By Teresa Mellish
Our Kenyan partners don’t know each other. The More Food, Better Food:Empowering Kenyan Farm Women project funded by Global Affairs Canada started late in 2019, and COVID started early in 2020, so there has been limited opportunity to know each other. So we decided to hold a family picnic on Sunday afternoon so they would meet each other.
We invited the executive of each of the 16 womens groups, 4 dairies as well as head teachers and gardeners at the 22 schools FHF works with. We held it at the Kiirua Primary School grounds and rented a tent with 150 chairs.
We hired the Destiny Womens Group to prepare the food which included mukimo, chapattis, watermelon and mangoes. We Canadians made Mac and Cheese. Ken and James also prepared sugar snap peas, which are grown primarily for export, and Kenyans say they do not know how to cook them.
All of the Kenyan personnel and the Canadian volunteers helped: from Ben helping to set up the tent; France and Victoria B washing mangoes, Eric looking after the sound system, Stephen C, Claire and Victoria M running the registration desk, Salome rolling out chapattis, Jill and Ben snapping peas, to mention a few. Ken and Salome shared the job of Master of Ceremonies. Only Shauna missed the event because she was sick.
We used a simple mixer to make sure that people met each other. Each person received a name tag at the registration desk with a number between 1 and 10 on it, and all enthusiastically set out to find 10 other people they did not know who had the same number. These names were written on an index card along with the person’s affiliation. Murori Munyua from the Ex Lewa dairy even collected telephone numbers and said he had found 10 new friends!
Everyone who was invited attended!
After we had eaten, Ken and Salome introduced each group, to cheers from all present! There were no speeches. Kenyan personnel along with their spouses were introduced and John introduced the Canadian volunteers. The Kenyan Directors of the new Kenyan company were introduced. The two Members of the County Assembly in attendance were introduced. Then we all danced Kenyan-style led by the Destiny Womens Group.
I promised that this was the first annual picnic, and already suggestions are being made for next year’s event. Gikundi wants us to invite more people!