We faced several initial setbacks when first arriving in the community. These included major infrastructure issues; such as, no running water, no electricity, and construction shortfalls (ie. no window panes, paint etc.). Furthermore, the largest setback we faced was not having access to a lab facility within a reasonable distance from the kitchen. We traveled as far as Kisumu, Kakamega, and Bungoma in search of such facilities, unsuccessfully. It was at this point that we realized we would need to construct an on-site lab and train Muungano staff to culture the probiotic. We were initially unsure whether or not Muungano would be able to fund the lab, as it is not within WHE’s mandate to do so. When funding was secured through Louise Bourassa, we (with the help of a local hospital lab technician) researched lab equipment prices and contacted Chemoquip (a Kenyan lab supply company). Upon traveling to Nairobi we placed the order and supplies including; an incubator, pipettes, autoclave, beakers, etc. were delivered to the community within two weeks. Maggie and Lavender, two young teachers at Muungano were trained by Gillian in proper Lab protocol and technique. They were incredibly successful in their pursuits and pending maintaining proper supply levels, should be able to continue culturing the bacteria for the foreseeable future.
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