“And now for the serious part.”

That is what Stefan said to me this morning while we were driving to work. He was, of course, referring to my first day as an intern at the GIZ project “Transition to Green Economy in Africa”.

Our office is located on the fourth floor of a mall. That poses a minor problem. You see, Nairobi is at an altitude of nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. If you’re not used to that, any kind of physical activity is at least twice as hard, and that includes climbing four floors of stairs. As a friend of mine put it: “When you come back, you’re gonna be able to run a marathon like it was nothing.” I have my doubts about that. But I am digressing.

View from my office
View from my office

As it turns out, I am not the only new addition to the office. Stacey and Cindy are starting today as well. They both studied really interesting subjects pertaining to climate change and environmental issues, and I feel like I am the only one who probably has no idea what they’re getting themselves into.

Everyone is supernice, and everyone but me and Stefan is Kenyan. Cathy, the office manager, welcomes me with a nice warm “Karibu!”. Women at the office outnumber men 6:2. That is almost Germany v. Brazil numbers! Take that, patriarchy!

I am sharing an office with Stacey. We chat a little and she asks me if my nose piercing hurt. “Not at all! Are you planning on getting one?” “Oh no, I got one in my ear, that was enough.”

Before she started working with GIZ, Stacey was a teacher at a local university. She is interested in learning a little German, so we decide to teach each other a little bit about our languages. I really appreciate her encouraging my Swahili ambitions.

My lovely colleagues, Cindy and Stacey
My lovely colleagues, Cindy and Stacey

I take my lunch break with Stacey and Cindy. Turns out Cindy is a blogger as well! Check out her blog if you want to know more about Kenyan environmentalism and get an insight into the mind of a witty nature lover.

After lunch, the office tea lady serves a nice hot Kenyan specialty, a sweet white tea with milk, ginger and sugar. I sit back in my comfortable leather chair, thinking: This is going to be a great three months.

My work for the day is all about getting informed. Ruth (yes, same name), who is our link to the Kenyan ministry, is giving us an introduction into the project and the policy structures surrounding it. “If you understood 10 percent of what she told you, you are very good”, Stefan describes the complexity of the subject.

Indeed, when we drive home from the office, my head is spinning a little with all the INDCs, COP21s, NCCAPs and UNFCCCs. But I love the prospect of working on this project, and I am looking forward to every step on the way.

This is where the working happens
This is where the working happens

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