There’s no lockdown as such but there is a curfew. Schools and churches are closed and you have to wear a facemask. The majority of people go about their daily life, most depend on informal employment and just have to work.

I arrived in 2013 to volunteer for twelve months and I’ve been here for seven years now. I’m with So They Can with the aim of empowering local women. I work with 85 vulnerable ladies in town and out in rural communities.

I try to find them work and income through sewing, beadwork and weaving. They have the talent and know how to make beautiful things, my job is to translate that into what will sell. I run the business side and I’m the liaison between Kenya and Australasia. We’re fully immersed at the moment in making re-usable facemasks, we’ve made 4000 and they’re given away locally to the needy.

My last job in New Zealand was in retail working as an interior design consultant. My Dad is still in Lower Hutt and my brother and his family are in Auckland. Dad had his concerns about me staying but he visited last year so he knows where I am and that I’m localised and savvy enough to look after myself. I call him every second day.

The testing is really limited and is mainly in Nairobi and Mombasa. There’s a huge stigma around Covid, it’s almost like a crime to have it, also people just can’t afford to isolate.  On a day to day basis we’re facing challenges that people in the west can’t even think about. Then I see that you’re coming out of it in NZ and we really haven’t even started here. The unknown of how long it will take is difficult.

******

The website for Amie’s work is here.

So They Can are here.

********************************************************************************************************************

Image supplied by interviewees

This interview and the others in the series are an extension of my new book “This Is Us” that will be published by Exisle and released on the 1st of June 2020. These interviews are slightly different from the ones in the book as they focus on New Zealanders living abroad in this time of isolation. If you can think of suitable interview subjects please let me know via pete@petecarter.nz .

Exisle have now released This Is Us as an e-book you can buy it here.

This Is Us – please follow us on Facebook:

And/or on Instagram

Pete Carter is the author of This is Us. Due out in June 2020 it will be published by Exisle and tells the story of more than 200 New Zealanders in words and pictures. The book is really a portrait of the nation and how it is made up. Pete wrote Our Dog Benji a children’s book illustrated by his nephew, published by EK in 2017. He is also the author of two books of poetry. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold work to and been commissioned by corporate clients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *