The Blemish 1


Today, one phone call threatened to mar the beauty of this experience. Sure things have been going wrong for a while, but I wanted to focus on the girls and what we could learn from each other. But now it seems I must go over some of the things that have gone wrong.

Lindy Wafula, Founding Director of Project Africa, and The Sistars Programme for girls, wrote to me a few weeks ago and asked me to consider running a Creative Writing Camp for her group of girls. I was hesitant seeing that I was working full time, but the idea was so intriguing for me that when the opportunity came up again I agreed to do more than just design the workshop. I agreed to actually go off to Kakamega.

Having recently fallen ill and without a job, I made it clear that I could not cover the travel expenses to Kakamega. Lindy asked me to write up a programme budget including my expenses. I did, making sure I kept the expenses to a minimum since she had explained that funds were somewhat short.

Lindy promply wrote back to me:

Dear Juliet,

Thank you so much for the plan for the Sistar camp. I think it is a great idea and it will have a big impact.

I have forwarded a copy to Mr Richie Otiende and Mr Martin Imbuka who are coordinating on the ground.

I will get back to you.


She wrote again asking me to contact one of her people in Kakamega, since she herself was resident in Sweden. In this email she seemed to have approved of the budget. In goodwill, because much of my concern was with the benefit the girls would get from the programme rather than with the expenses, I set out to make arrangements for teaching materials, course handouts and presentations and even went to quite a bit of expense on my account.

I contacted the Programme Officer in Kakamega, he confirmed to me that as Lindy had set out, the girls were 16 to 18 years old, and 25 in number. With that in mind, my assistant and I worked out the lessons for that age group, looking for books and readings of material suitable for that age.

Two days before we were to leave, things changed… (To be Continued)


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