Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Day in the life

I'm writing this blog in advance in hopes that it will be more informative and less scatter brained. Sorry in advance for any repeated information; i'm also keeping a personal journal and forget sometimes what i've put in it vs. my blog. Since I think this is going to be really long i'm going to divide it into categories that way you can pick and choose the stuff you're most interested in. Enjoy!
Daily Routine
I normally get up at 6 and pick out my clothes for the day. Usually by the time I get to the kitchen my sister has already heated the water for my bath so I retrieve a bucket and pour it in. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to take a bucket bath. If you're interested here's my process: Dunk whole head in, shampoo and condition hair, wash face, rinse hair, wash body and then lastly I wash my feet because they are always the dirtiest. I proceed getting ready as I would in America.
Before I leave for the day we have tea and Breakfast which so far has ranged from butter and jelly sandwiches to butter sandwiches to just plain bread and at the moment we are having honey sandwiches.
We have language all morning and then walk to town for lunch followed by a few hours of technical training. When I get home at night I try my best to help with dinner which is usually served around 8. By the end of dinner i'm struggling to stay awake so I normally turn in for the night around 9.
Home Stay
I live with an older couple whom I call Shu Shu and Omau which means Grandma and Grandpa here and their granddaughter who I refer to as my sister. There is a definite language and cultural barrier that's a constant struggle but day by day we make it work. We have electricity but not indoor plumbing. The bathroom here is outside, it's called a Choo, there are several different types but basically its a hole in the ground or a toilet-like situation that leads to, you guessed it, a hole in the ground. :-)
My room is a nice size. I have a bedside table and then another table to keep my clothing on. My bed is twin size with a very fancy mosquito net. At first I loved the net, I felt like a princess... now it's just turned out to be a gigantic pain in the butt more times than not.
A special thanks to KatieBug and LizBit for the artwork they sent me with, it makes my room beautiful!!!
The Deaf Side
It's probably just the area i'm in but deafness just seems more prevalent here. Pretty much all the Deaf kids here go to Deaf schools and this year they're pushing to do the national testing in KSL for the first time which is awesome, I look forward to seeing it happen. The structure of KSL is very similar to ASL bu the signs are very different so that makes it somewhat challenging.
Interpreting is kind of in the baby stages as a profession so there are lots of little things that need to be tweaked so they have a more cohesive idea of qualifications and expectations for the profession. For now I just sit back and observe the differences.
Obviously  I can't speak to what goes on in hearing schools but the Deaf schools i've been in in Kenya are so different from America. Roughly the schedule is as follows: 8-11 Classes 11-11:30 tea break, 11:30- 12:30 classes 12:30-2 lunch and then 2-3 classes.
When a teacher walks in the room all the students stand which blew my mind the first few times. In general, the kids here are super respectful especially towards Teachers.
While in Kilifi we stayed on the school compound and when the kids saw us coming, they come running so they could carry our bags for us to the teacher's room... adorable.
The money here is Kenyan Shillings /= The exchange rate is about 78/= to 1 USD. I've stopped converting in my head since I get paid in /= that's how my brain works now. To give you and idea, here is a price list:
Blow pop 10/=
Mini jar of PB 108/=
Chipati  60/=
a letter to the U.S. 98 /=
Adopting a Kenyan accent
It's the only way they can understand what i'm saying. I sound ridiculous.
The other trainees
Even though our group is small i'm lucky to have ended up with some pretty cool people. Since digestion is a full time job here our #1 topic of conversation is pooping. Not sure I could tell you what everyone's major in college was but I can probably tell you the consistency and frequency of their bowel movements fairly accurately. We'll be with the other 26 of our group next week for 2 days and we're all really looking forward to that. in the meantime, i've made some wonderful friends here.
Food and water
Maybe this is something people are interested in... i'm not sure. Most of our food comes from the market, the local farmers grow it and sell it, fruits and veggies that is. Everything else can be found in the supermarket. Most things are made so they don't need to be refrigerated such as butter and jelly. The main snack foods are chips and "cookies" which includes actual cookies, tea biscuits, digestive biscuits, etc.
I drink more tea than the Queen of England.
I purify my own water seperate from my family. Basically I put water in a bucket, pour in the magic powder and stir it till all the gunk settles on the bottome, then I filter it into a larger can with a lid and it's just that simple. It tastes disgusting but beggars can't be choosers so I hold my nose. :-)
Things i'm glad I brought
Laundry line
Intuition razors
Soccer world cup blanket Christie gave me when she was still in Germany
Pictures of all you beautiful people
Comforts of home
Things I miss:
Mom- that's a given. I was spoiled rotten.
Friends- obviously
walking into the kitchen and eating whatever I want whenever I want it
making dinner in less than 2 hours
It's amazing how much this place feels like home after being gone for a week. For the most part I feel safe here. I try to be friendly to the people that live between my house and town so they look out for me, yes it really works that way. I think the locals have warmed up to the daily invasion of white people so I think we all feel welcome at this point.
Hight five if you read all of that!! Overall, it's going well, i'm happy and healthy. Thanks to everyone who has been commenting on my blogs, it always makes my day to know people are reading!!!!
Thanks to Mom, Aunt Janice, Kels and the Grandparents for the mail i've received so far! It's a big thrill here for sure!
Love to all from Kenya!!!


  1. I stopped in and saw your momma yesterday at work! We had a great talk and she gave me some more in depth details of your trip so far! All I can think of when she said you climbed a mountain to get to the restaurant on the water was Sex and the City 2 with them riding camels... love you and miss you girl!

  2. Wow. Very interesting to look into your life for a few paragraphs. "God Bless America!" is all I can say to your daily routine. :)

  3. Hi Cindy,
    Love the part about the accent! Thatis too funny. Sounds like life is good in Kenya. I told your Mom that she and I have to live vicariously through our daughters now! School is the same as ever. Sue and I are now only contracting through DILA for after hours jobs. No one has been interviewed yet since the job was never posted, wow, what a surprise! NOT! Anyway you haave more to do and think about thean care what is happening at WCBOE I am sure. Take care and keep those updates comin'! Marne

  4. You are amazing Cindy! Miss you/love you! Sounds like it is going well! :) -Amy