The Label versus the Level

In life, you truly get what you put into it.  As my time in Kisumu passes, I realize the attitude and initiative you have impact the experience you receive.  While I reflect on my week, I can happily say I have been busy and love the work that I am doing.  I have worked closely with the four communities in Obunga, especially Kamakowa in the community conversations and bringing small business skill discussions.  This past week my department had a meeting with beneficiaries from vocational training that are sponsored through Urban Livelihood in order to address problems or concerns.  Communities identify what is considered the Most Vulnerable Children (or youths in this case), and after going through a vetting process, those that qualify are sponsored for vocational training as a method to improve their standard of living.  At the meeting with the beneficiaries, a graduate beneficiary that currently is working at a vocation school came back and spoke with the applicants.  The big concern being addressed at the meeting was the choosing of the vocational schools, and the graduate said, “The label has become more important than the level.”  Many of the beneficiaries were more concerned about the institutional name instead of the quality of education and the personal fit.  In the end, a deal was made that helped expand the schooling options, but the statement he said stuck with me.  He made me reflect how even in our lives, the label at times is given greater importance than the level/quality.

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Dunga CC-presentation of future goals by community members

If you read the other blogs, then you already know this Wednesday was Haduma Poa day at KMET, which was a free health fair day to promote the slogan of quality health care for all.  Various health services and treatments were free of charge, and different departments had information given to the community.  I spent the day having fun promoting and selling (for a reduced price of the day) Nutriflour with the Nutrition Department.  Nutriflour is essentially KMET’s version of plumpynut made especially for babies, but no baby no problem! There is a Nutriflour for the whole family as well!

Other things I have been up to is the weekly community meetings and finishing up reports since the quarter is ending.  Also, I have learned a lot of Swahili and Lou.  I love languages, and I am always trading words with friends (Spanish for Swahili and/or Lou).  I enjoy the community conversation meetings because the attitude change and growth become so evident.  At Dunga, in prior weeks the community had identifies problems they saw in their community in priority order, and this week they split into groups and came up with long term goals for the top five issues.  The empowerment that comes from the community conversations is just inspiring!

Victoria Pérez-Zetune ’16
Kisumu, Kenya

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