The Kenyan Government reserves good teachers for public schools near large cities like Nairobi, leaving small villages like Muhuru stuck with teachers who often don’t even have credentials. There is no reward for improvements in student performance, so teachers are free to continue poor teaching habits, come and go as they please, and take days off if they feel so inclined.

In the Kenyan system, 11 classes are taken each trimester, and a teacher has 40 minutes to complete a lesson. Students have little class time, but with so many classes, they have far less time to comprehend their lessons outside of the classroom. A math teacher assigned a difficult homework problem, and when approached by Patrick, the teacher was unable to complete the problem. How can students learn if their teachers don’t even understand the material they are teaching? Teachers assign homework, but never correct student’s work. I remember from my high school Calculus classes, how helpful it was when my teacher went over homework problems. Patrick is working to address the issues observed by the Duke team, by offering a teaching methods course in conjunction with the Computer training being offered to teachers in the coming weeks. I am looking forward to seeing his program, and am cautiously optimistic that it will help Rabwao students in the long run.

Last week, I helped distribute Stayfree pads from Johnson and Johnson, serving over 120 women from the community. With the help of Rachel Gartner (Washington University in St. Louis) and my translator, a student from Rabwao, and I was able to educate women on the proper use and disposal of the Pads, before distributing them. Women had walked miles to get the pads, and they were all smiles when they saw that a male student (me) was educating about them! It is a testament Muhuru’s lack of wealth, seeing women walk so far to receive items valued at 255 Shillings ($4.00). Many women even attempted to come back for more pads, but were turned away once I noticed that they had returned to the long line for the pads. Pictures will be added to this blog shortly, as our Internet speed is quite low here in Migori (an hour outside of Muhuru). On Tuesday I will be distributing pads to female students at Rabwao Primary School (standards 7 and 8), as many girls flooded our table last week when we were distributing pads to adults in the community. April and I are extremely excited about giving the pads to the girls, as well as educating them about adolescence, education many adult women in the community never received.

We are now teaching computer classes for our second week, and the students from Rabwao are so enthusiastic! We now have Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, which is an invaluable tool, and a major improvement over our nonsensical songs about home keys and different letters. Rachel is leading the computer classes, and each Duke student has been showing so much team spirit (teams 1-7). I am teaching Team 3, a group of two girls (Lucy and Adline) from Form 3. While Lucy is a fast learner, Adline initially had some trouble with releasing her finger after each keystroke. They are both a pleasure to teach, and both have passed the first lesson in Mavis Beacon. Both the solar panels and the 7 laptop computers will serve the Rabwao student body well into the future, and will improve each student’s chance of success after graduating.

Oriti (goodbye),

1st Dispatch from Muhuru

from July 15, 2007

Hello all!

This is April, and I update you now from Migori, a town about an hour away from Muhuru Bay that puportedly has electricity, though right now I'm sitting at a really old computer in about a walk-in closet sized internet cafe where the power and the lights are out and the computer is run by a noisy generator outside. We rode in a taxi on the way over here and crammed 11 people in it. Just to get a visual, please everyone stop for a moment and envision really uneven dirt roads with lots of holes and giant rocks sprinkled with small children running about to school, people on bicycles carrying lots of wood and women carrying jugs of water on their heads. Now imagine with 10 people and a baby flying at 100km/h. Death ride. No joke. Luckily we were ok and we didn't hit anyone (except for we almost nailed a cow that just barely made it out of the way).

We've been in Muhuru for 5 days now. It's incredible. This is the second go round for me, since I came last year. I think i had gotten so wrapped up in the logistics of WISER, that i had fogotten how beautiful it is here. We've made a habit of hiking up to the top of this really high rock to watch the sun set. We can see a lot of Lake Victoria, the Kenyan countryside, as well as both Tanzania and Uganda from up there. It's breathtaking. Sometimes it feels like paradise.

But the truth is, we don't have to walk far for it to begin to feel like Hell either. Children (anywhere from 4 to 9) with no shoes and bloated bellies from lack of food fish with bamboo sticks while standing in the lake which we won't touch -- for fear of parasites--just so that their families can have a reasonable meal. Old women, bent over from carry huge jugs of lakewater on their heads for miles to water the crops that they try to sell to make money. It's hard to deal with often. It is a sort of extreme poverty to which I am unaccustomed. And though all of us came out here with one suitcase prepared to "rough it" for 6 weeks, the truth is, I've begun to feel quite spoiled. We live in a house made of plaster with a tin roof. Granted the roof doesn't touch the walls, but it feels really luxurious after a day of walking around in the plains around the lake seeing only small mud huts with roofs of thatch for families of 6 or 7. Our one lantern for the 11 of us, which is our sole lighting source after dark, seems excessive as we walk past the night study rooms at the school where all of the girl students share one for everyone.

All that aside, we have seen some incredible and really inspiring things. This past week (on our first full day in the village) we were invited to Shining Star Primary School, with children from nursery school age to grade 5, who were awesome. They were prepared for our visit and performed several traditional Luo (the local tribe) songs and dances for us. It was a great welcome to Muhuru, as the kids dressed up and used traditional Luo facepaints and instruments in their performances. We tried to give them some entertainment of our own as we taught them the hokey pokey and showed them our own rendition of Row, Row, Row, Your Boat.

We also had an incredible community meeting this past Friday. The purpose of the meeting was to get together with the greater Muhuru Bay community and both share with them the latest develpments and plans, but also really to just get some feedback from them and to make sure that all of their voices and concerns were heard. There was a marked differenece between the community meeting this year and the one from last. Last year we gathered in the Dining Hall of Rabwao Secondary School and the meeting consisted of us broadly talking about currenty problems with girls' education and a few of the community members' responses to that. This year, we met on the land donated by Dr. Rose's father, where the WISER school will be built. We moved a bunch of chairs and benches with a truck (see Kelly, Mike, and Patrick) out under a big tree which overlooks all the land and had an astonishing turnout from the community (picture). This year we were able to share with them real concrete plans about the school and its development, after which we broke into smaller "focus groups" so that we could really hear what Muhuru had to say. We got a lot of valuable feeback from them about ways we can best work with the community, but what i found most exciting was that we found overwhelming support. Muhuru is genuinely excited about the project that we have begun and all of us are looking forward to working with them in the future. One of the points that was emphasized most was that WISER is not just a school for girls, but a community center meant to benefit the greater Muhuru Bay community. It was overall a great meeting which ended with everyone eating together. The boys, to dispell any rumors about gender and cooking, helped prepare the meat and then served the village (picture).

In general, we are still having a great time and learning a lot every day. Look for another update soon!

April Edwards

-Post from July 15

Monday, July 9, 2007


Today is our second day in Nairobi. Yesterday 36 boxes of Stayfree pads arrived at our hotel (1296 10-packs). Thanks to Johnson and Johnson (J&J), these products will prevent the girls of Rabwao Secondary school from missing a week of school each month, due to lack of hygienic products (and subsequent social stigma). The meeting was a huge success, and we were provided with handouts and a large chart on the female reproductive system, to aid our adolescent health course. We’re unsure how we will transport so many boxes from Nairobi to Muhuru Bay!

After our meeting, we rode in a taxi to the Yaya Market, only about 2km from our hotel. We took a ride in a taxi, all six who had arrived thus far: Prashant, Elise, Sunny, Lucy, Patrick and me. The Yaya market was entertaining and colorful, the best barterer from our group had to be Patrick, even though he was decked out in a Kenya shirt, marked out as a tourist and teased by just about everyone. At one point, I was out of shillings, and vendors approached each of us, "friend, brother, I want to show you something, come here". One vendor said he'd trade several items for the pair of jeans I was wearing. I've been at an open market in Israel, but in Nairobi, there are no limits to what people will do. I was decent at bargaining, but that didn’t prevent me from paying 1500 shillings (about 23 dollars) for three small ebony wood animals. Patrick, of course informed me that another vendor had tried selling the same animals for 200 shillings a piece. I’m just contributing to the Kenyan economy via my naïveté.

Around 11:30 last night, our group of delayed travelers arrived: Sherryl, April, Tyla, and Kelly. They were very excited to see us, and they looked bright-eyed and bushytailed after 3 days of travel delays. Today we are all restless and ready to get to Muhuru Bay, but we must buy more supplies, so it may be a day or two until we depart Nairobi. In the meantime, April has taken possession of the guitar I brought, and is having nonstop song sessions in the room next door with the other girls from our trip. I for one am enjoying one of the last real showers I’ll have for six weeks.