Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

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And my time is officially over with HH

Sunday, August 11, 2013 1:54 am

Well, after an 11 week internship with Hydrating Humanity, my time with the HH team is finally done. While the completion of the my internship was bittersweet, I can assure that I learned an immense amount of information and strategies as a result of the internship. It was an amazing learning experience.

This past week, I worked on an almost around the clock basis to set-up Hydrating Humanity’s account with Buz.fm, who will be helping HH with its social media campaigns. Many phone calls went back and forth between Pat from HH, technical supervisors at Buz, and myself. In addition, I created messages, landing pages, and worked on a number of other technological aspects. I am proud to announce after a lot of hard work that the social media is up and running, and the foundation has been laid for HH to be ever present on social media campaigns. Hopefully, as a result, more people will hear of HH’s work in the developing world.

This was probably one of my largest projects with HH, and I was so relieved and happy that I was able to finish it while doing the best job possible. Some nights I would stay up past midnight working on the campaign and wake up early in the morning to continue my work. Even though I am exhausted, I am happy to be finished and know that I brought something to the table at HH.

The best part of my internship was by far my time in Kenya. The relationships that I formed there were absolutely magical, and even though I was a stranger in a foreign country, the Kenyans made me feel at home. I had a wonderful home stay, I learned a lot about conducting business in the developing world, and I could not ask for more in my time in Kenya. It was an amazing learning experience, and I am most appreciative that I was given the opportunity to go to Kenya.

I would say the worst part of my internship was fighting mind boredom when I was entering and copying information into the computer database. To stimulate my senses, I put on my Pandora Country station; however, I learned that my best work is not done working in front of a computer. In order to use my talents, I must get up, walk around, and interact with people.

The most exciting part as well as the biggest learning experience was probably my work with Buz.fm. I was put in prominent position, and it was my first large scale business dealt that I initiated and saw through. I learned that business deal often take clear communication, a lot of work, and more time that expected to get everything worked out and agreed upon. I was really excited and happy when I finished putting the campaign together as I knew that it was a new area for growth for HH and one that I could really excel in.

At the end of my internship, my supervisor, Pat, offered me a future with Hydrating Humanity, which was an honor to hear. He said that the door was always open, and that they would love to have me on the HH team moving forward.

This was a wonderful reward and a great end to a wonderful internship. It had certainly been worth my summer, and it had come full circle. I could not have been happier walking away from dinner with Pat and his wife Friday night. I was more than his intern. I was now his friend and brother.

How do I only have one week left?

Saturday, August 3, 2013 3:53 am

Heading into my final week at Hydrating Humanity, I am shocked to think that I only have one more week remaining in my internship. The past ten weeks have been an amazing experience, and I have learned a lot not only about myself but also about global public health, my intended career. I have formed very strong relationships with employees at Hydrating Humanity, and I am really appreciative of all of the effort put forth to have me as an intern. I don’t want this to sound like a retirement speech or a eulogy because I am not done with Hyrdrating Humanity…yet. I still have one more week to go, and you can bet I’m going to take full advantage of it.

Similarly to the last few weeks, I spent this week on myriad of projects. I continued to meet with faculty and staff at Wake Forest to conjure up support for Hydrating Humanity’s fundraiser that takes place once a year. In addition, I have continued to progress talks with Buz.fm, and I am proud to announce that as a result, Hydrating Humanity will begin to index on Google for keywords other than “Hydrating Humanity.” With this in mind, we are hoping that more people will become aware of what Hydrating Humanity has to offer and possibly donate towards our cause. My main goal of next week will be to get the social media campaign up and running before I leave; however, it may be a stretch to get this completed.

In addition, I continued to work on refining the Buz keywords to use to index on Google. With some help from my supervisor, we were able to finish that. Lastly, I continued to cause market for Hydrating Huamanity. We have picked up some interest from a few possible clients; however, it is a long term process to develop cause marketing relationships with these clients, and I suspect that my supervisor, Pat, will pick up where I leave off.

While I am sad that I am entering my last week at Hydrating Humanity, I understand the importance of having a strong and productive week coming up. I know that the deal with Buz.fm is extremely important and can be very benficial to Hydrating Humanity, and with that in mind, I am hoping to do a good job at getting the social media campaign up and running. No matter what the result, I’m going to give it all that I’ve got.

Plugging along at Hydrating Humanity

Sunday, July 28, 2013 9:23 pm

After my ninth week of Hydrating Humanity, I look back on my week as a busy but a good week, nonetheless. I spent much of the week plugging into potential cause marketing clients in the Winston-Salem area. I e-mailed and sent “comments” out to roughly 50 businesses in the area. While I have not received any replies yet, I am hoping to pick up some interest in the future. If my e-mail campaign does indeed not pan out with much success, I will turn my efforts towards dressing up and visiting these places in person to speak about a mutually beneficial relationship between Hydrating Humanity and the local businesses. Sometimes in person meetings work best and convey messages in the best manner. Only time will tell if this approach will be used.

In addition to the cause marketing campaign and continued talks with Buz.fm, I spent a portion of the week meeting with a few administrators and professors at Wake Forest that have helped Hydrating Huamnity’s annual event, Hydrating Humaniate, in the past. I really enjoyed speaking with Dr. Billy Hamilton among others and showing them a commemorative book that Hydrating Humanity has put together detailing Wake Forest’s well that was constructed in the Kuria District as a result of the fundraiser on campus. I really enjoyed these meetings, and it was really fun to meet such highly esteemed and accomplished people on campus. I thoroughly enjoyed answering questions about clean water and Hydrating Humanity. This has been one of my favorite parts of the internship.

With Pat, my supervisor, in Kenya on business for HH this week and without a computer (his hard-drive crashed), communication has been a little more difficult, and it takes a little longer for collaborative efforts to get done. While I know Pat is needed in Kenya, I wish I could go back and interact with people of the Kuria District. I know that he is doing wonderful work there and making Hydrating Humanity a respected organization in the area.

With just two weeks remaining, my efforts will be focused on attempting to get businesses to partner with Hydrating Humanity as well as working with Buz.fm to start Hydrating Humanity’s aggressive social media campaign. I look forward to the opportunities that these may bring.

Just two weeks left with Hydrating Humanity: It’s time to finish some large projects

Sunday, July 21, 2013 9:23 pm

Having just finished my eighth week interning for Hydrating Humanity, I am learning the importance of figuring out and focusing on the most important tasks at hand. With my internship being a ten week agreement, I only have two more weeks on the job, and I will certainly be taking advantage of those two weeks with three important projects. However, before focusing on my future work, it is important to examine how my last week went with Hydrating Humanity.

I spent the last week working a hodgepodge of different activities including contacting and scheduling meetings with administrators at Wake Forest who had helped in Hydrating Humanity’s fundraising event that occurred in April 2013. This coming week, I will be meeting with a few administrators, professors, and staff members and will be sharing a commemorative book that Hydrating Humanity has given Wake Forest in thanksgiving for the fundraiser that funded a well in Kenya. I am really looking forward to this opportunity, and I look forward to cultivating relationships with these people. I especially look forward to a few good laughs from Dr. Billy Hamilton, who is known as a very comedic man on campus.

In addition, I had been working through Wake Forest’s Office of Personal and Career Development on sending out a cause marketing proposal through Kathy Baker to the business that are members of the Family Business Center. I spent part of the week finishing the proposal, editing it, and turning in the document to Ms. Baker. I am extremely grateful for her kindness in submitting this to the businesses, and I look forward to the opportunities that this may bring for Hydrating Humanity.

I also spent many hours this week behind the computer screen tweaking and working on Hydrating Humanity’s database of schools in the Kuria District of Kenya. I worked on formatting, and I added some information about schools that was e-mailed to me from a Hydrating Humanity employee in Kenya. When I finished entering all of the data that I had received from the field, it felt good to finish the project. More information will be sent in from my colleague in Kenya in the coming days, and I look forward to updating the database as I know it is something that will be helpful to Hydrating Humanity.

One of the other projects that I spent working on this week was the continued talks and negotiations with Buz.fm, a social media marketing company that I interned with last summer and has agreed to take on Hydrating Humanity as a client. I learned about some very important things that Hydrating Humanity had to update on its website before beginning its social media campaigns with Buz.fm, and I spent considerable time speaking with Pat, my supervisor, about what exactly had to be done before we began using Buz’s services. I really do enjoy strategizing and planning business operations. I feel as though it is something that I am knowledgeable about, and I hope that I will be given more chances with strategy in the future.

This coming week, besides attending my meetings with Wake Forest personal, I will be taking the necessary steps in setting up the campaign with Buz.fm, and I will also be contacting local businesses in Winston-Salem that were not members of the Family Business Center to gage interest in cause marketing with Hydrating Humanity. I really enjoy making a pitch for something and using my persuasive communication skills, so I relish this opportunity, and I will do everything I can to ensure that it ends in success for both sides.

Beggining to close the deal on social media

Sunday, July 14, 2013 8:21 pm

After spending a one week vacation (sort-of) in my home state of Michigan, it was back to Hydrating Humanity when I returned to Winston-Salem last weekend. While the week off was refreshing and needed for my psyche, I continued to work on side-jobs while in Michigan for Hydrating Humanity, including working to solve a technical issue with Hydrating Humanity’s Google Earth database as well as visiting Buz.fm (a social media marketing firm), for an in person conference call with Pat, my supervisor.

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been working extremely hard at connecting Buz.fm with Hydrating Humanity. While this is indeed a long and complicated process, as a result of the conference call, the directors of Hydrating Humanity agreed to partner with Buz to increase their presence across social media platforms, but mainly Twitter. I am now in charge of continuing negotiations with Buz ( because I interned there last summer and am relatively social media savvy) as well as starting the campaign for Hydrating Humanity. I spent the latter part of this past week getting caught up to speed with all that had changed since my days interning with Buz.fm, and I believe I am close to fully understanding the site’s new capabilities (a lot has changed in just one year). I already have some scheduled calls with people at Buz.fm on Monday morning, and I hope to begin working on setting up the campaign late Monday morning or early Tuesday depending on how long the phone calls take on Monday. I am really looking forward to getting this campaign up and running, and I am hopeful that it will make a positive impact on Hydrating Humanity’s online presence.

In addition to working on the Buz.fm project this past week, I spent last Monday, Tuesday, and early Wednesday working on finishing my analysis of comparing the hygiene curriculum that Hydrating Humanity uses with that of the Water Sanitation Project. While I found a number of striking similarities between the two, I also noted a lot of differences that HH could possibly incorporate into their teaching campaign.

While I just have roughly three more weeks remaining in my time with Hydrating Humanity, I have learned a lot in the seven weeks that I have spent with the company (discounting my one week trip to Michigan). While an intern is not necessarily considered a leadership role in a company, I found that a leader does not always need to be put into a formal leadership role. I became a leader in my own regards by spearheading the social media campaign, and by connecting Hydrating Humanity with Buz.fm, which is something that HH pointed to as an area for improvement. I am optimistic, and I hope that the fruits of my labor will pan out well for HH.

In addition, I have learned the importance of networking and maintaining good relationships with people. The connection with Buz was based solely from my network, which shows the importance of getting to know a diverse group of people in a variety of different fields. Also, because I was able to develop a strong relationship with the people that work at Buz, they were willing to help out Hydrating Humanity and put up with my countless phone calls. Furthermore, I know see myself as strong networking, and in the future, I know that I can use this to my or someone else’s advantage.

More broadly, I learned the importance in taking risks as an entrepreneur. Hydrating Humanity has taken a lot of risks, and while some have not worked out, many have. And, if you don’t take risks, there will not be any development. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

A hectic week, but a good one nonetheless

Friday, June 28, 2013 11:47 pm

This past week, for the first time since I was in Kenya, my ability to work as an intern for Hydrating Humanity was tested. While not having to deal with spiders crawling on me in the shower or spending a 10 hour day on a motorcycle cataloging schools, this past week did have its difficulties in their own way. Keeping up with a lot of communication, back-and-forth phone calls, negotiations, and other projects looming on the back-burner was slightly stressful at times as there are a lot of projects that have my name on them. However, it was nothing that I could not handle and everything came together towards the ladder part of the week. I really hope that I can serve Hydrating Humanity the best I can by completing as many projects as possible, while still doing them completely.

Similar to last week, I was faced with a number of different projects that I am supposed to be working on at the same time including cause marketing, social media, Google Earth cataloging, and conducting an analysis of a health education curriculum. There had to be a lot of e-mails exchanged to get the cause marketing and social media consultation projects advanced. I was successfully able to negotiate with Buz.fm, a social media marketing firm out of Orion, Michigan (where I interned last summer) to have a conference call with the directors of Hydrating Humanity to look at increasing HH’s online presence. I was the middle-man in this relationship by negotiating a number of aspects between the two parties. In fact, members of Hydrating Humanity even were interested in flying up to Michigan for a meeting with Buz.fm, so I spent hours searching for the cheapest ways to do this, but it turned out to be $400/per person, so HH decided to stick with a conference call, for now.

Next week, I will be joining in on the conference call, while continuing to act as a middle-man, and I’m sure that I will be able to learn some things in the meantime. I am extremely happy that I was able to use my networking skills to link these organizations together as I feel it will be a mutually beneficial relationship. Buz.fm will gladly take the business, and Hydrating Humanity will increase their social media and online presence. I was very fortunate to have been able to intern at both places and bring them together. I am really hoping that both sides will get as much out of the relationship as I feel that they could.

One of many aspects that I really enjoy about Hydrating Humanity is the amount of respect and inclusion that I am shown by its directors and employees. Everyone has been extremely friendly to me, and they have included me on a number of business operations including: decisions, the negotiations with Buz.fm, as well as a number of other important matters. I feel as though I am valued, and I am not just a college student that will be turned loose at the end of the summer. I feel like a part of the Hydrating Humanity family, and I share many similarities with its employees. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by such a wonderful and caring group of people. In fact, Pat, my main supervisor, just treated me to a delicious Five Guys hamburger during our weekly business meeting that was held tonight. Our weekly meals show how much the HH directors care about me. The relationship is certainly mutual, and it makes the hard work certainly worth it.

Currently, the largest concern that Hydrating Humanity is facing is indeed its online presence. HH has a real desire to try to increase their presence on social media channels, which is why the partnership with Buz.fm is so important. If none of my other projects turn out to be fruitful for the company (which I hope not), this project with integrating Buz.fm’s consulting, advice, and technology into Hydrating Humanity’s marketing mission, would be a success for me, and more importantly, one for the company. I am hopeful and optimistic that with Buz.fm, social media will no longer be a challenge for Hydrating Humanity.

Although there are other clean water organizations, Hydrating Humanity really does not compete with any of them. In HH’s view, a clean water well is a clean water well, no matter who puts it in. While there is a drive to succeed and get funding, I really do enjoy how we are not fighting against another company to gain money. It is rare to find this in business.

Strong communication key at Hydrating Humanity

Sunday, June 23, 2013 4:48 pm

Another week by and another week that I found working for Hydrating Humanity even more enjoyable. I began the week putting together and condensing information for my cause marketing campaign into a single and well articulated document. The document included findings from a meeting with the Office of Personal and Career Development as well as my online research findings of possible clients in the Winston-Salem area. I went on to present this in my weekly meeting on Wednesday with Pat, my supervisor. He seemed happy with my work, and he rewarded me to a wonderful lunch at a local Thai restaurant. I was definitely good with that. The food was wonderful, and it was a great opportunity to know Pat even more.

However, before I met with Pat on Wednesday, I spent the day on Tuesday transferring data from my research in Kenya from Microsoft Excel to Google Earth. Although this was relatively mindless work, I did enjoy getting to learn and work with a new piece of software in Google Earth.

Since the meeting with Pat, I engaged with a hodgepodge of a few smaller projects related to the cause marketing campaign. I sent out some emails, messages on LinkedIn, and have been trying to coordinate a few meetings both for cause marketing as well as social media campaigns. In addition, I have been brainstorming ideas for a few other projects.

Because Hydrating Humanity is such a small organization, everyone is involved with decisions. Whenever something gets published, all of the directors edit and read releases for online websites as well as any proposals. While not just eliminating errors, I believe this helps develop a sense of camaraderie and trust that may get lost in some larger organizations.

I’ve noticed that while a disagreement may arise, the organization handles it very swiftly by installing a code of communication that is very strong. All miscommunications are dealt with an efficient manner, and it leaves people on the same page. On a brighter note, successes are celebrated by cheery Facebook posts, good moods, and praising God. The organization, like myself, believes that all good things come through our creator.

Overall, Hydrating Humanity retains a very team oriented atmosphere. While, like any organization, it has its division of labor, successes are celebrated together. In addition, workers are filled with company issues, and there remains a strong level of communication, which is completely essential in such an organization.

I really do enjoy working on teams, and I feel that I am on one with Hydrating Humanity. I am not just a college intern that is given loads of work and held to unrealistic expectations without any reward or acknowledgement. I am a human being that is cared for by my co-workers. This is why I could not be happier working for any other organization this summer, and I do my best to show my appreciation and loyalty to Hydrating Humanity to put forward the best work that I am humanly capable of.

Cause marketing all the way

Sunday, June 16, 2013 8:49 pm

This past week, I was able to make some headway on a project that really excites me: cause marketing. The week started on a Monday afternoon meeting with my supervisor, Patrick, I was able to outline my idea for how Hydrating Humanity could increase their social media. Through my previous internship at Buz.fm, a social media marketing firm in Michigan, I was able to learn an immense amount of information about how to transform a company’s social media prescience. It has now turned into my personal goal to help Hydrating Humanity create some buzz on Facebook and Twitter.

Now, it’s time to speak about cause marketing. During my meeting with Pat, he also introduced me to cause marketing, which practically had me jumping out of chair out of excitement. My task was to find and contact local business with the idea of partnering with them. More specifically, Hydrating Humanity would take a small percentage of proceeds with the idea that the local business would use the idea of charity to help market its products. I am optimistic for its potential, and I enjoy speaking to people in person to try to encourage them to do something. While it is an expansive project that will take many weeks to accomplish successfully, I was able to get a nice head start on the project this past week.

I began by making a list filled with local businesses (especially those heavily supported by Wake Forest students because they may be more sympathetic to the cause). I then combed through records of the Winston-Salem Journal to add potential clients to my list. Next, I scheduled an appointment in the Office of Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest to try to muster up some ideas for the campaign, which is when I learned about the Family Business Center. After doing further research on a number of companies, and narrowing down the list a little bit, I positioned myself to be in good shape to start contacting these businesses in the week that comes.

I expect that I will be meeting with Pat once again early this coming week (probably Monday or Tuesday) to finalize the plans as well as review any drafts of things that I may say to local businesses. I really look forward to dressing up and representing Wake Forest and Hydrating Humanity, and I am looking forward to the possibility of bringing in funds for Hydrating Humanity even more. It seems as though it is a beneficial project, and it sure beats sitting behind a computer all day.

In addition to the cause marketing campaign, I have a few other projects, which I have placed on the back burner. I enjoy having multiple projects on my plate as it keeps me busy, and I am never waiting around for my next meeting with Pat. I always have something that I could be working on. It is better to be busy than bored.

Now that I have finished the fourth week of my internship, I have just about six weeks left until my time with Hydrating Humanity is finished for the summer. This was only my second week working from the United States (two weeks working in Kenya), so I have not been able to complete any large-scale and aggressive projects from the United States due to the length of time that I have been here. However, I am proud of myself for being able to collect all of the data that I was able to gather via motorcycle in Kenya, and turn it into a spreadsheet. Finishing that project gave me a sense of productivity and accomplishment.

I believe what has surprised me the most about Hydrating Humanity is how efficient the organization is. For such a small employee force, wells are being built on a constant basis in Kenya. The key was finding the right people and instilling a strong sense of communication. I entered this internship largely unaware of how international NGO’s operate, and I have learned a lot in terms of how they are able to structurally fulfill their missions. Seeing an NGO in Hydrating Humanity that has a simple, yet efficient structure has made this learning process quick and easy. My measure of success for this internship is about how much I am able to help Hydrating Humanity. So far, the experience has been enriching, and I have able to gain some very valuable work experience as well as knowledge. It is my hope that I may be able to help Hydrating Humanity as much as they have helped me. This is what drives my work.

First week in the US: Recconnecting with Kenya

Monday, June 10, 2013 2:58 am

After safely returning to the United States from my 2 and a half week venture to Kenya, it was back to work: just in the United States now. Although I am working from the United States, my work with Hydrating Humanity is still largelyreflected frommy research and the skills that I learned in Kenya. I honestly do not see how this internship could have been possible without travelling to Kenya. I am very fortunate that I was able to make such a trip.

Now to what it is exactly that I am doing: I began this work week compiling the results of my Kenyan school research (where I cataloged school demographics, water conditions, and sanitation conditions), and entering it into an Excel spreadsheet for further catloging within the company database. It took me many hours to compile all the data, sort through it, and then finally enter the information into the computer. However, once I finished, it felt nice to have the information in the computer and backed up off my paper notebook, which could be easily lost or damaged.

When I met with my supervisor, Pat Selvy, following the completion of my first project, I certainly knew that I will be kept busy in the next few weeks. I will be helping Hydrating Humanity come up with a social media marketing plan (based off my previous internship at Buz.fm), which I worked on extensively towards the ladder part of this past week. There is a lot of potential in developing Hydrating Humanity’s name on social media websites, and I really am looking to helping the organization in this venture.

In addition, I will be working on cataloging the company’s well projects on Google Earth to better keep track of completed wells in the Kuria District as well as the schools that have not been fortunate enough to recieve a well at this stage (many of these schools were the ones that I visited). It will take some time to get to know and understand Google Earth as it is a piece of software that I am very inexperienced in, but I think it will be a very fun program to learn, and more importantly, it will be an important addition to Hydrating Humanity’s resources. I could not be more excited to start this project.

As a company, Hydrating Humanity is a relatively new non-governmental organization. It has its roots dating back to 2005, where Pat Selvy andMatt Peterson found the inspiration behind clean water when Peterson was in Africa, and a young child asked him for clean water. Peterson wanted to do something to improve water conditions in the developing world, so he, Selvy, and Josh Youngresponded by starting Hydrating Humanity. The two then met with a man from the Kuria District of Kenya, who stated that a family/friend had died from a water-borne illness in the district. Just like that, Hydrating Humanity was headed to the Kuria District.

As a small organization, Hydrating Humanity has experienced a few issues that trouble other smaller organizations. Funding is always difficult for a small NGO; however, the organization has done a wonderful job at targetting church groups, schools, and other groups to help fund water well projects in Kenya. The directors of Hydrating Humanity are very intelligent and driven, and when those two qualities come together, donors listen. Each year, Hydrating Humanity gets its name to out to more people and organizations, and with that, more people want to help its cause.

After all, I found out about the organization through an informal presentation during a class at Wake. The company got an intern out of it. Maybe at the next presentation, and the company will get a well for the people of the Kuria District.

Hydrating Humanity: Riding for research in Kenya

Sunday, June 2, 2013 7:03 pm

After spending the weekend in my sleepy home stay town of Kehancha, located in the heart of the Kuria District, I was ready for my second week of work for Hydrating Humanity. Apart from running a few errands on Saturday and attending a local church service on Sunday where I was profusely welcomed, I made it a priority to rest and sleep. As mentioned, I was fighting sleep deprivation, and to help better enjoy my time in the Kuria District and make full use of my abilities, I had to be well rested. Throughout the weekend, I would be asleep by 9:00 and up again at 7:00 the next morning. I could get used to the ten hours of sleep every night.

But, after the brief weekend rest, it was back to work. My second week in Kenya was more demanding and difficult than the first. However, that certainly did not make it less enjoyable. I spent part of the week, for full days, traveling for miles down dirt roads and pathways on a dirt motor bike tracking different schools in the area and gathering information about these schools. More specifically, it was my task to examine and record the schools’ current water situation and determine the need and feasibility of the possibility of a well project at each individual school. I enjoyed meeting with the principals of each of these schools and learning from them; however, it was difficult, but necessary, for me to explain that I was only gathering research that would be relayed to the directors of Hydrating Humanity. I was not a wealthy American coming in to promise wells. I was only a college student doing research for my boss.

I also was tagged with the task of examining the latrines (choo as some Kenyans call them) at each school. The pure stench resonating from these facilities made me gag, if not almost throw up, on each case. I felt bad to be so repulsed in front of the school principal no matter how professional I thought that I was acting. However, I felt worse for the children that had no other option but to use the latrines. They were filthy with human excrement, swarming with flies, and most were crumbling to the ground. Public health officials routinely examined the latrines too, but with such a limited budget, little could be done. I was even more shocked by the absence of toilet paper as well as sinks in or even near the “restrooms.” I could only find sinks in a large city like Kissumu or Nairobi (when I ventured out of the Kuria District). I was using hand sanitizer to clean my hands, but what were the local children using? What was being used as toilet paper? The anthropologist in me wanted to ask local students, but I felt it may be in poor taste to make such inquiries. I pressed on with my research in spite of a churning stomach.

The rest of the week proceeded with visiting well projects, visiting well construction sites, running errands for the NGO (like going to the bank to pick up money to pay employees), and the week culminated in a dedication service at one of the schools where a well had been completed that day. The children were extremely happy, and the teachers thanked me and others from Hydrating Humanity profusely. They even bought us sodas, which was an extremely kind gesture. Our organization was sure to thank the teachers for all that they do as well, and we were able to develop a pen-pal relationship at the school, which is located in Isebania, Kenya, a border town with Tanzania. It is now doubtful that a water borne disease will originate from the school. That is the kind of situation that puts smiles on everyone’s faces, including mine.

Soon enough, as the next weekend came, it was time to head to Nairobi, the nation’s capital, which was the first step in our trek back to the United States. A few days of shopping and enjoying American cuisine allowed me to draw myself closer to my colleagues and learn even more about Hydrating Humanity. I spent two more nights at the Mayfield, and I was able to catch up on sleep even more. Then, in what seemed like a blink of the eye, my time in Kenya over the summer was done. I began packing in my hotel room, and then it was off to the airport. The hotel manager asked me when I would return to Kenya. I replied, “God willing, hopefully soon. You have a lovely home.”

It was true. Seeing the baby blue colors of the KLM jet outside the window of the Nairobi airport, made me think of home and the work that awaited me. Kenya was more than just a break from the American life. It was an opportunity to do what I love, and it became my home for the past few weeks. Now, I will begin connecting my research in Kenya with the business side of Hydrating Humanity from the United States as my internship continues.

As it stands, I really enjoy working with others from Hydrating Humanity. I seem to mesh very well with other employees, and I really look forward to future intactions. When working with people becomes enjoyable, so does the job.

Thus, I will soon begin cataloging my research results onto a company database to help develop a priority system for wells. Without gathering information about schools, it would be impossible to decide where and how to build wells at different locations. With this in mind, I am happy to conclude that my project fit in well (no pun intended) with Hydrating Humanity’s mission of building wells.

I will miss my work in Kenya, but I will be using the experience throughout this summer and beyond. I will also be developing my research into useful data for Hydrating Humanity.

God willing, until later, Kenya.

Authors
Alexander Adcock (7)
Gracious Addai (3)
Susie Alexander (6)
Assel Aljaied (10)
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Marco Banfi (3)
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Quentin Brillantes (8)
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Robbie Bynum (1)
Cailey Forstall (9)
Cameron Steitz (5)
Cecelia Carchedi (3)
Carl Turner (2)
Adelina Cato (5)
Kristi Chan (7)
Brittani Chavious (12)
Avinav Chopra (1)
Hannah Clark (8)
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