Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Adventure in Ajigo

Tuesday I spent the morning with John, a local artisan who uses the Fab Lab to make some wood pieces for his jewelry. He took me to see several of his customers and found me another local artisan who makes hand-woven scarves, kikoi, rugs, table mats, and other items. I bought several things from both of them and had a really fun morning hanging with John and learning more about him. I'm really starting to get used to riding in matatus as well, which is good I think. It makes me feel a bit like a real Kenyan. As we were about to leave to come back to Majiwa, it started to pour, so we were stuck at John's house for a while until the rain began to let up and we were able to go back to Majiwa.

In the afternoon, Fred and I went to Ndori, which is a nearby market center. It's a few kilometers away from Majiwa, but there weren't many matatus coming by, so we decided to walk. It was good to get some exercise, and I really enjoy spending time with Fred. We were hoping to find an artisan there who has worked with Tom but he wasn't around. I bought a sheet of plywood for Fred so that he can make me some of the small wooden boxes that someone designed (and I happen to like) as well as some other items for me to display (and hopefully sell) at Maker Faire RI, which is coming up in a few weeks. Steve wants us to have a table representing Maker Faire Africa, which will be happening at the same time. We're hoping to even have a live feed between the two events. It should be fun.

While we were at Ndori, I decided to buy a stalk of sugar cane, which is grown locally. You can eat it by peeling back the outer shell with your teeth and then biting off some of the inside and chewing it until there is no more sugar left inside. It's hard to do, but I had great coaching from the guys in the lab, who spent about as much time teaching me as they did laughing at me. Rodgers took some hilarious pictures of me, though I doubt I'll be showing those to anyone!

I finally got around to interviewing Tom on Tuesday night, and when we were just finishing, the power went out. It's the first time that the electricity has gone since I've been here, so I'd say I have been very lucky. Fortunately, we had a bunch of rechargeable lamps around since the Fab Lab has been working on a project with them, so they really came in handy. A new guy, Hansel, was around the lab on Monday and Tuesday, so we all hung out and joked around for a while before going to sleep.

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