Today I visited Moi University with David, about a two hour drive from Maseno in the city of Eldoret. Along the way there was a factory tour, a great talk with Moi’s Vice Chancellor, and a somewhat indulgent visit to one of Kenya’s very few cheese factories!
The road out was actually quite good; we expect it has to do with the upcoming elections, and speculate as to their quality in a year’s time. The road work out here tends to be relatively quick and shallow, which means that they deteriorate quickly. We did hit a couple patched of massive potholes today, but for the most part it was smooth sailing.
On arriving at Moi, we were given an (entirely unexpected!) factory tour of Rivatex, a textile factory that Moi acquired about five years ago. On acquisition, it was in terrible shape, completely abandoned, but now it’s up and running again. It’s fairly well vertically integrated; they spin cotton into thread, turn the thread into cloth, and then print the cloth with some big silk-screening machines. Most of the printed cloth is then sent off to other factories, though they have a few dozen tailors making things on site as well. (Not enough to fashion all of the hundreds of square meters of fabric they produce every day!) They have a mix of (kind of beautiful) old weaving machines from the mid seventies and some newer computerized versions of the same.
After that, we went to meet the Vice Chancellor, who was a pleasure to talk to. Moi is in the process of splitting into two universities, and there’s an opportunity to create an entirely new, dynamic faculty of science, ready to work with industry and directly address problems in-country. The VC wants this kind of dynamixc environment, and we would love to see the effort succeed. All good things!
After the meeting with the VC, we dropped by a Dutch cheese shop called Dorino Lessos in Eldoret and bought a great big pile of what are probably the best cheeses one can find in Kenya. Including a four-kilo round of harder gouda, a quarter-kilo of blue, a kilo of ghee(!), and some yoghurt. All for something like $40. Yum!