I forgot to add yesterday that I actually went out on Friday night and got a taste for night life in Meru. I was supposed to go last week, but it fell through. I’m glad I got to go! It just proved to me that a bar in Africa is the same as a bar in Europe is the same as a bar in Ann Arbor is the same as… It was just a bar. It was called Simba Wells. (Simba as in lion, and wells as in watering hole.) It had a bunch of tables, a bar, a small dance floor, and a DJ booth. It was really fun to get out and DANCE! It wasn’t partner dancing, but at least I got to move around. It wasn’t a pickup joint or anything… just a place to have a drink and some bar food. (Bar food at Simba Wells was some roasted goat meat.) The beer that we had ranged from Guiness to Tusker (a Kenyan beer) to non-alchoholic and juice drinks. In going out, I was a little bit apprehensive about my sticking out as a foreigner, but no one treated me differently or stared inappropriately.
On a side note, there was a man, John, staying at the Thiiri Centre, who was sent by the Arkansas Methodist Church to come to Meru to start a chicken farm. He brought incubators and supplies from Arkansas, and he helped the Kaaga Methodist Chruch to set up their first chicken farm. It was amazing to see his pictures. It would eventually house about 400 chickens, which would produce many, many chicks and eggs. Locals would then be able to buy the chicks, maybe 10 of them, raise all 10, eat 5, and then sell 5 so that they could buy 10 more chicks. Also, then people could buy eggs, of course. He has been working on this project for 4 years, and it is nearly complete. John said that there were some troubles between people on how best to run the chicken farm, and that it may not succeed in the future because of these differing opinions. If it doesn’t work after this trip, he said that the project will be ditched. His next project will be somewhere in Haiti – where he doesn’t know. The Methodist Church instructs him on where to go next. Talking to him was fascinating, because he really had a method set in place to help these new chicken farmers to succeed at what he was helping them to do. If they just follow his instructions, it should work out fine. It would be nice to be in a position to do that with string programs someday.