For the Girls! Day 1 of programming at Rafiki Trust

Hello world!

Our team finally has internet access via a USB drive and so can begin with our first long awaited update from the field here near Asembo, Kenya! Yesterday (Tuesday, February 16) was our first day meeting with the women who are attending our education sessions - what an incredible experience! We began with a fun icebreaker where we were all to choose a feeling word off of the table and explain why we were feeling that way that morning. From both the Canadians and Kenyans, there was an overwhelming sense of inspiration, hopefulness, safety, and eagerness. We were definitely both excited to learn from one another. 

We then split the women up into two groups so one half could receive the Days for Girls shield sewing workshop and the other half would attend an introductory business/entrepreneurship workshop with our three representatives from Enactus St. Mary's University. They would switch after we enjoyed lunch together.

The women were enthusiastic in learning both activities and expressed specific items they will take away from the sessions. From the business workshop, various elements of entrepreneurship (e.g. operations, finance, and marketing) and from sewing, they each took away a shield they made themselves. We were so inspired by their motivation and keeness to better their lives for themselves and their families.

The workshops concluded late afternoon, and then a few of us went on the first set of home visits – the rest napped! We were fortunate to have with us two social workers (Beatrice and Robert) from this Chalice sponsor site as well as a staff from the African Chalice Regional Office (Martha). They were able to translate as required and this allowed for more contextual dialogue as well as to the social and economic circumstances they face. 

We first met with Dr. Obel who is a retired physician who was a prominent Kenyan public health representative within the United Nations. What an honour to have been able to learn from him! We then went to three local homes where a child was recently enrolled into Asembo's Chalice sponsorship program. We were ale to learn about some of the barriers and challenges in meeting basic needs and gaining an education. One young boy did very well on an exam where there was no distinction between children who have access to many resources (e.g. continual electricity) as compared to those who may not always have access to kerosene for their lantern within their home. How can you study and complete your homework in complete darkness? This young man did - what an enriching experience to meet these families. Each of the children and their mothers were incredibly gracious and we so appreciate their hospitality in welcoming us into their homes!

We ended the evening with our own group meeting/debrief and it was apparent about the impact these women are already having on us and we are so thankful for this opportunity.