Planning Time

by Ian Maclellan

So I’ve been in Kisumu for almost two weeks now and I decided a few days ago that I really need to sit down and organize out everything I want to do and everything I want to cover for the general story on legal issues and human rights in Kenya.

I started out making lists with check boxes next to each item so I could check them off when I was done. I figured I wouldn’t actually get to check things off for awhile and expanded my search to the yellow pages for all of Kenya. Starting with the section on the Kenyan government, I made my way through the entire yellow pages writing down listings for everything from Apiaries to Soapstone Quarries to Human Rights NGOs and Safari Companies.

The general theme behind my lists of ideas is to capture the fullness of the justice system and the fullness of what makes Kenya turn. For the latter I figure I need to capture the economic, so have started to gather numbers for factories and farms as well as making a mental map of all those I pass.

My lists needed to sprout some wings and fly, so I then took a few blank pieces of paper and made a rough calendar of the next two months(in pencil of course cause I understand everything will change in 4 hours or so). That didn’t seem like enough so I went to the stationery store with Humera and purchased two books of post it notes to put up around the house. I came up with the general section categories for notes: “Facts and Quotes”, “People We Are Supposed to Contact”, “How to Get There Wherever There Is”, “To Do in Next 48 Hours or So…”, “Adventures/Fun Ideas”, and then the boring category of “Story Ideas” for all that serious stuff I’m supposed to be doing.

Cause I’m sure everyone is asking the burning question what does Ian put on his lists anyways? here you go

  • See a hippo
  • Take pictures inside a handful of the buildings burned and generally destroyed during post-election violence
  • Go on a safari
  • Find dark chocolate
  • Take a walk in Milamani
  • Go out on a fishing boat. This is a real good item! The general idea is to have Kissinger talk to some of his fishermen friends in Usenge about whether they would consider taking us out around 5 when they put the traps out, then stay out with them till they come back in with full nets. In the early morning there is supposedly a very exciting fish market on the beaches of Usenge with exporters and fish dealers from Kisumu and Nairobi. Could be extremely difficult to pull off, but would be a great photographic opportunity, and a rare one too.
  • Go to a protest of anything. I don’t want to go to a mob, just a small protest…
  • Interview the Deputies of Kodiago and Kibos maximum security prisons
  • Hang out for a day in the newborns section of the orphanage
  • Buy kids on our street in KenyaRe lollipops
  • Cook an American style dinner for everyone at CLEAR
  • Buy one of the pirated movies people are always trying to sell me
  • Go to a church service
  • Send stories to some of the local newspapers
  • Find a Kenyan board game
  • Find the man at the Indian restaurant who gave us a free gigantic piece of chocolate cake and thank him
  • Finish one of my journals
  • Go “camping”
  • Go to the molasses plant outside Kisumu
  • Meet with anyone in the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
  • Visit the Laikipia Ranch in Busia near the Ugandan border
  • Meet with anyone in the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission
  • Spend 4-5 days in Kakuma Refugee camp in the far North-West of Kenya. This is a 12 year old refugee camp that has Sudanese, Somalian, Ugandan, Ethiopian, and Kenyans… Very complex situation and I would like to focus on the Mobil Courts that have been started, but supposedly have dissolved or are generally obsolete for the current situation. I am trying to talk with a refugee there who runs a free newspaper and blog from the camp. It is impossible to talk about human rights and justice in Kenya without including information on their international relations and large internally displaced persons. The situations in the camps seems to be led by AK-47’s not aid and justice. It is complex and dangerous to go that far North in Kenya and our plan is to talk with the UNHCR and other aid organizations to see what NGOs would be driving from Kisumu, Kitale, Eldoret or other cities up there and pay them to let us ride up with them. They might be able to help provide¬†accommodations for a low price¬†and help us find a guide and translator to get around. Most of the stories we read about refugee camps talk about the apathy of the rest of the world and the lack of recent foreign investment, so we hope that NGOs would welcome our small journalistic presence. I have read a few blog posts about tourists just taking a bus up and walking freely around the camps.
  • Visit the candy company in Kisumu that made “Hart Rate” candies
  • Follow a day in the life of a Matatu driver. I’m seriously enthralled by these guys and would love to fully understand how the system works and follow one or two of these men(I say men cause I have only heard tale of one woman driver who no longer does it). The Matatu is the most efficient and fluid thing I have seen so far in Kenya. It’s like Brittany will tell you, water pours most smoothly when there is in fact the most turbulence.
  • Visit a carpenter. There is an industrial factory in Eldoret that could be interesting. Here in Kisumu, one of our friends knows one too, so that shouldn’t be more than two phone calls away from happening.
  • Interview a magistrate, high court judge, and prosecutor
  • Get full permission to take whatever pictures I want in the maximum security prisons
  • Find someone who listens to the CLEAR’s radio show and listen with them and get their story on why they listen and if they have been helped by the show.
  • Go inside a police station or two
  • Go on a safari. I plan on spending a day at Lake Nakuru Park on the way from Kisumu to Mombassa.
  • Visit the tea farms and factories in Kisii. I don’t really care for tea, but it is too important to the culture to miss out on
  • Visit an HIV clinic. AIDS and HIV have shaped so much of the politics and issues of Kenya that this too is something that is essential in capturing the fullness of Kenya.
  • Buy Brittany one of the bright “African” skirts
  • Buy my mother soapstone carving at Kisii quarries
  • Go to the Kisumu Museum
  • Walk the whole way from our house to the office
  • Go to a Kenyan movie theater
  • Meet the Kisumu mayor
  • Eat dinner at the Imperial Hotel
  • Spend 4 days at CLEAR Eldoret
  • Interview a Bishop and an Imam on human rights in Kenya
  • Go to a Commercial ship repair yard in Mombassa
  • Visit Impala Park in Kisumu

Also here is my tentative calendar of events:

Kisumu today-June 26

Eldoret June 26-29

Fishing at Usenge June 30-July 1

Kakuma July 2-6

Kisumu July 7-17

Nakuru July 17-18

Mombassa July 19-25

Nairobi July 25-August 3

Who knows what will actually happen, but that is how I envision it