After graduating from the University of Nairobi with a degree in agriculture crop protection, Ivy Gathoni was eager to grow her career! Read on to learn about her CAEP experience.
“I am training at Bergen’s Greenhouse in Detroit lakes, Minnesota where we process potted plants, major holiday crops, blooming plants, foliage plants, hardy mums, annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, and hanging baskets.
I came on the CAEP program because I wanted to learn more about the technology used here as compared to the technology in my home country, Kenya. I wanted to increase my communication skills, and I know I would gain this by working with people from different backgrounds, and also different working styles. I also desired to gain more exposure, skills, and ideas in the field of agriculture!
I am living with other CAEP students in a house provided by the host. At first, it was not easy for me to adapt to everything such as the food, but with time I got used to it, and now I am starting to think American food is the best!
The owner of the company is called Chris Bergen. The company has 75 employees of which several are CAEP trainees.
My first holiday in the USA was Christmas and the holiday was fun. We went to watch the holiday train where we danced to Christmas songs, had food, drinks and had the chance to get to know each other well. I celebrated the holiday with the other employees of the company and other CAEP students who I live together with in Minnesota. Over the holiday, we also had the opportunity to go skiing. This was my first time seeing snow all over! In Kenya, we only have snow on the mountain tops.
I think so far I have enjoyed living with people from different countries. I have come to realize that the world is such a big place. Whatever you may think might be okay to you but may not seem to be to the other person. We need to appreciate everybody’s culture. I enjoyed sharing music from my country and the songs we sing on different occasions like birthdays and wedding songs. I also experienced that pointing at people using a finger is not polite or taboo in America; this is the most common way used when referring to someone or something in Kenya.
I have personally benefited from the program because I have been able to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and also gain ideas and knowledge in agriculture. I am looking forward to more networking and other opportunities, so when I go back home after completion of my program, I will be able to apply the knowledge and skills obtained.
CAEP is a platform where you get to identify your strengths and weaknesses in the field of agriculture and work at them. During this window of time, you get to learn about new developments in the field of agriculture and take advantage of them. Also, CAEP provides an opportunity to network which helps one progress in his or her career.”