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Seeds and CHile


Rockefeller is using the small-scale private sector to help with its seed. It’s sad but true. The individuals working in the public sector have little interest in success… and if small shop owners can get

can get a profit by selling seeds along with information to farmers then it means that when a project finishes the shop owner still has an incentive to distribute seed… because they will still make money. Good outputs can therefore outlast the project – sustainability in action rather than just some word in a concept note.

Also, why shouldn’t people be able to make money if they help farmers – it’s a good thing. It has been a hard lesson for a lefty liberal like myself to accept that private sector can be a good thing.

By some chance I am now entering an after work drinking relationship with a guy who runs one of these projects. We are discussing whether there could be a job in it for me.

My trip to Chile
I’ve just got back from Chile. It was good to escape Nairobi for a while. I needed a break – although this was work. But you know what they say – a change is as good as a holiday. I cannot describe to you how nice it felt to spend Saturday and Sunday wondering around the city (Santiago) with a map in my hand and looking like a clueless tourist. Not really something that is possible in Nairobi. Was also great to meet the backpackers in the hostel. Starting out on a 6 month tour of the continent. Excited. Having left their work and responsibilities behind.

On my other day off I went up to the mountains near Santiago. So nice to play in snow and enjoy the view.

Was fun rediscovering my Spanish too.

Work was interesting although the jetlag, combined with a growing cold, really killed me and in the afternoons I was a bit of a mess. I was in Chile to meet with the people who run a project similar to mine for Latin America and the Caribbean. Sharing experiences and ideas. I learned some new things and had some new thoughts. Also understood better some of the drive from my Rome bosses who had initiated my Africa project to replicate the success of the Latin American one. I now have some serious thinking to do about how much of the experience of South America is relevant to Africa.

Back in Nairobi
When I walked back into the flat in Nairobi yesterday my flatmate, Lara, asked if that was it and I was returning to Europe now. I have been a bit grumpy recently and she thought that when I saw some other place I would wash my hands of Africa – up and leave. I haven’t. Not yet.

Why have I been grumpy? I think, as I said, needing a break. I’ve had one long weekend and two other days off plus Christmas, boxing day and new year since before I arrived in early December. And the strain of being here does begin to pull. I was becoming much less tolerant of all things disorganised over here.

Also, even my weekends now aren’t much of a break. I’m looking for jobs. Searching the internet. My contract finishes at the end of July and I don’t yet have anything to go to. I have French lessons three evenings a week and the other two it is really difficult to motivate myself to stay at work late to look for jobs… also, it’s not safe to stay alone there much after dark.

Right, I’m off to bed now to nurse my cold. Hot Toddy, cough medicine and paracetamol are all my new friends.

Posted by happydaves 06:57 Archived in Kenya Tagged business_travel

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