The last few months have really messed with me, as far as my view of the world goes. Kenya was just another step, another piece in the puzzle that doesn’t fit with the way I used to see the world.
Everything is different there, different in ways that are similar to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Everything is different in these places/countries because the basic things that we take for granted are not things that can be counted on in the rest of the world.
Even living in China I feel more privileged and blessed with what is available to me than the other places I have traveled. Things like clean drinking water, jobs that pay enough to support a family and pay for education, an education system that works and provides equal opportunity to all students.
For over 2 months before I arrived in Kilgoris, Kenya, they were in a severe drought. Everything was brown, cows were dying, people were fighting over water. Toward the end of the drought people were camping at the wells and local water sources overnight to be in line to get water for their families.
These situations were very tense, fights erupted and people were injured.
Just over a week before we arrived it started raining, things turned green, the tension in the community relaxed and life returned to normal.
I said life returned to normal but I need to clarify that statement, because life as normal there, is not what I see as normal. In the rural farming communities around Kilgoris most farmers still till their land either by hand or with plows pulled my cattle.
They harvest their crops by hand. They fetch water in 5 gallon containers from the local wells and streams then build a fire to boil it so it is safe to drink.
Often they carry this water a long ways to get it home, 3, 5, maybe 7 kilometers.
Education is not a given, government schools cost money and families who have a lot of children often can not afford to send their children to school.
The Kilgoris Project is changing that dynamic in the community. They are providing free education to the children in the rural villages. Included with the schooling are 2 hot meals a day to ensure that the children are well fed and able to focus on their schooling.
While this schooling is free, that does not make it easy for these kids. Most have chores to do on their farms in the morning before they go to school. Once these chores are done they need to walk to school. For a few it may only be a 1km journey but for many it is 5-7km one way.
That makes the round trip journey seem quite long for a simple elementary education, especially when you hear a story about a kid saving his pet dog from being killed by a leopard on the way home from school!
But they come.
What started as 1 school location has turned into 5 locations and approximately 1,000 students attending.
An opportunity for an education can make dramatic changes in the course of a persons life. It can be the difference between subsistence farming and a good job that provides enough money for a family to live, save and grow. It can also pave the way toward using that education to a better life for community as a whole.
The On Field Media Team was asked to travel to Kilgoris and teach the local staff about storytelling and photography so that they could share the story of the change they are making in their community. I, Bryon, was asked to come along with this trip to help with the training and provide photography for OFMP to use to further fundraise for their ministry.
Our job was to help the people at Kilgoris understand that their voice matters. The story of life in their community and the story of how education and community development programs change lives are stories that matter.
At the end of our week I was really impressed with their ability to communicate a story and the progress in their photography skills.
I am really looking forward to seeing the stories that they will be telling about their community in the near future.
Project Goal: The goal of this project was to provide one on one mentoring and assistance to Kilgoris staff as they learned storytelling and photography. The secondary goal was to provide behind the scenes photographs to the On Field Media Project.
Project Scope: Bryon assisted On Field Media Project staff with storytelling and photography training on location at The Kilgoris Project in Kilgoris, Kenya.
The full project included:
- Provided one on one photography mentoring of Kilgoris Project staff
- Capture photos to document the workshop for the On Field Media Project
- Provided message branding coaching for OFMP about video produced on the trip
- Provided assessment of The Kilgoris Projects online presence and recommendations for improvement