BIG: Open House, The Official Opening of the Greenhouse and Course

To make the course official and to promote greenhouse farming, we organised an open
house. Mr. Achuti invited local farmers and we invited University staff members. A total
number of 31 people showed up, the majority were farmers. The program of the de
day consisted of opening with tea and mandazi’s, a presentation on the content of the
course, giving a tour at the greenhouse, and discussing practicalities concerning the
course. The day was closed with a lunch.

The preparations started the week before. We arranged the venue, Simone designed invitations and a brochure and the presentation was made. On the day of the event, we woke up early to finish our remaining tasks. We decorated the greenhouse and classroom with balloons and installed the beamer. Simone and Floortje practiced their presentation once more and then it was show time!

Dr. Andika opened the day in prayer, followed by the farmers introducing themselves. When it was our turn to introduce ourselves, Dr. Andika joked about giving us a Luo (the local language) name, so we would now officially be Luo people. The farmers gave their suggestion with laughter and enthusiasm. On this happy note, Simone and Floortje started the presentation. They talked about the reason of our visit, the necessity of greenhouse farming and the content of the course. Also, they pitched the BIG foundation and showed the after movie of the construction of the greenhouse. The farmers who helped with the construction were delighted to see their work on video. The presentation was followed by a big applause and many questions from the farmers. Clearly they had paid attention and they asked some rather difficult questions. When the farmers were finally satisfied with our answers, Mr. Achuti stepped in to discuss the practical details of the course.

Naturally, a visit to the greenhouse was a main feature of the open house. The whole group was led to the decorated greenhouse where we discussed some design features of the greenhouse. Achuti explained more on the different modules of the course and again, the farmers asked many questions. At 1:30 p.m. a lunch, rice & beans and a soda, was prepared at the cafeteria for all the attendants. We ate together, shared ideas and exchanged contact information. All the farmers left with a smile on their faces. The maximum of 22 participants for the course pilot was reached. There were even several farmers on the waiting list. Overall, this day was a great success!