My World This Week in Kenya

I’ve been quiet for the past week. Mainly, because Amsha’s Pre-Launch Sale started the 21st and while I am thrilled with the feedback and interest, it’s kept me busy! In addition to giving my attention to the sale, today the Supreme Court rules on whether the election outcome stands here in Kenya, whether there will be a run-off, or whether a fresh election will be held. We are anxiously awaiting the verdict here, but this meant I would not be allowed to go to the slum this weekend so I needed to get orders placed this past week.

I thought I would share some updates from the week on life here in Kenya.

1. A week ago, we issued an interest-free loan to our brass artisan to buy his own equipment. He has been renting from others, but by having his own equipment he can save money and time on transport. It was an exciting day for us at Amsha to see his sheer joy and smiles all around. We had a meeting to discuss our next order and he showed up lugging three of the tools/machines with him. We had a good laugh but he wanted to show us what he had purchased!

2. We ordered horn bangles for our Launch Collection, and they are simply beautiful. They come in four colors and two sizes. The horn is a by-product of the food industry.

3. We worked with the women that make our clay jewelry on new designs. While they have grasped the designs pretty well, we are still struggling to get the coloring right. I’m hoping that third time’s a charm, and our next set of samples are just right.

4. I made a beaded necklace sample that I’m really excited about, but we had struggled to find someone to make it at the same quality and follow the design accurately. We might have found another women’s group in Kibera that seems to have the talent, and we are looking forward to including them in our launch line.

5. We finalized new pieces of brasswork for our launch line on Friday and discovered that our brass artisan brought on seven other guys to help make all of the chain (we need 70 meters!). While this is in no way going to be consistent work for them yet, we hope that as orders pick up, we will see this continue! He also hired his sister to cook for them on the days that they work, which was also nice to see.

6. I had meetings for a new product line we are looking to have- bags! The first meeting was with a very well established organization that I had initially met with two months ago. It ended up being a bit of a disaster, and we quickly realized that they are purely production-based. As luck would have it, our brass artisan has a friend that does beautiful leather work, and we had two meetings with him to discuss design and specifications. We are anxiously awaiting our first samples this coming week.

7. I had been looking for a certain type of dye to use on clay for about two months now. I probably have visited 30 hardware and paint stores in search of it. Finally, a friend of mine in Rwanda suggested I ask his clay artisan here in Kenya. She sent me to another friend, who sent me to a particular market where I was to ask for the Nubians. We finally found this dye from a really old lady named Amina who was as cute as can be. It may have taken two months but we have dye in hand now!

8. I spent Friday afternoon at the police station trying to get my rent deposit back on my old place, only to find out that I need to go to the ‘Rent Bureau’… which of course was closed on Friday because of a public holiday. Next week!

9. I went to a school meeting for John where we had to ‘clap for Jesus’ and it was pretty much a church meeting. However, I did sing my first hymn in Swahili, and while I only knew some of the words, I at least got the pronunciation right!

10. I dropped in to visit Zawadi la Tumaini, a new orphanage here in Nairobi. It was so refreshing to see! Happy kids and happy staff.

11. Because of my visit to Zawadi, I ended up taking a 2-hour taxi ride home due too horrendous traffic. I always chat it up with my taxi drivers, and this one might be my favorite. We discussed Kenyan politics, the number of times he’s been carjacked (sad but actually made me feel a little better about my own situation), the conductor who was hit by his own driver the night before, and all sorts of interesting Kenyan topics.

That about rounds out my week! Wishing everyone a Happy Easter back home and hoping the weather is warming up your way :)

6 thoughts on “My World This Week in Kenya

  • This all sounds great! I am hoping to check out and purchase some Amsha jewelry for myself soon. I hope you and your friends/colleagues are all ok after the Supreme Court result…I’m not sure how that will have affected you, but I have the impression there was a certain amount of unrest, so I hope everything is back to normal now.

    • There was some unrest in Kisumu (some deaths there) as well as in the slums here in Nairobi but the military had pretty much quelled it by early the next morning. I was glued to the news but I believe the local media had a self-imposed blackout on reporting violence (which I completely understand) so I had to get info from friends in the slums and from Western media. Tension is down and all that remains is grumbling which I overhear on buses and while walking in town :)

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