Tuesday, 15 November 2011

End of Training and Moving House

Been quite a week.  Was ill for a few days which made the last day of training and moving house slightly rough - but got here in the end!

Our partner organisations arrived on Wednesday and spent the last 3 days of training with us.  We look at VSO's key priorities in Kenya (HIV/AIDS, Disability and Secure Livelihoods) .  It was great to have these discussions with the partners there and get their insight into why these are are areas in need of development.  We also covered issues such as monitoring and evaluation, governance and the partnership arrangement between VSO, the Volunteer and the Organisation.  We did also have a bit of fun and managed to meet together for a drink on Friday evening before leaving the hotel on Saturday for our various placements.

Some of the volunteers and partner organisations on the last night of training.
On Friday I also met with the representative for my organisation (the HR Manager) and my Programme Manager at VSO to review and sign the agreement.  Based on conversations I had earlier in the week with other current volunteers I asked for my contract to be changed from 2 years to 18 months with option to extend to 2 years - which was well received by both VSO and I Choose Life.  The work I have to do for the organisation will still get done - just slightly quicker.  But more about the job in the next post...

On Saturday I moved to a suburban neighbourhood called Mountain View.  It is about a 15 minute matatu or bus ride from Westlands (a large shopping area - and also where I work) down a long highway that apparently goes all the way to Uganda.  The neighbourhood is bordered on one side by the highway and the other 3 sides by Kangemi (a large slum).  Mountain View is a secure neighbourhood with 200 homes.  I am living in a large 2 story house with 3 other women who are also VSO volunteers.

Now, I must admit that when I signed up for VSO I was completely prepared to live in a cave with no electricity and having to carry my water 3km each day.  But, I am not going to complain!  The house has lovely living space, a great kitchen, running water during the week (we have to use our reserve tank on the weekend and with 4 women need to conserve) and electricity most of the time.  All in all very happy here.  We also have 3 adopted cats (Mango, Tango and James Dean) who are quite shy but I feel will warm up to me over the next year and half.

Spent part of Saturday and Sunday shopping for a few things for the house.  One of my housemates, Andrea, is also a new volunteer who was in my In Country Training and has been brilliant to explore to go around with.  On Sunday we also did trial runs for getting to work - so I saw the outside of my office (but, again, will talk about the job in the next post after the first week). I have also learned to do new things such as assemble and use a water filter and hang a mosquito net.  In Nairobi malaria is almost non-existent so our doctor told us we don't need to take the antimalarials or use the net. But after the first night I learned better!  The reason for the net is to keep the pesky things away from you!!

Harvey, another new volunteer from my training, lives in Mountain View as well and it's great to be able to walk over to his and vice versa (and he cooks amazing Filipino food so is definitely welcome anytime!!  Alright, enough for today.  Have been in work for 2 days now and will write more on the weekend all about that and anything crazy which happens between now and then.

Andrea, Harvey and I (note: I was suffering terrible cold and therefore not my usual lovely radiant self!)

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