The views only grew more spectacular as we began to climb high into the mountains and arrived in Kiteni. On the entrance to the village lies a goat farm, whose residents were the first to excitedly greet us! On meeting our host homes, we were welcomed with further excitement and anticipation, from the families who were so friendly and ready to invite us to become a part of their lives.
The village is set on the vast hill sides, which climb up through terraced crop fields. The views from the youth center are some of the best in the village, and lucky for us, this is where we hold our meetings, plan sessions and undertake activities. In our first couple of weeks in the village we have really enjoyed exploring the area, taking an hours walk to an alternative water source, and also a hike to the top of the hill to visit the local school and meet the children. This has helped us to better understand the village. We have also celebrated two birthdays in our team so far, for both volunteer Resika and team leader Suzie, who were each presented with a candle stuck in a boiled egg and a group sing-a-long of ‘Happy Birthday.’
A focus of our time has been integrating with our community and meeting local families, the village leader and the youth committee. We have made a start on our participatory rural appraisal activities and our household surveys, to gain a better understanding of the lives of the community and the impact we can have through our WASH project. Our action research committee have worked hard to make sure that the questions we ask cover a multitude of points, to ensure that we learn as much as we can about the community.
We are currently busy putting the final preparations in place for our first community sports day, which has been welcomed with much enthusiasm. Thinking back over the first few weeks, Resika sums it up, “Coming here it’s been an amazing experience, learning new things and making new friends.”