Karibu! Welcome!

Since 2004, EWB@ MSU's professional and student volunteers have worked with community members in Khwisero, Kenya to provide water and sanitation infrastructure at the district's 58 primary schools, making it easier for Khwisero's children to avoid waterborne disease and get an education.

In that time, the group has grown from a small club to one of MSU's premier student organizations, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund seven borehole wells, six composting latrines and a biogas latrine that serve thousands of community members.

Thank you for joining us as we continue to work hand-in-hand with local partners to make a difference in one small part of our world. As Western Kenya's limited internet access allows, we will update this blog while in-country with the successes, stories and lessons provided by our work.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Football at Mushikongolo

Texel Feder

The hot Kenyan sun beats down on my head and shoulders. Sweat trickles down my neck and back. Ants crawl over the tops of my bare feet. I stand at the center-line of the field, waiting for the kick-off.

A hodgepodge of wazungu and Kenyans, including EWB-ers, primary school students, university students and several translators make up the teams. Within a few minutes of starting, the sidelines are filled with school children watching us intently. All sixteen of us fix our eyes on the ball as it bounces and rolls across the uneven field at Mushikongolo Primary School. We’re surrounded by rolling green cornfields; just below us is the Yala River.

A kick, a cheer, reflexive deflection by the goalie, oooohs and aaaaahs from the sidelines. A large crowd has gathered on the other side of the schoolyard fence, as well. Mamas with their babies tied to their backs cheer us on just as loudly as the kids. A number of piki-piki (motorcycle taxi) drivers watch the game unfold, although they remain more aloof than their fellow spectators.

Sitting with the cheering crowd, Autumn attempted to take photos of the game. She was quickly smothered by riotous giggling at the magic of technology. Who knew digital cameras could be the source of so much laughter? The stream of questions, answers and giggles seemed endless.

The girls also seemed to enjoy teaching Autumn Kiluhya phrases, particularly hearing her accented pronunciations. When I took a break from playing, they surrounded me as well, asking questions, teaching me words, and touching my hair. I couldn’t think of a reply when they asked why my hair was so soft, though.

Back on the field, the EWB-ers tried their hardest to keep up with our Kenyan team members, but it became clear that we hadn’t eaten enough ugali (cornmeal mush, the local staple) to make it happen. Despite all our hard-breathing and dripping sweat, we just couldn’t keep up. After an hour-and-a-half of nonstop play, the clouds heralding the afternoon rain began to cover the sun, forcing us to return home.

I left the field with a swollen bruise on my shin (the result of a collision with Josek, a translator at Ebukwala Primary), Jonah Barta’s left knee no longer had any skin, and Kiera Mcnelis suffered a mild twisted ankle; all-in-all we felt pretty rugged.

In my post-game excitement, though, I forgot to stretch—and regretted it deeply the following morning, when I awoke to discover that I could barely move and that every muscle in my body seemed to hurt. For the rest of the day (in all honesty, for the rest of the week) every step I took was a reminder of our match. And that was just fine with me.

No comments: