Time is of the Essence

I made it through my first full week at KMET. This week, we shadowed different departments to get a feel for all of the programs. I quickly learned that just because something is written on a schedule, doesn’t mean that it is set in stone. Flexibility was something that I had to quickly get used to, whether I like it or not. I usually consider myself a pretty flexible person, but after this week I’m not sure if I could still say that. On the first day I was set to work in the vocational school which is a part of the Sisterhood for Change program that helps at-risk girls. The vocational school teaches the girls a trade; either tailoring, hairdressing or cooking. At the end of their program, the girls have an opportunity to apply for a micro finance loan through KMET to fund their small business. Anyways, I reported to work at 8, and I met two other interns that were assigned to SFC (there are also students from local universities that intern during the summer). I ended up just sitting and talking with them for most of the day, which was not what I expected. Time is a fluid concept here.  I learned about their perspective on the United States which was…interesting to say the least. It is always an interesting experience to hear other people’s take on American politics, social justice issues and culture. Everyone loves to talk about Trump. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “are you voting for Trump or the woman?” I would be rich. The conversations are actually very entertaining.

Not going to lie, this week was hard for me. I expected to just come in and get right into things without a problem, but that’s not realistic. I found myself feeling homesick and out of place, which caught me by surprise. I have to remember to allow myself that transition time, and that I’m not going to be perfect at everything, and everything isn’t going to go as planned. I have to remember to slow down. I’ve been taught my entire life that time is precious, you have to make every minute count. If you’re not in class then you’re studying or filling your time with extracurriculars. There’s no time to be idle. Things are different here in Kenya, the workplace is a lot more relaxed and time is not viewed in the same manner. It’ll take some getting used to, but I’m in no rush. Seven more weeks to go!

Chentese Stewart ’18
Kisumu, Kenya