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Hangin’ on a Matatu

This short video shows an example of the dynamics of matatu rides in Kenya. Matatus in Kenya attempt to keep costs low for passenger at the expense of piling in as many people into the vehicle as possible. In Kenya, the fare to ride one of these 10-passenger vans, called matatus, is based on the distance (and the routé) you’ll be traveling. To go 100 km (about 60 miles) will cost you around 200 Kenyan shillings (~$2.50). Matatu rides can turn into adventures or worse in a hurry though.

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Life and Death Discussions

https://pamojatogether.com/2014/01/21/life-and-death-discussions/
Our PamojaTogether student group had settled in Bondo Town for barely a couple of days and we were already exchanging bits and pieces of our lives with each other. We were all for the most part somewhere in our twenties, grew up in different parts of Kenya, the US and elsewhere in the world. None of us knew each other well. Even the BU students didn’t really know each other, coming as we did from various areas of study at a large urban university.

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miluka & grandma2

A Grandmother’s Hope By Miluka Gunaratna

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/12/06/2213/

Jafred and I were on our way along with our trusted driver, Fred, in search of a story about a water sanitation project that had been established by The Netherlands government in a village in Nyandiwa Town. We were on an extremely tight schedule (by now a norm for us).  We had come out to the fishing villages on the shores of Lake Victoria for the weekend in an attempt to connect with locals and learn about how foreign aid was affecting their lives.

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mehren_elizabeth

Marty Walsh’s Childhood Cancer: Curable Here, Not So Easy In Africa By Elizabeth Mehren

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/11/20/marty-walshs-childhood-cancer-curable-here-not-so-easy-in-africa-by-elizabeth-mehren/

Just about everyone in town knows by now that Marty Walsh is the son of Irish immigrants, a former labor organizer, a recovering alcoholic and a man who is happily unmarried to “the love of my life.” But it’s possible that few outside a rather eccentric quartet of Boston University researchers took note of one particular item in the biography of Boston’s new mayor. Walsh is a survivor of Burkitt’s Lymphoma.

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A Volunteer-based Kenyan Healthcare System by Kasha Patel
BU News Service

http://bunewsservice.com/a-volunteer-based-kenyan-healthcare-system/

This past summer, I traveled to a rural town in western Kenya called Bondo and reported on the lives of a few community health workers. The reporting expedition was through a program called PamojaTogether with the Boston University Program on Crisis Response and Reporting. The reporting opportunity was great because it allowed me to actually experience what I learned about community health workers in my class at the BU School of Public Health.

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Pride and Perfectness by Elizabeth Mehren, Anne Donohue and Jennifer Beard

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/10/25/pride-and-perfectness/

As we stumbled into Bondo Town after two days and approximately 14,000 air miles of travel from Boston, the bus driver who ferried us from the Kisumu airport missed the Pride the first time around. But once inside the stately gates and past the Tara-like columns, we discovered a pristine oasis of serenity and superior service.

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Meet Mama Sarah Obama 

Meet Mama Sarah Obama by Liz Daube

http://lizdaube.com/2013/05/13/meet-mama-sarah-obama/
Some locals call the new bridge to Mama Sarah’s house – the big concrete one, with tall, grey pillars to keep cars from veering over the edge and into the roiling brown water below – the “Obama bridge.” They think American money brought it to this rural town in Kenya, Nyang’oma Kogelo, which has drawn international attention ever since tourists and reporters realized it was home to relatives of the first black president of the United States.

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mehren_elizabeth

Random Acts of Civility By Elizabeth Mehren

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/10/03/random-acts-of-civility-by-elizabeth-mehren/
Timing matters, we tell our journalism students. Tie your stories to news events. Give them currency. Always advance the larger story. Those admonitions may be why what I am writing here will seem naïve, and possibly even tasteless. I am aware that I am setting myself up as the wide-eyed white woman who falls in love with “exotic” Africa.

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Kenyan pick-up lines by Kasha Patel

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/06/04/kenyan-pick-up-lines/
I could only take about fifteen steps or so outside of the hotel before I heard “Mzungu! How are you!” Mzungu is the African term for “white person.” I put an exclamation point instead of question mark at the end of “How are you” because the phrase was always yelled at you. It was hardly ever in a question tone. Sometimes the children would rhythmically chant “Mzungu! How are you! Mzungu! How are you!” and jump up and down as if they were performing some kind of dance. It was actually quite catchy, and I found myself humming the tune to myself hours later.

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Foreign Aid

How Much Money Does the U.S. Spend on Foreign Aid?

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/06/27/foreign-aid/

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Beatrice Anyango

Turning Collaborative Leaning into Collaborative Leadership

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/07/08/leadership/
I came away from Kenya thinking a lot about leadership and in particular, women in leadership. Perhaps I was influenced by the hype around the recent release of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. I remember watching her interview with Jon Stewart the night before I left for Kenya on one of my many outdated recorded DVR episodes of The Daily Show. I recall her saying, “Rather than call our little girls ‘bossy’, we should say ‘my daughter has executive leadership skills.’” The quote traveled with me to Africa.

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Adventures in matutus by Kasha Patel

https://pamojatogether.com/2013/06/04/adventures-in-matutus/
Public transportation in Kenya is nothing like America. The public transportation consists of minivans called matatus. The matatus are supposed to hold about 14 or so passengers, but you will hardly ever find one that is only carrying 14 people. I’ve been in matatus that have held 24 people and one hen (yes, there was a bird sitting at my feet). There aren’t even seats for everyone so some people must hang onto the matatu from the outside. There are usually one or two matatu conductors who find passengers and collect the money.

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