Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rowland for MP

Eregi is a small village outside of Kakamega in Kenya. There is no electricity and no connectivity excluding Rowland’s pub. Fortunately we were his guests while we were there, unfortunately his connections was 16k. So although there was plenty to report we had to wait until Nairobi to post.

Rowland is a consummate host, and an incredible asset to the Kiva family. We woke up no later than 6:30am each day and were kept busy for 4 days straight. He managed to weave us accomplishing our research goals in between a schedule of pub visits, funerals, recently ordained catholic priest celebration, bullfight (bull vs. bull), bullfight afterparty, trips to the Southern hemisphere, meals with friends, meals with Kiva beneficiaries, a trip to his farm house, Champions league final, checkers, bean harvest, and I am sure I am forgetting a few things. Oh yeah this was all accomplished while Rowland campaigned for an MP position with the Orange Democratic Movement. We will know by Friday if he dethroned the Banana party incumbent.

Because Rowland is managing only five businesses, on his own, he is a unique case for us in terms of what technology is necessary to facilitate Kiva at that scale and in that location. Rowland only thinks big and this in combination with his background as marketing director for Kenya Brewing Company meant that he was an excellent collaborator during the creative session that we held with him. Outside of any scheduled project discussions the conversation drifted to Kiva several times to discuss interesting possibilities or challenges to be met in the future.

Rowland was a nice break from Africa. He mentioned several times that he was not a traditional African. With only two children how could he be. He had a progressive and worldly perspective drawn from his travels and studies abroad in India, 20 years ago! A Kenyan in India! Our time was well spent. We only hope that we reciprocated soe value for all that we gained.

When we make visits to the Kiva sponsored businesses we are met with deep gratitude although we have done nothing yet to contribute to Kiva. We represent and idea that we now see first hand is changing lives. It feels good.

Jon Cale friendship report: STABLE


Blogger Matthew Flannery said...

Sounds like an oasis to be in Eregi. Did you guys get to walk around the property to his bar? Have an Allsops's Lager?

8:43 AM  
Blogger jon said...

We even got to know the marketing strategy of the Allsops...The new Kiva office is just behind the pub. Rowland can move mountains

6:37 AM  

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