We travelled to Kenya almost two weeks ago from Helsinki. Team Kenya saw each other for the very first time at the airport. Flights were long but at the destination we were ready to give our best for this project. At Monday morning we got to know all other students from Egerton University and Aalto, we started our first session together with little icebreaker practice. Everybody had to draw self portrait and then mentor shuffled them. Then we had someone elses portrait and we had to guess who he/she could be. Practice was nice and full of laughs. It was really easy to get to know each other even a little bit more.
One of the most important practice was “Dos and Don´ts” practice, idea is to ask questions of foreign cultures and habits. Our team included cultures from Finland, Germany and Kenya. We got important knowledge from Kenyan culture and how to behave. For especially in Kenya, you can’t marry anyone you want to, and husband has to buy presents for bride’s parents and family. We also spoke how to dress appropriately for different occasions. In formal occasions you usually cover your knees and shoulders. In more relaxed situations and on your free time, you can wear whatever you want. One big difference between Finnish and other cultures is that you call your teachers by their last name or by titles for example professor.
We worked on our liquid biofuel projects in mixed teams. We had a field trip to Kisumu, where we went to see our client CIST. Mr. Richard Arwa is CEO of CIST, he gave as interesting tour in CIST’s bioethanol factory. We got to know how bioethanol is produced step by step. Richard and his staff showed us how machines worked and what was their purpose in producing biofuel. After mind blowing day at factory, we visited Lake Victoria. Our aim was to visit community and hear fisherman’s experiences of water hyacinth. Local fisherman had built their own biogas factory, which they utilize water hyacinth and bio waste.
The second week we worked with our Kisumu trip findings. On Wednesday we had a board meeting, and we presented our PBL teamwork (problem-based learning).
Board really enjoyed of presentation and were really happy that we had worked so hard together.
Trip to Kenya was such an amazing learning experience, thank you Aalto, HAMK and Egerton University for this great opportunity!