Saturday, January 23, 2010

on the big screen?

On our way to town today with Samuel and John, we heard that in today's Nation (Kenyan newspaper) there was an article- about our IDP camp! Evidently a Danish film crew came two months ago and used camp property and camp residents in the filming of their movie- about a white doctor in Darfur. Hm. Interesting. Samuel and John were both very excited about the whole thing (John was even quoted in the article!), but after further reading, Robin and I determined that this was kind of a weird situation. I'm still not really sure how I feel about it, from an ethical standpoint. I mean, these guys came in and paid the IDPs minimal wages (which to them of course, seemed more than enough) for their participation in a movie about Sudanese refugees. The residents of the camp that were lucky enough to look like residents of Sudan were chosen as participants, and now that Sudan has found out about it they are very angry. For good reason. An interesting moral dilemma. Check out the link for a picture of the camp though! The two men sitting in the background are two of the hardest workers on our current greenhouse project.

Ah yes, the greenhouse. Yes dad, it does require a lot of water. We don't really get why they chose tomatoes as opposed to say... potatoes? Other root vegetables that require less water? We did ask them, and the simple fact was that it makes more money at market. We still don't know how we are going to keep them alive. Right now we are trying to focus on the task at hand. A few of our questions were answered the other day when our contact at VICDA (the volunteer organization in Nairobi) came to visit. Irene told us that they had provided funds for the entire start-up of a greenhouse at three separate IDP camps. The other two camps are already producing, and have harvested their first crop. We, evidently, got the slacker camp. Samuel and John said that they did in fact try to start the project when they received supplies two months ago, but in the middle of the night someone stole 30 meters of plastic from the exterior. It took us 10 seconds to look around the camp and find who it was. 50 feet from the greenhouse was a tent entirely covered in neon yellow plastic. Hm.

Shortly after the plastic was stolen, Samuel and John removed the remaining plastic, for fear others would steal the remaining. And they kind of put the project off. I think they were probably partially embarrassed and partially scared to talk to VICDA about it. They are the leaders of this camp, and they have a hard time actually "leading" the people in any sort of direction. I believe they encounter more difficulties dealing with their residents than any other camp in the area. In fact, the 240 family camp was recently split into two camps- Ebenezer A and B- we think because the people that DID work together didn't want to deal with the others any more. Yikes. So, we had to regroup. Our tomato plants are ready to be planted in the ground- the seedlings are currently being held at two other IDP camps with functioning greenhouses- so we have to cut our greenhouse in half. Originally we thought about buying the extra plastic to make up for the missing piece, but when we heard that it was stolen we decided it would be better to work with what we had. Hopefully we can get it all done by Tuesday! Meanwhile, the chicken coup awaits it's remodel... hopefully no chickens die in this waiting period. It's pretty dirty in there. Like, 2" of chicken crap dirty.

More about what Robin and I hope to do in the form of Asset Based Assessment for the camp next week.... we want to go around and talk to everyone at the camp, each in their own homes, about their talents, their strengths, and just basic information about their families. There is no documentation of anything here, and I think it would be great to have a map, both physical and asset/need based in order to identify where each resident can help/participate, and where donors, if they are absolutely necessary, can give for the greatest return. Because no one works well together, maybe we can hit them on the individual level...and ease them into the idea of teams and groups. Yep. More on that later.


Alex S said...

chicken crap is excellent compost. when water is scarce, it is very good to grow tomatoes using a cloth wick system, look it up - a stacked container, the lower holding the water with cloth wicks leading up through holes in the bottom of the upper plant container. The system is simple easy and almost free. Its a whole lot better than pouring precious water straight into the ground.

Kurt said...

Mzungu daughter-
Just a word of caution regarding the bird droppings- exercise care in handling same in the dry conditions because of possible airborne biologic hazard. environment may make contaminants in the droppings extremely volatile. Cover mouth and nose.
remember "bird flu". Alex is right, they are a good source of potassium? (I think)

britta linnea said...

Thanks bro--- I checked it out and it does seem like a great solution to the water situation, but we already have the plants in the ground! Yikes! Any ideas? We were thinking that maybe the drip method, using old plastic bottles stuck next to each plant might work? Or if we could purchase a hose and use the drip method that way. We just received money for enough water to last through the month, so hopefully there can be a harvest without them dying, and hopefully after that the rains will suffice. Another problem is the EXTREME HEAT in that greenhouse. There are windows, but it is hot as hell in there. The person who donated this project OBVIOUSLY didn't know anything about the climate, or the situation at the camp. Grr.