Being a part of a grand international project comes with benefits, and some of them are indeed impressive. Working on OpenLMIS – an innovative logistic system enabling effective distribution of medical supplies across African countries without a doubt counts as such an advantageous job.
Recently all the teams involved in the project traveled from their different whereabouts to just one place. All that to attend workshops organized for knowledge sharing purposes. We were to collect information on the new OpenLMIS part that we haven’t been developing before so that we can take the task from there and continue the work.
As SolDevelo we have been engaged in OpenLMIS for years so we couldn’t have missed this opportunity to connect with other people devoted to this project’s success. Especially that, from many attractive locations considered for the event, Nairobi won this time. As a result, I, Sebastian, and Mateusz spent the first few days of May in Kenya.
Our journey started at the end of the rainy season, which is actually not the best time to visit Kenya, due to the number of mosquitoes transmitting malaria. Before the trip, we had to visit the Tropical Medicine Clinic. After a short conversation with the doctor, we were vaccinated for yellow fever and got a prescription for anti-malaria pills.
We flew from Gdańsk through Amsterdam. Our trip took about 16 hours in total. The temperature was nice – about 25 degrees but combined with air humidity over 80%, the weather was tiring sometimes. Another thing we’ve already noticed on the way from the airport to the hotel was crazy driving and no traffic rules. Red lights? No problem. Three cars driving two-lane road? If they fit, let them go. INSANITY!
First two days of our stay in Kenya were working days – we had workshops about OpenLMIS reporting stack. During the training, the members of ONA team were presenting the work they have done. The practical part of the workshops was great. It was like a live demo – as participants, we could run NiFi and learned how to debug it and resolve some issues. Moreover, the team showed us some basics on how the Superset reports work and their configuration.
We spent our first evening in Africa at dinner in Fogo Gaucho with all workshop participants. We were in Brazilian steakhouse which serves 16 different types of meat as well as one of the best salad bars in the city. The restaurant has its own rules – all guests receive two-colored card. If you want meat you have to put your card with the green side on the top. Otherwise, a card with the red side on the top means that you are good for now. The waiters are walking around the table with various types of meat all the time asking people with green card whether they want to try next cut of meat. We had the first opportunity in our life (and probably the last in my case) to try crocodile meat. For me it tastes like chicken but is definitely too chewy.
Next two days we spent on exploring Nairobi. First place we’ve visited was elephant orphanage. The only time that it is possible to see the elephants is from 11 am to noon. This is the time when the keepers bring the elephants to a cordoned area to play, feed, and to show the public how well they are doing. Initially, we met a group of the youngest nursery elephants. They drink milk and play with each other. Like any kid, they love to tackle each other and have fun. They are so cute! Ones that are feeling hot splash themselves with mud found at the playing area.
During the visit, people need to be quiet so as not to scare the elephants. When some of them get close to you, you can touch and pet them. It’s important to stay above their sight because everything below they treat as a toy.
The next stop was Giraffe Center where we could feed giraffes. This place is currently home for ten animals – seven female and three male. In the beginning, we got a packet with giraffes’ crisps. Normally, people get two packets but at the time of our visit, giraffes were on diet. Some of the crisps where longer – you can put those in your mouth and the giraffe would get it licking your face. Giraffes don’t like hugs so to do this, we have to trick them by hugging during feeding.
My favourite one was a baby giraffe, barely a year old.
Funny thing was a total diversity in people’s outfits. We met people in summer clothes and in winter jackets at the same time. Moreover, we were driving near the second largest slums in Africa.
The last attraction that day was safari walk. That place looks like a zoo but with more open space for animals. We saw, among others, hyenas, rhino, zebra and ostrich.
We have a possibility to feed guerezas. They were so greedy!
Two park employees led us to the place where we could see lion with lionesses very close. Interesting fact is that “lion” in swahilli is “simba”, like the main character from the Lion King.
Our last day in Nairobi was also full of sightseeing. On noon, we’ve had to checkout from the hotel but our flight was scheduled to 11 pm so we rent a taxi to drive us over some tourist places. Firstly, we went to the masai market. There were a lot of beautiful things like masks, figures or jewelry. None of the items for sale had a price – you had to negotiate.
Next we drove to the Nairobi’s viewpoint. There was a park where local people celebrate their national holidays. In common days, Kenyan people are chilling there under the trees.
Furthermore, we visited Kenyan National Museum where we could see the exhibitions about Kenyan history, tradition and animals. We learned that Kenya is a very young country. It gained independence on December 12, 1963.
Near to the museum was Snake House where we saw the most dangerous snake in Africa, some other snakes, turtles, lizards and crocodiles.
The trip without trying local burgers doesn’t count so we had to eat some Kenyan ones!
In summary, I think it was an amazing trip. Productive workshops, wild animals, nature – I love it! I hope I’ll visit Kenya again someday.