Today is the first day in a while that I have had to be by myself. Its only for three hours but I will enjoy it alot. This morning I went to a seminar hosted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. It hosted all the youth groups in Nairobi doing waste management. I wasn't invited but since all the youth groups I'm working with were, I decided JICA didn't have a choice and were going have to let me attend. It was a very typical seminar but the best part was at the end they gave me money (when organizations hold seminars for people in slums they have to pay them to come, to provide for the day 's food and transportation). I didn't want to take the money but they insisted! This adds to the theory that white people can waltz into anything here. I've crashed many seminars and conferences for free lunch or dinner.
I've been working long hours everyday in the centres. Shredding plastic is a heavy duty job. My wrists are all jagged from picking up sharp broken plastic and my back hurts from hours and hours of taking a machete to big heavy plastic pieces before they go into the shredder. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining, I live for this. I feel that it's important to show the guys that I'm as commited to this project as they are, and if I'm gonna work my ass off so are they. My hope is that that energy rubs off on them so that they can keep the speed going when I stop showing up as much. I can definitely see an improvement since I started showing up every morning trying to get as much done in a day as possible. I know this thing would have gone down the drain a long time ago if we were the type of organization that points fingers and dictates what is supposed to be happening.
Working everyday all day in these places is crazy. The guys I'm working with aren't just co workers any more, we have developed great friendships and even hang out outside the recycling centres. After working so long on this stuff I can't imagine doing anything else. That poses another huge question that I ask myself everyday. What's next for Up With Hope?
I wish I could post some photos, but I'm sitting in a hole in the wall cyber right now and that procedure seems impossible.