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Reisverslag A World of Differences
24 mei 2014
A World of Differences
Anyway, there are also many things which are very difficult here. You can ask somebody at the end of a business day, are you tomorrow in the office and are you at the planned meeting. They can say yes I will be there, to find out the next day that they have a training outside the office for the rest of the week and are 4 days gone. You can go to a school after making an appointment, pay 50 euros to travel to this location and then hear the head teacher saying oh I forgot I have another appointment, please come back next week. And then the Kenyans will say, ok see you next week. When I came at 16:00 at the migration office for extending my visa and on the website was stated they were open till 17:00, the officer started with an angry tone asking why I had the guts to come in the middle of the night. Followed by, I have been waiting for you from 08:00 so why did you not come at 08:00? Knowing that arguing doesn’t make sense, you just listen and play the dumb tourist. The funny thing he eventually processed my application, but he crossed me 5 times while I was waiting and every time he said with a pointing finger, “next time don’t come in the middle of the night!”, and I left the place at 16:45 .
With the project, everything goes very well. We are continuously developing the platform and it gets better and better. We visited the last 3 weeks four out of school youth groups and 3 secondary schools. All the youth we visited are extremely enthusiastic about our platform. All of them say they are definitely going to use it to educate themselves and to find answers to questions about Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Some of them say, this is such a nice way to find information which you would never ask your parents or teachers. It is also a good method to find the truth and to know which myths you should not believe. One of the kids said I can use this to consult my friends when they have issues in relationships or when they have sexual health problems. The need for such information is enormous. So many misconceptions are alive and so many old fashioned ways of thinking by teachers and parents are making life for young people very difficult. Having a relationship at school is in some schools strictly forbidden. And teachers can give the weirdest information about HIV/AIDS or STI’s etc. It’s not that we believe that our website will change the world in one instance, but giving youth access to correct information is also giving youth the power to educate themselves, make well informed decisions and maybe even start discussions with their environment. And when they become older they will have the power to change things. That’s where I strongly believe in.
Then I will finish to try to explain a bit about the security situation in Kenya. You guys might have heard a lot of rumors, as so we did. About 5 years ago Kenya & Uganda and the African Union entered Somalia, because Al-Shabab was very active in these regions and also terrorizing the border of Kenya. This interference has put of course hatred in the Al-Shabab (a spin off from Al-Qaida). They have been terrorizing Kenya ever since. Their main goal is to disrupt the economic situation in Kenya, so the attempts are not focused on foreigners. That’s why they hit local markets, public transport etc. The only time they also hit an international community was with the Westgate incident last year. Lately the terrorist attempts has increased as Kenya and the African Union increasing their activities against Al-Shabab in Somalia. It’s in that way (sound weird to write it) a logical reaction. The attempts are always shocking you in that sense that it is always horrifying when people get bombed, but they are always in places where we are not coming. We live far away from these places and do not feel unsafe at all. It is also most unlikely to expect attempts in our environment, because it will not affect the Kenyan economy that much. So we only try to avoid public transport a bit more, but we don’t feel afraid of going out to our offices. What has made it a bit change, is the evacuation of 1000 British tourists out of Mombasa (not Nairobi). Then you start asking the question what is going on. Rumors here say that there is more than meets the eye. Apparently there is also much political tension between the West and Kenya, due to some recently made deals with China. The West is putting a lot of money in Kenya to try to get a stable environment so both the West and Kenya can prosper from healthy partnerships. But recently the Chinese are also shipping large amounts of commodities back to China and they don’t care about the security status in Kenya. So the West is paying to make it stable and China is profiting from this. So they say the British country wanted to hurt Kenya for making these deals by hurting their tourist sector. There are already 30 hotels closed due to the withdrawal of the tourists and the travel restriction up till October to Mombasa, leaving 100.000 people unemployed.
You can see the situation is very difficult and hard to say. We keep in close contact with our own embassy and they say nothing has changed so far since the last 5 years. Being careful is their advice, which is quite logical. But we are living comfortably, far away from the incidents and are not involved in any of these incidents. The risk of getting involved is of course there and bigger than in the Netherlands, but still is very very small. I hope this draws the picture a bit and gives some inside information about the situation over here.
Almost ready for our first short vacation. On Thursday we leave to the west to the Pearl of Africa. They also call it the Switzerland of Africa, and as my close friends know how much I love Switzerland, you can imagine how much we are looking forward to go ;)
Take care, Robert
Foto's bij verslag (8)
24 mei 2014 19:43 | Door: Kees
Thx Robert voor je update, ook voor de info, tekent inderdaad de complexiteit. Zegen en wijsheid gewenst in alles!!!!
24 mei 2014 22:09 | Door: moeder Hoogendoorn
Lieve kinders, bedankt voor het verslag, altijd goed te horen hoe alles gaat. Wel jammer dat de situatie in Kenia toch reden geeft voor zorg.Maar we blijven positief denken en vooral vertrouwen. Horen gauw weer van elkaar. Xxx moeder. Zorg goed voor elkaar! Houden van jullie!