18 May Penn State’s Trip to the CYEC
The Pennsylvania State University provides technical support to the CYEC. Each year, approximately 10 students travel from Pennsylvania to the CYEC. Here’s a look at their Kenyan adventure:
Wednesday, June 14th: Touchdown in Nairobi
After over 20 hours in travel, we arrived in Nairobi tired but on a mission. Our hotel, the Shalom House, was on the outskirts of the capital city. On the way there, one group got to drive through Kibera, the second largest informal settlement in Africa.
At the hotel, we met volunteers from different programs and with diverse destinations in Kenya. For dinner we tried chipati, a tortilla-esque Kenyan staple that veterans of the class had been talking about for weeks in advance—yum. A few hours of sleep, and we were on our way to Nyeri.
Thursday, June 15th: To Kari and then Nyeri
This drive felt like it lasted forever! But many of us were so tired we slept in the bouncing van. In between legs of our journey we stopped at the Blue Post Hotel to eat delicious fried chicken and curries. While there, we did some local sightseeing too. We checked out the roaring waterfalls in a national park and meandered around BPH’s little zoo.
Blue Post Hotel
Next we visited a Practical Farming Training Center partially-funded by USAID. This farm features plots with fruits, vegetables and decorative flowers used to teach farmers efficient practices that both make them money and protect the environment. The staff taught us about the solar powered technology they use to promote sustainable techniques, and even offered us lunch. But we were pretty full from the delicious food at the BPH!
Practical Farming Training Center
That night, we arrived at the CYEC and enjoyed dinner at a nearby hotel with some of the staff. We went to sleep excited for our first day.
Friday, June 16th: Day 1 at the CYEC
Hamjambo from Nyeri! We’re learning Swahili quickly here in central Kenya. Today we visited downtown Nyeri for the first time, and though we didn’t have much of a chance to bargain for anything, learning the language sure helps you get around. The town is bustling with grilled meats, sweet fruits, shoe vendors, hair salons- you name it! Today we bought and tried sugar cane, and of course we’ve been drinking lots of milk tea and eating ugali, a maize porridge sort of like baked oatmeal.
After grocery shopping, we arrived back at the Center to explore and to meet the youth after school. The staff and the children at the CYEC are incredibly friendly, and we’ve learned clapping games and magic tricks so far. The kids are teaching us before we have even had a chance to teach them! Today we’ve started planning our workshops, focusing on human development, business and agricultural studies. Tomorrow we’ll get to work!