A Day in the Life

7:30 AM: Wake up

 Wake up at Cha Cha’s house. Although my alarm usually goes off, the thing that really gets me out of bed is knowing that Cha Cha has made warm chai tea that is sitting there waiting for me. After drinking my tea and eating a couple pieces of bread, I take a shower. This involves filling a bucket with cold water and using a cup to pour the water over myself. (Most Kenyans just use their hands to splash themselves and don’t need a cup, but Cha Cha leaves one out for me knowing that I have not yet mastered the art of the bucket bath).


8:30 AM Leave for Work

 Around 8:30 we begin our journey to U Tena’s office. Our travel begins with about a quarter mile walk to the first matatu stop. At the stop matatu drivers usher us in and along with many other people we cram into the matatu. We take the first matatu to a gas station in Donholm (where Ariel and Carly live) and get off there. Then we walk across a construction site where they are building a new road. Every day the site gets bigger and soon we won’t be able to cut through it. Next we walk through a slum, where I have to watch my step as the ground is uneven and there are many puddles of sludge. Upon exiting the slum we arrive at the next matatu stop. We take that matatu to Governor street and then walk a short distance to U Tena’s office.


9:00AM Starting Work

 At U Tena’s office, we begin our workday. For the last few weeks, we have been mostly working on creating an end-line survey to administer to the girls who are about to graduate the KUZA program. The results from this survey will help us analyze the progress that the girls have made during the two year KUZA program.

In addition to the endline survey, we have recently begun work on a baseline survey that we will hand out to all the girls entering the KUZA program, to assess their knowledge of the KUZA topics before they start the program.

However, some mornings we don’t work at the office at all. The first day we were here, we went to different meetings. Carly and Ariel went to a discussion on sexual health and I went to one on setting and evaluating goals. Carly and Ariel have also gone to a clinic and volunteered there. (I didn’t go to because I was sick with the flu L). However, we plan to continue to volunteer at the clinic again in the next few weeks.


12:00 PM Lunch

 There are a lot of yummy places to eat lunch near the office. Sometimes we go to the mall for lunch. There’s a place there called Afrikaner that serves delicious Kenyan food. There’s also an Indian food restaurant where we can get paneer J

However, my favorite lunch places are the ones that we would never find on our own, but are small hidden secrets that the U Tena members share with us. One time we went to a small shack with the U Tena team and ate madodo (beans) and chapatti. It was very delicious and for the seven of us it only cost the equivalent of $2.80. Our other favorites included ndengue (lentils) which are eaten with avocado and mokimo (a delicious mixture of potato and beans).


1:00 PM Back to Work

 After lunch we finish our workday with full bellies.


3:00 PM Travel back Home

 After walking and taking the matatus back, we arrive at the house just in time for Mayan to get home from school. At this time many of the neighborhood kids come and visit in the house as well. Cha Cha’s house is very welcoming and with all the kids the house is loud and lively.


5:30 Cook and Eat Dinner

Then after a little bit of relaxing, we venture around Umoja (where Cha Cha lives) to get the fresh meat and veggies that we will cook for dinner. (A few days ago, when we went to buy beef, Cha Cha pointed to a part of a beef carcass, and the butcher sawed it off right then and there to give to us!) We also usually buy onions, bell peppers, and avocados all for less than a US dollar. I cook the vegetables and meat and Cha Cha makes ugali or rice. (our favorite is chapati, but it takes a really long time to cook).

We eat dinner around the little coffee table and put cushions on the floor to sit on. Cha Cha serves the kids their food and Mayan (Cha cha’s son) almost always complains whenever we make bell peppers even though we tell him that they aren’t spicy!

After dinner, we relax by reading or watching TV. Cha Cha’s taste in TV shows is very funny and many times we end up watching Shadow Hunters, an American show about vampires. Every night Cha Cha helps Mayan with his homework and I watch tv or read a book.


10:30 Bedtime

Around 10:30 I go to bed under my mosquito net and have crazy vivid malaria medicine- induced dreams.



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