First Trip to Othaya

Hey Blog, Nicole here!

Tuesday was a super productive day for all teams! Some of our team started off the day waking up extra early to walk some of the younger girls to the nearby school. Next, we all met to have breakfast by chef David and started to plan our day. Around 9 am, we headed to Othaya where the CYEC has set up and Eco-Village where the shamba and bamboo teams have planned to work. The site is in a beautiful valley surrounded by lush greenery and agriculture.

The shamba team (Nicole, Nick, Katie, Jenna, and Sjoerd) had previously thought that soil fertility testing would be needed here, but we were presently surprised by the amount of nutrients that appeared to be present in the soil. The tomatoes, peppers, and cabbages that were planted in the garden showed no signs of nutrient deficiency, although we could identify some issues with disease in the tomatoes, and pests in the cabbages. We then turned our attention to the soil erosion off the surrounding slopes that has become an issue for the shamba. Soil erosion occurs when heavy rains hit the exposed soil on the slopes and wash down into the shamba, causing seed displacement and crop disruption. Our team took a very vigorous hike around the area to identify where and if the issue could be mitigated and started brainstorming solutions that we will be researching further.


The bamboo team (Hinal and Katie) also surveyed the area to address the potential of planting bamboo along the slopes, but found that major land development would most likely need to be completed before this could occur, such as terracing the slopes to ensure that the planted crop would not wash away with the next heavy rainfall.

We then returned to the Centre for a much-needed lunch after our morning of hiking around in the hot sun. After lunch, the teams continued to work on their projects. The forage team (Nicole, Nick, and Sjoerd) ventured down to the shamba at the CYEC to map out the area and determine the productive capacity of the area that is currently planted, so we can make recommendations on how much more needs to be planted to fulfill the needs of the dairy cows. The diary team (Brooke, Bailey and Maraki) met with Edward and Laban, the youth taking care of the cows, to shadow them as they milked the cows to identify the current diary production and health of the cows. The forage and dairy teams will be working closely to make recommendations about feed for the cows.

The leadership team (Jenna and Maraki) began to interview the Centre staff in the afternoon to determine their specific needs and tailor the workshop to those needs accordingly. The business team (Hinal, Brooke and Bailey) met with Janelle and the leadership team to run through the workshops that they have planned for this week. We wrapped up the work day by meeting the founder of the Centre, Paul Maina, to discuss our plans and to hear his vision for each of our projects.

Yesterday for fun Sjoerd and Nick joined the youth when they returned from school for a game of futbol, and most of the rest of us sat and watched with the girls. The girls love braiding our hair and just being goofy. A few of us ended the night playing cards with a few of the older youth. They taught us a few games, like one that I like to call “weird uno” and we taught them how to play spoons. By that time, most of us were so tired that we were having the sleepy ha-ha’s and laughing at anything and everything—so we knew it was time for bed. That’s all for now!


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