Sunday, January 30, 2011

Off the grid...

Hello to all! I have been off the grid for about 2 weeks since I lost my internet modem. I'm not sure how this is possible because it's not like I live in a mansion... but either way, the situation is rectified. I am in Kisumu for the weekend because one of the other volunteers had a birthday bash so I bought myself a new modem.
Coming to Kisumu is a special treat for me even though it is only 2 hours. I always end up spending too much money because the shopping here is great and the food is even better so that's where most of my money goes. So last night we went out dancing and now i'm hanging out on the roof of our hotel taking advantage of the free wi fi and waiting for the video of my house to upload so everyone can see where I live!! I know, it's so exciting!
So the last two weeks i've just been diving into teaching. I have 4 students and some days I really love them and some days... I really don't. Love em or not I can see that progress is being made so that is really what matters. I'm sure eventually we will all get used to each other but at the moment they are still testing the waters and pushing the limits (and my buttons).
Other than that things are pretty calm here but I guess I can take a minute to tell you about all the barnyard animals that live on the church compound with me. We have a few cows and one of them insists on eating right outside my window really early in the morning... it's a wonderful sound to hear as soon as you wake up. We also have geese which I don't mind. I think they are beautiful, kind of loud, but nice to look at. Before we just had one and it was white and just waddled around and minded its own business but now there's another one and it's gray and it hates me. It has chased me out of it's territory about 2 times. You'd think it wouldn't be scary since i'm bigger than this creature and could probably kick it to the moon, but i'm terrified to be honest.
Oh! In other news i'm getting indoor plumbing. I don't know when. There's not like a big sign at my site that says "RUNNING WATER COMING..." followed by a date. At the moment they are digging the borehole but it is still going to take quite a bit more work and quite a bit more money but i'll keep you posted. I'm so excited that I might one day be able to flush my toilet it blows my mind.
I think that's it in Cindy world. I'm adding a link at the bottom of the blog so you can see the video I took of my house. Enjoy! Thanks for reading as always!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

la la la la life goes on...

I'm running out of creative titles for my blog, don't worry, it won't stop me from blogging :-) Sorry.

So the days here are coming and going. This is the first real week of teaching, but we don't have any syllabi to use for planning and scheming so this week I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants just praying I have enough work to keep all my kids occupied all morning. I've developed a behavior chart that could be working better but basically if you have a smiley face above your name at the end of the day you get candy. 1 out of 4 kids got candy today. That's how my day went. They'll catch on... hopefully!

In other news i've done yoga 2 whole days in a row (I know... not really a streak, but gimme a break!) and I think it'll become a daily thing for me. Both days I walk back home and I'm so frustrated with either me or my kids or all of the above but yoga turned out to be a great stress reliever (go figure). I've also FINALLY started cooking for myself which is also making a world of difference. There's something nice about having complete control of what goes into your body... especially in a foreign (even though it's not so foreign to me anymore) country. ... with the exception of the chai and chipati that i'm required to have at tea time at school. If you refuse food here well.... you regret it, we'll just leave it at that.

So I guess i'll give a run down of my schedule since nothing earth shattering has happened since my last blog. I get up in the morning usually between 6:30 and 7:00 and take a bucket bath and usually have fruit for breakfast, grab my crap and head to school. I teach from 8:00- 12:35ish and then am done for the day since the little kids don't come back. .. and believe you me I need almost all that time to plan so i'm glad I have it. When I get back i've been doing yoga and planning a bit and then I decide what I want for dinner and walk to town and buy everything I need to make that happen. I come back and plan a little bit more then cook dinner and then spend the rest of the evening planning and scheming with a movie on in the background.

This is only the second night i've actually cooked. The first few nights I stuck to sandwiches out of laziness mostly. Last night I had spaghetti... the sauce came just short of being a total bomb but I ate it anyway. Live and learn. Tonight I had breakfast for dinner! I made a tomato egg white omelette and skillet potatoes with green pepper and onion. The best part is every single thing I ate at dinner was completely fresh. I feel a little bit limited because of the selection in our market... I seriously only found one woman today with peppers and some things I just can't get here... mango however, is not in that category. Sega is bursting with mangoes all the time. I don't know that i've ever actually had mango before Africa, but they taste great and i eat 1 pretty much everyday :-)

Anyway, hope all is going well in America, I hear some are getting hit by some pretty big snow. You're welcome to come here! It's 80 and sunny!

Also i'm planning on posting pictures or a video of my house but i'm waiting for my furniture (still).
Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ni Maisha

It’s life.
Long time, no blog, sorry about that.
So I reached my site in Sega safely and quite tired after the long trip. I’ve been here now for almost 3 weeks and think I have a better perspective on my home and my village so although you may disagree I think it was a good idea to hold off on a blog update until now.  Since this has worked for me in the past I’m going to break this blog up again in categories and hopefully I’ll touch on anything but as always if you have questions feel free to post them and I’ll get an answer to you!
The people
The people here are great. I live on a Catholic church compound so mostly I see the Priest and the guy training to be the next Priest and they are both super fun and really down to earth and they always speak English around me which I appreciate beyond belief.
I also live with 2 Germans. They are also volunteers and they live in the house right next to mine which cuts down my privacy but beefs up my security.  They also have a dog named Viper (it’s a girl… I know, go figure) but because of their accent it sounds like they call her Wiper which is now what all the Africans call her also. I’m the only one that pronounces her name properly. It just so happens this week the Germans are on vacation to I’ve started training this creature to not maul me when I walk in the garden gate… I’m doing surprisingly well for someone that’s never had a dog before.
There are 2 other teachers in my unit and they are both really nice and seem to want to teach me things and at the same time learn from me so I think it will be a good partnership… no complaints there. Because the primary school I’m in has 1,000 students there are also several other teac hers for the hearing students and they all also seem to be pretty nice and welcoming.
Lastly, I’ll throw this in here. Surprisingly … and awesomely a very good friend of mine was not able to go to her site because of an insect bite and she needs to be flown to her site since it’s practically in Ethiopia. She’s pretty much been chilling in Nairobi and then at other Volunteers houses and after my New Year’s celebration in Kisumu she was able to come to my site with me and visit! It was awesome to have her here and it definitely cut down on stress for the first few days of school.
Ok, not lastly. Since my students are people too I guess I’ll touch on that in this section. They are pretty great. I have one with a bit of a behavior problem  but I think I can get him in check. I also have another student who is about 15 ( all my other students are about 6) she was in a hearing school until Class 3 and then quit since no one could communicate with her but when the Deaf Unit here opened up she came! In all I think I’m going to end up with about 5 students that as of now all seem to be on different levels so it’s gonna be interesting.
The house
So I don’t want to say the people that filled out my form lied… but I’d say it was a gross exaggeration  of what my house actually looks like.  So my house is basically a big room. It already had a bed, dresser, coffee table, and 2 chairs which helped my wallet a lot. I bought a mattress that fits the bed and am having a kitchen table to cook on and 2 bookshelves made which should be done any day now.  I’ll be excited to get a table and get my gas cylinder filled so I can start cooking for myself. At the moment I’m eating in the main house with the Priest, Priest in training and the Germans, it’s fun and I’ll miss that interaction but I like choosing what I’m going to eat. Anyway, back to the house. My bathroom is just outside my house, I have a western toilet but I don’t have running water so I have to fill up the toilet tank with practically a whole bucket of water before it will flush. It won’t flush toilet paper… ever. As far as the general set-up there is basically the Germans house and my house enclosed with a brick wall so I walk out my door and about 12 steps to the left and I’m at the Germans back door. There is also a door in the brick wall that is mine, it’s how I get in and out of the garden/yard situation, it’s not ugly to look at unless Wiper drags trash outside which she is known to do.
Oh I almost forgot! While my friend was here we went shopping for fabric and basically carpeted my ceiling with 12 different fabrics and it turned out really awesome and definitely makes this home feel more like mine. I also made curtains.
Daily living
I’m not sure what to put in this section other than it rained last week and I put all my buckets out to collect water and was able to do all of my laundry and clean my floor and flush my toilet like 5 times. It was awesome and I was really proud of my creativity and resourcefulness.
The town
Sega is a pretty nice little town. Pretty much everything I need for daily survival I can get here. There’s a little “supermarket” in town and the owners love me because they have a daughter named Cindy. Instant friendship.
It takes me about 15 minutes to walk to town, but we don’t have a bank so I have to go to another town about 20 minutes away for that but it’s ok because that town has a really awesome market.
My feelings on the subject
So now that I’ve been here 3 weeks and I’ve started the first school term (kind of. Apparently this week is opening week which means we don’t do much and can’t do much because we don’t have a syllabus yet. I do have an English one… I don’t know if teachers in America have to make schemes of work but if you do, God bless you they are a giant pain) I feel  like this is just life for me. Now that training is over and I’m not constantly surrounded by other Volunteers I get up in the morning and do what I need to do that day just like all of you are doing in America… it feels less like Peace Corps and has become the norm for me which is kind of a nice feeling. However, I always feel more Peace Corps-ish when I pump and carry my water to my house or jump up and down at the site of rain so that I don’t have to pump and carry my water.
I think that’s all for me. I finally have internet at my site to hopefully I will be updating much much more!!!
Thanks for reading, again apologies for the tardiness of this update!!! Happy 2011!