Fall Down. Get Back Up.

When my partners and I started KUPATIA, I thought that anyone I talked to about it would immediately get on board and want to help. Oh, how wrong I was. 

I can honestly say that I've never faced so much rejection in my life than I have trying to sell KUPATIA to the people around me. Not to say that everyone has been a tough sell, as we've had some absolutely wonderful people helping us towards our goal, but there have been SOOOO many people that have just shut us down. Being a young girl, I've not had to face many obstacles, so when I began to tell people the story of KUPATIA I was ready to be welcomed with open arms, however, lots of people (even people I consider to be close friends) have feigned interest and given me a trite "not today" or "maybe some other time" when I bring up my non-profit. I mean, all I'm trying to do here is help some girls get the education that deserve... I'm really not asking for much, yet some people have such a hard time giving when it reaps no personal benefit. 

This rejection, although disheartening, has been teaching that it's ok to be told no. It just means that you have to pick yourself up, swallow your pride, and move on to the next person. For every person that says no thanks, it motivates me to get 10 yes's to make up for them. 


It's Been a While

I haven't blogged in so long! Life as a high school senior is no walk in the park, considering college apps, homework, AP classes, and not to mention running a business... Sometimes it gets hard trying to manage it all. Funny how quickly I forget the intense labor and everyday routines of the girls back in Kenya! It's so easy to be selfish in my thoughts and throw a pity party for my "tough times". But, then I think about what my sisters over in Africa must doing right now: picking tea, studying their butts off, looking for food, etc. Nothing can compare to the stuff they go through, so with that in mind, I take a deep breath and know whatever trivial thing is causing me stress at the moment, really isn't that bad. 

Tea Is In Our Eyes

Oh my goodness!! I am filled from head to toe to with joy to finally be able to say that we have tea in our hands. It doesn’t even feel real, so much is riding on this. We are responsible for more than ourselves now. It really is a little scary to think that something Eavan just started is already a very important part of girls lives. We are both a tad overwhelmed with Eavan being a senior and me a freshman, we both have full plates and are having to majorly adjust. Though we know the outcome will completely be worth it knowing that we are helping the girls so significantly. 

Cooking the Old Fashion Way

Later that day we went back to our temporary home and tea plantation where most of our little group went back to work for the rest of the day. While Beatrice and I stayed back to start making dinner. We started by making a fire using branches we had gathered, the “stove” we used was two large rocks put next to each other with a pot placed on top and the fire going underneath. Beatrice and I were making beans and we started by sorting, washing and soaking them. Then after getting the water to boil we began the cooking of the beans which continued for about 4 to 6 hours. After the bean were ready we let them cool and bon appetit!

Our Little Field Trip

Our second day in Muranga we went on a “field trip” to one of the tea processing factories with some friends we made the day before (Beatrice, Agnyss, and Carol).  At the factory we went on a tour around the whole building. We got to se the whole drying and blending process from the tea leaves from being freshly plucked yesterday to being completely dried and ground. At the factories they make 4 different grades of tea each one goes through a little bit different grinding process. The thinker the ground the lower the grade, and the highest grade grounds are the definitely the strongest tea. We also did a taste test of all the different grades of tea, and let me just say that even the lowest grade tea was too strong to drink alone. Which is why drinking the tea alone is very uncommon in Kenya, the tea is usually drunk with more than half of the cup filled with whole milk and a few spoonfuls of sugar.

A Hard Day's Work

Two leaves and a bud. Two leaves and a bud. NO! Not the dark leaves! Only pick the top three light ones! This mantra repeats over and over in my head the entire day. My hands are cramping up from the repetitive motion of grabbing the leaves. My back is aching from bending over the tea bushes. My feet and legs are wobbly from standing all day. Never have I ever been this tired... the only thing that I can compare to this sort of exhaustion would maybe be finals week at school, but thats a different story. Funny to think that I'm spending my summer picking tea on giant hill while most of my friends are somewhere on a beach picking what bikini to wear! 

Pre-Picking Jitters

Between walking out of the farmhouse after eating my porridge, to picking the first leaf on the field, I had literally a million thoughts running through my head. One: This is gonna suck, I mean we are going to be picking little tiny leaves over and over again for 8 hours... That's longer than an entire day of school! Two: I'm probably going to embarrass myself in front of these people and they're going to be confused as to why I'm even here. This isn't exactly a tourist destination and  they're most definitely making fun of me in a language I can't understand. Three: Are the girls going to like me? Will they understand anything I say? Four: WHY AM I WORRYING SO MUCH ABOUT THIS????

First Day in the Fields...(this isn't easy)

On our first day on the job, we woke up at 6AM, roosters in the background, breakfast was.....tea, (imagine that), and this porridge type stuff that tasted like paste in first grade. It supposedly sticks to your guts and makes it so you don't get hungry in the middle of the day. This surely isnt like working at Google with catered lunches every day. No one gets fed here the entire time we work. A bowl of cheerios would sure be nice right about now. It's freezing out and  Mbao, the man that runs the plantation,  reminded us we are at about 7500 ft. here in Maragua. Even though we are only 300 miles away from the Equator it's down right cold for us Califonia girls. We go straight onto the steep slope and the "plucking" is about to commence. Going to be a long day. 

Eavan & Siobhan

Journey to Muranga

After spending one night in Nairobi to adjust to the 9 hour time change, we set off by car to the small, rural village of Muranga. Situated just about two hours outside of the city, Maragua was a completely different world. The streets were dirt, the houses were merely shacks, and there was barely a car to be seen. As we drove through each little neighborhood, we were met with smiling faces and eager waves from the people and children standing on the sides of the road. The juxtaposition of their genuine happiness amid the utter poverty that they live in can only be described as awe-inspiring. Seeing this state of being only minutes upon arriving in the village filled both Siobhan and I with bubbling excitement for what was to come next on our journey. 


KUPATIA takes Kenya

We left the house at 8:00 AM with a few bags in tow, ready to begin our descent off to Africa. Not knowing what to expect, all we were able to think about was the 20 hour flight ahead of us.  Once we finally boarded, we fell straight asleep. Eleven hours later and we woke up in Amsterdam! But as soon as we stepped off that plane, we were running to catch the next. Luckily, we made our flight and now were headed straight for our final destination...Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi, KENYA! Eavan