Friday morning we were to leave for Kisumu at 8:30 am to go to the trade show. However, Kenyan time is always at least 30 minutes late, and we were waiting to finish making a few things on the laser cutter that people from the trade show had ordered, so we didn't start walking down to the highway until about 9:15. Once we got to the highway, we waited for over an hour before there was a matatu with space for us to get in. Several schools had just finished either that day or the day before, so the public transportation was really crowded with people going home. We had 7 people in total – me, Tom, Marvin, and Frederick from the Fab Lab as well as three of the Majiwa Modern Weavers, who are another group within the ARO center.
The ride to Kisumu was cramped but uneventful. Being a tall person in a matatu is not the greatest as the space between the seats is quite small, but I managed just fine. When we reached the transportation hub in Kisumu, we got out and walked to find another matatu heade to Mamboleo, the area where the trade show grounds were. After a bit of drama, we finally made it to the show. There was some argument about which road to follow to get to the gate and the driver refused to drive all the way to the gate, letting us out to walk the rest of the way. Once inside, we headed to the building where Kisumu Polytechnic was located, as that was where the Fab Lab had a table to display its stuff. We met up with Frederick, who had managed to get into an earlier matatu, and I got to see some of the things that they had brought to display at the show.
After setting our things down, Tom and I went for a walk around the showground to see some of the other stands. We went by several universities and some manufacturing companies to see what kind of things they were doing. Tom is looking for groups to partner with as well as places to source materials, as these are two of the challenges that the Fab Lab here has faced. There were a few promising leads, including a student at Bondo University, which was exciting because we are already connected to Professor Agong. I hope that I can facilitate a strong partnership there.
Afterwards, I mostly hung around the Kisumu Polytechnic building, sitting and talking with some of the other people as well as trying to get Marvin to teach me some Swahili. He teaches Swahili and English at a primary school nearby the Fab Lab. I learned a few new words, and am hoping that by the time I leave here, I will at least know a few sentences. I think I'm getting better already!
Later in the afternoon, Aggre came by to meet up with me. It was great to catch up with him, yet strange to see him out in public as the only time I've seen him is at Clarice's house by the lake. Right after he arrived, Tom said we were going to leave, but then we ended up not going anywhere for about an hour, so we had time to hang out for a bit. I think we are going to hang out at least once more before I leave, depending on schedules. My time here is already moving very fast, but hopefully I will make some good progress with interviews next week. I'm going to sit down with Tom and discuss what is feasible tomorrow morning, and we can start to develop a schedule. I've met pretty much everyone who comes to use the lab, nearly all boys in high school, college, or recent college graduates, so I feel a lot more comfortable interviewing them now than I would have last week.