Monday, 16 February 2015

This week marked the second week in our new office and the first of our community visits.  Yapala and Kulaa communities were the first two on the list where we proceeded to introduce ourselves and  to collect data in order to establish the needs of the community and what topics our sensitisation should cover.  All of our work thus far had been in preparation for these meeting so understandably we were all very excitable.  
Following a 42 minute journey from our office to the rural community, we found ourselves in front of the schools head and elders who we were challenged to impress sufficiently in order to gain approval to carry out our sensitisation.  We were introduced to the rest of the community and then began our mission for the day, administration of questionnaires.  It wasn’t long before we had all made friends with the children and had an entourage following behind us with the little girls racing with each other to hold our hands. 

Although both were rural communities they were starkly different and we immediately recognised the variations between them.  Kulaa had children everywhere, playing in the street and wanting to talk to us whereas at Yapala, once the initial excitement of our arrival had passed, the children were sent back into their classes, which they obediently complied with.  Kulaa School has a government school feeding programme in place where those who attend and stay in school all day will receive a meal. Many members of both communities were able to identify that education was a valued commodity; however they were unable to explain why and wanted us to prove to them how learning in a school is essential to a farming community.

This was such an interesting experience for all of us because for the majority of the group this was our first time having interaction in a community as rural as this.  After presenting the community elders with Kola Nut (fruit from the Kola tree which is given as a mark of respect to a Chief or Elders in the communities), we arranged a date and time for our sensitisations! 

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