On Wednesday after the professional development workshop, the students spent two days working with their mentors to develop a project plan for their six-week internships. Then, on Friday morning, each student presented their draft plan to the group for comments and suggestions.
The projects ranged from feasibility assessments of caged fishing projects, to development of income-generating activities for women's table banking groups, to indicator analysis for HIV/AIDS program evaluations.
I immediately took an interested in on plan to work on a proposal for funding to start a computer center at one community organizations. I have a little bit of experience working with computers in a developing country, and I was a little skeptical of this organization's understanding of what would go into starting and maintaining a computer center. Most of my comments during this time were to question the feasibility of completing all the work listed. I felt that many of the project plans were very ambitious for the six-week timeframe. One student in particular had a project plan that included two projects that would have taken more than six weeks to complete (in my estimation) and expressed her hope to do an entirely different project in her free time.
I am interested to see where the students stand now that they have completed three weeks of the internships. Though we have been visiting them all along, the mid-internship retreat begins today at 2pm and will give them a chance to discuss amongst themselves how things have been going with their projects.
Just an hour after the presentations were complete, we had to say good-bye to Dr. T and Peg, who were heading back to the States. They have continued to work with us remotely and we have had several Skype conversations. They will be Skying into the retreat today.
The first students also left for their internships that day, Leslie and Rob left with their mentor. A majority of the rest of the interns departed for their sites the next day on Saturday. Only one intern remained behind. This intern was our first (and only so far) case of malaria. We had decided the intern could not head out to the site until the intern had gone 24 hours with out a fever. By Monday though, they had all fled the nest that was the Mumias Sugar Company (except for the two interning with Mumias Sugar Company) for three weeks and were out with their host families and partner organizations getting down to business.