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No business like Show business

semi-overcast 26 °C

Endless heavy Luo beats at incredible decibels all night (unless the power goes out), numerous tented pavillions, important dignitaries, marching bands, double-jointed entertainers, curious visitors, pick-pockets...
It's the week REAP has been gearing up to for months. The annual Kisumu agriculture show crashed upon us this week starting with judging on Tuesday. All the REAP staff and workers called it 'Judgement Day' which gave it a very ominous and slightly fearful ring. I did find the prospect frightening and panic me slightly because of how last minute a lot of things became. Painting of the REAP stand was still being done on the morning of the judging as was putting up displays inside the REAP building, all quite intense for me, especially as judging could take place from 9am onwards.
REAP tatoos

REAP tatoos

One of the weird sights you see at the show

One of the weird sights you see at the show

Another of the weird sights you see at the show- this is a man dressed up as a woman with defined African hips

Another of the weird sights you see at the show- this is a man dressed up as a woman with defined African hips

George shows a visitor around the REAP stand

George shows a visitor around the REAP stand

Three big mamas (2 of them were happy with this description, one wasn't)

Three big mamas (2 of them were happy with this description, one wasn't)

Harry's windmill

Harry's windmill


However, I didn't need to worry as the REAP stand looked great (by 12...), completely relaxed and ready for the 3 rounds of judging for the 3 categories REAP had entered. REAP had won all 3 categories last year, so there was a certain pressure to do just as well this time round, though it seems REAP did more than enough to retain all 3 trophies - 1st place in Environmental Management, 1st place in small trade stand, 1st place in non-governmental organisation stand. In the latter category, I heard we were the sole entrant, however, so I don't know if there is much glory in winning that one...
Dancing and celebrating around REAPs trophies

Dancing and celebrating around REAPs trophies

REAP's Big proud Mamas

REAP's Big proud Mamas

Big mama Dom and small Em share the winning glow

Big mama Dom and small Em share the winning glow

Mama Dom and Margaret happy with REAP's winning efforts

Mama Dom and Margaret happy with REAP's winning efforts

Mama Ann and Rosalia show off more of REAP's trophies

Mama Ann and Rosalia show off more of REAP's trophies

Rosalia looks fondly at her namesake goat having won first place as a dairy goat

Rosalia looks fondly at her namesake goat having won first place as a dairy goat

George, Frieda, Pamela and Monica pose

George, Frieda, Pamela and Monica pose

Mama Dom finds the excitement underwhelming

Mama Dom finds the excitement underwhelming


The judges were very impressed, one of them saying things such as there being too much knowledge for him to take in. He kept shaking his shiny black head and laughing, showing his bright white teeth whenever he was shown a new thing. I'm sure the other judge (Father Alfred with thick glasses which kept falling down his nose) was swung to vote for REAP by my kilt as he had visited Scotland in 2006 (Penicuik no less) and enjoyed it immensely.
Kilted barbarian welcomes you to REAP show

Kilted barbarian welcomes you to REAP show


Incidentally, most people here have never seen a man wearing a kilt here, most shouts directed at me were 'why are you wearing a skirt?' Whole crowds of heads turned my way when I walked by (including a whole marching band). I guess a stranger sight than just a white person in Kenya is a long-haired white man wearing a skirt.
Emma has found it a long day sitting in the heat and noise at her little school resources stand, although she has been encouraged by the responses from some visitors who are impressed by Em's creativity and ingenuity, saying things such as they now have ideas to make toys and resources for their pupils or children. A checkers game made from bottle tops has especially been a hit among the REAP staff playing it during the quieter times.
Em's colourful school resources made out of locally available and recycled materials

Em's colourful school resources made out of locally available and recycled materials

Matt and Em enthusiastically promote the stand

Matt and Em enthusiastically promote the stand

Em shows a prison warden her ideas

Em shows a prison warden her ideas

Mama Em relaxes in her colourful school resources stall

Mama Em relaxes in her colourful school resources stall

Facepaint girl tries out Em's tin stilts

Facepaint girl tries out Em's tin stilts


On Wednesday, we collected our trophies from the main pavilion as well as a certificate of participation for REAP. Strangely, the certificate we received was incorrectly written- Rural Extension for Africa's Poor had somehow become Rural Africa with Peoples Poor, which doesn't even make any sense. I received the certificate from the MP for Kisumu who had recognised me as a Scotsman for wearing my kilt the day before, I even had a mention in his speech to the assembled crowd!
Me (the white one), Sam and George displaying 1 of the REAP (Rural Africas with Peoples Poor - obviously) trophies

Me (the white one), Sam and George displaying 1 of the REAP (Rural Africas with Peoples Poor - obviously) trophies

Big fish at show with the big-wig MP for Kisumu asking to eat it

Big fish at show with the big-wig MP for Kisumu asking to eat it


President Kibaki is supposed to be coming on Saturday, so I will wear my kilt again during the day and see if I get any more special mentions.

Posted by africraigs 22:35 Archived in Kenya

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