Bellevue, Kenya? You Better Believe It.

16 Aug

I finally met Maono’s manager, Daisy! I met with her on Monday and she is quite the visionary and has an easygoing personality. At our meeting, she reviewed my job description with me. I feel much better about the direction that this position is taking me.

I have spent much of my first two weeks (yes, I’ve been here that long!) in the field meeting with borrowing groups. I’ll continue to mainly do that for the next two weeks to get a better understanding of Maono’s on-the-ground operations. After that, the majority of my time will be spent in the office. I’ll be doing things like managing the accounting system (Quickbooks), working on marketing plans for Maono’s products, writing training manuals for borrowers, producing a newsletter for donors, and managing Maono’s website and Facebook page.  So – part accounting, part marketing, and part communication!

After my meeting with Daisy, she offered a 2-3 month homestay at her house! The day after she offered, here I am! I moved in a couple of hours ago and I love it so far. She and her husband (Justus) are in their mid-thirties and have 3 children (ages eight, five, and one-and-a-half) running around the house! The kids are so energetic and I am told they will force me to watch the Disney channel constantly. They are calling me their “big brother!”

Today, Betty and Philemon had some slum visits to make and I accompanied them. In between visits, they had to pick up some literature at Muvano Church – the church that started and helps fund the Maono Initiative. The church is situated on the grounds of an old drive-in movie theater. The name of the theater and the surrounding area? BELLEVUE! For those who don’t know, Bellevue is the small town in Ohio that I live in! This picture captures it all – the welcome sign for the church that started the organization I work for with Bellevue Cinema in the background. Destiny? Hmmm…

I was so stunned and excited I forced Betty and Philemon to pose for a picture in front of the old cinema.

Right across the street from Mavuno Church, there also happens to be a Bellevue Shopping Complex!

Bellevue means “beautiful view” in French, FYI.

Coincidence or destiny, I’m so excited for the rest of my time here in Kenya. Now that I have a job description, I have a better idea of what I will be doing with Maono. Also, I can’t wait for all the good times I’ll have staying with Daisy’s family.

Thanks for following my adventures!


13 Responses to “Bellevue, Kenya? You Better Believe It.”

  1. Amanda Stout August 16, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Hi Ben! I really enjoy reading your blog, your adventures and work in Kenya is soo interesting! How long will you be there?

    • Ben August 17, 2011 at 12:23 am #

      Hi Amanda! Happy to hear you like it, I have a lot of fun writing posts. I’ll be here for a year – and who knows, maybe longer if I land a good paying job!

      • Amanda Stout August 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

        That’s awesome! Good luck to you Ben! I will keep reading 🙂

  2. macmcnair August 18, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    Ben, checking in on the Stoney count. Have enjoyed your posts and can visualize the places you’ve been. Praying for you all.



    • Ben August 18, 2011 at 7:44 am #

      Hi Mac – Stoney count is currently 7. About one every two days. I’ll write a post about the pure, thirst-quenching goodness that is Stoney Tangawizi when I get to about 50! I’m happy you’re enjoying my blog and thanks for following my adventures!
      All the best,

  3. ann990 August 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Bellevue….you can’t make this up! Destiny indeed. I love reading your blog and I’m so happy for you that this experience is off to a wonderful start. Enjoy becoming a member of your new family.

    • Ben August 23, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      Thanks – It’s been a joy living with my new fam. I went to my first Kenyan wedding and birthday party this weekend!

  4. John A August 21, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    Maybe you should think about a world tour of Bellevues? You could run it. That would be one way to get in shape to be able to beat your Dad in a 5k.

    By the way, I don’t really like QuickBooks. I think it is overly expensive and doesn’t provide the kind of flexibility needed by non-profits, particularly with payroll. Somebody ought to come up with something else.

    • Ben August 23, 2011 at 11:44 am #

      I’ll put the worldwide Bellevue tour on my bucket list for sure.

      Quickbooks is definitely too expensive and the the payroll feature is way too expensive. Also, you have to pay for a support package if you ever want to talk to a real person on the phone. The good thing about using Quickbooks at Maono is that we got it donated for free and there are only five volunteers who receive monthly stipends – few enough that handwriting checks isn’t a big deal – I just enter those stipends as a simple chart of accounts entry.

      I hope you’re upping your training a bit – when I come back I’ll be running like a Kenyan and I don’t want to embarrass you at the Raccoon Run next year.

  5. Jane Borowski August 28, 2011 at 4:20 am #

    It’s not everyday you get to attend a wedding in Kenya! Your new family is amazing…now you’ll know what it’s like to have kids around!! Awesome for you! Thanks for keeping us posted on your adventures.

    • Ben August 29, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      It’s been quite an adjustment living with kids around. I enjoy it very much – about 85% of the time! Hope all is well at GVC.

  6. Joan Aeschbach September 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    I look forward to your comments,Ben. It all sounds so interesting and a great experience. You didnt miss much at the African Safari In Port Clinton. I felt it was a cruelty to the animals.
    (Ama) Jo Aeschbach

    • Ben September 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

      Hi Ama Jo! I’m happy to hear you’ve been following my blog! The Kenyan experience has been tons of fun so far. I agree, there is definitely something morally questionable about the placement of African animals on Marblehead Peninsula. Here’s a deal – if you pay for your plane ticket to Kenya I’ll take you on a REAL safari for free! 😉

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