In October, our donor the Danish High School Borupgaard Gymnasium sent ten students and two teachers to Kenya to see with their own eyes what they are supporting. For one week, they travelled around to both visit farmers and to experience the local Kenyan life.

The best has definitely been to see the crops in the Momentum’s farmers’ fields and to see that what our money is funding actually makes a huge difference. It has been interesting to talk with the farmers and hear that previously they didn’t have that much money and some of them were sick. Now they can afford to send their children to school and go to the doctor. They are well and have become happier. It has been amazing to experience that what I’ve spent my high school time on has in fact made a difference,” Lise, 3rdyear high school student.

The students visited both our farmers from the loan model planting maize and our chia farmers. In the picture, the students walk through a newly planted maize field.

Since 2015, Borupgaard Gymnasium has been supporting Momentum Trust through various fundraising activities. Their financial contribution has made a huge difference for our work and it gives us great pleasure to welcome them in Kenya and introduce them to the farmers they are supporting.

The visit was for many of the students a great cultural experience. As an example, one of our farmer groups welcomed the students with local music and dance. Two drummers were setting the beat on drums made of goatskin and snakeskin, while the farmers started to dance. The Danish students quickly joined them.

The students got the opportunity to experience the threshing of chia, i.e. how the chia seeds are removed from the plant with a threshing machine.

“My favourite thing here is the music and dance. It makes me so happy. It has been an amazing way to engage with the locals and to share something even though we speak different languages.” Louise, 3rdyear high school student.

Two drummers set the beat while Danish students joined the farmers’ dance.

Throughout the week, we visited both our farmers from our loan model and the farmers growing chia. The students visited the farmers’ homes and heard from them how Momentum’s work supports them in generating an income that can finance their children’s school fees and the families’ health expenses.

The greatest surprise for me has been how welcome I’ve felt here even though we really stick out – being the only white people. The locals are proud and want to show us their homes and shops. The farmers have been so welcoming and eager to show us their farms,” Annika, 2ndyear high school student.

A key element of the trip was also to allow the students to experience the local everyday life. Therefore, the students and teachers stayed in a local village, eating local food (a lot of ugali – maize porridge), going to the local food market, and visiting a school, a health clinic, and the Sunday service of a Catholic boarding school. Some even went to the local hairdresser!

The students were part of doing the dishes. There’s no running water in the village; the water is rainwater collected in big tanks.

I think the best thing was to stay in Siaya in a local way making it possible to spend time with the farmers, eat the same food as them and getting a truly local experience,” Line, 2ndyear high school student.

In Siaya, the students and teachers ate the local food such as ugali (maize porridge), chapati (flatbreads), mandazis (a greasy bun), bean dishes and locally grown fruits: banana, papaya, pineapple and watermelon.

What has made the greatest impression on me is how happy people are here. Everyone is happy, outgoing and kind – even though they might not have that much. At home, people would be in a bad mood if they were in the same situation, but here people just seem happy,” Agnete, 3rdyear high school student.

For our farmers, such a visit means a lot to them. It shows them that our supporters care about their well-being and their farming business. In addition, it has been very rewarding for us to experience the students’ positive attitudes and eagerness to learn more about what is happening on the ground. Thank you so much, Borupgaard Gymnasium!

 The greatest surprise for me has been how clear it is where our money ends up. It is so easy to see that the farmers are happy about Momentum’s work and that it is really making a difference for them,” Maria, 3rdyear high school student.

The farmers we have met have been so open and welcoming. They just let all of us into their homes filling up their living rooms and tell us stories about their lives. I really enjoy this kind of hospitality, where you can feel how they enjoy having visitors. That’s really nice,” Rose, 3rdyear high school student.

 Read more about how Borupgaard Gymnasium supports Momentum (in Danish).

 

Astrid Melchior Olesen, Momentum Trust Intern