Monday, February 28, 2011

A thief, a fever, and a breakdown

It's been just over a week since I last posted but boy oh boy do I have updates!
Last weekend I was in Kisumu celebrating a friend's birthday and unfortunately someone broke into our hotel room and stole all our stuff... well all our valuable stuff, they were nice enough to leave my underwear and such. There were three of us in the room that all lost laptops, hard drives and cameras among other things including money, a watch, a video camera, ipods, and a back pack. The hotel owner was not helpful nor were the police but we all saw that coming and kept really great attitudes about it.
Coming into the week I had a cold that I thought was finally starting to dissipate, but on Thursday I got hit with a 103 fever and was barely able to peel myself out of bed for the next few days. By Saturday afternoon I felt well enough to pump and carry a bucket of water I decided so I got dressed and headed out to find... there is no water. I calmly went back to my house where I proceeded to break down and freak out that I couldn't bathe, eat, drink, or flush my toilet. I called Peace Corps Medical who told me to pack my things and come to Nairobi. After an 8 hour bus ride I arrived yesterday afternoon. Not sure how long i'll be here... until the water situation gets cleared up and then i'll be headed back, but it looks like i'll have enough time to look for a new lap top which is a plus.
Beyond that, not much else is going on, i'm hoping I can just sit back and relax for a few days and shake off the stress of this week. Our first term will be over in April and i'm really looking forward to the break and being able to see the other volunteers!
Hope all is well at home and that things are starting to warm up a bit!
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We're all in this together

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that think Kenya is a whole nother world. I thought that before I came here, but quite honestly it's the exact same if you break it down. Everyone, no matter who you are, what color you are or what you do for a living is just trying to survive. That statement makes life seem difficult and I recognize that it isn't always that way but everyone goes through times where your main objective is just survival.. "let me just get through this..." Kenya is just like America, the parents just want their children to have what they didn't have. We're all just living, one day at a time. Although everyone on every continent does it differently it doesn't make anyone's way wrong.... makes some people's way more exhausting, that I'll admit. I was at school the other day while the kids were on break and I closed my eyes for a few seconds. The sounds of kids on the playground is international, sure some of them kick around nice fancy soccer balls and other kids play with balled up plastic bags but they just hang around and be kids and have a good time.
That’s my insight.
Moving on… I know I haven’t updated in a while, blame it on my internet and then blame it on me for not having enough credit on my stupid stupid modem. Anyway, this week I started loads of new projects, I’m teaching a computer literacy class for teachers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and a KSL for teachers class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I’m excited and apprehensive about both but hopefully they will get some good information that they’ll be able to use even after I’m gone. Otherwise, my students are getting better, little by little they’re understanding my teaching style  but I’m going to assume the entire first time is just going to be a struggle, but we're halfway through.
Celebrated another holiday in Kenya… Valentine’s day! I went to the market to buy all my food for the week from the pineapple lady… she finally had green peppers and I spent like 200 shillings stocking up with fruits and veggies and then she gave me a free banana!!! I bought a candy bar at the little supermarket that was probably not worth 40 shillings but it made it feel a bit more like Valentine’s day. I also had my kids decorate hearts and hung them in my classroom even though Kenyans don’t celebrate the holiday as enthusiastically as Americans do. I did some yoga, took a bath made dinner and watched Valentine’s Day the movie, all in all I can’t complain.
The gray goose still hates me and I am still terrified of it. Today it was near the water pump and I was so scared it was going to come after me. I talked to the cook about it and told him it was evil, he told me it was good security because if people come on the compound at night it squawks… I told him I thought this is what the dogs were for… he told me the goose was more effective! This means that yes! This goose is more vicious than a DOG! It’s the devil, I’m convinced.
The Germans and I have been running together fairly religiously and I have a bet going with one of them that if I work hard enough will get me a free dinner! Mwahahaha. It finally feels normal living right on top of each other, it’s kind of like living next door to family at this point. I have a new German name… it’s Heidi. I also have an African name… it’s Nyasega Achieng, imagine the number of names I now respond to. It’s hilarious fun!
So i wrote this blog earlier in the week and am now editing this part in:
My Peace Corps supervisor came this week for my site evaluation. Unfortunately he arrived to late to see me teach so that evaluation remains blank. My school supervisor was out of town... kind of on purpose because apparently the two of them have had words. My house definitely passed inspection... he was surprised and amazed at how clean it was. Anyway, it was fairly uneventful and I survived!
Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day! Thanks for reading and thanks if you’re still sending mail!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pineapple woman friend or foe?

Whoa, two updates in one week! Unbelievable, I know.
So several weeks ago when I moved here I could only find one woman in town that sold pineapples and she was hell bent on over charging me. I refused to pay 120 shillings for a pineapple but I continued to go back and eventually got her down to the same price she charges the cook in the main house, 90 shillings. Since then I have started buying all my vegetables from her. I see her almost everyday. I don’t get the feeling that she loves me to pieces (but she will eventually… give it time) but I also don’t get the feeling that she hates me, so it’s a good situation so I’d say we went from foe to friend.
I finally feel like I’m starting to fall into a schedule which is nice. I’ve started going back to the school after lunch to tutor one of the teachers in Kenyan Sign Language. I am really glad that he has the interest in it, but I’m kind of a crappy tutor because I’m still not sure of what his main objective is, but I’m working on it. Tomorrow he is coming to my class in the morning to present the alphabet which will hopefully be really exciting. Every morning I have each of my students go the front of the room and recite the alphabet and also count as high as they can and then I write their name next to the number so they can see how they improve. They can all sign the alphabet, but only one of them can sign it without having it right in front of them which is frustrating since we do this EVERYDAY. I’m hoping though that they will be encouraged by another teacher coming to sign the alphabet.
I also found out there is a chance there will be another PCV coming to Sega. I talked to his supervisor today and it sounds like they’re having a hard time having housing. If they find it though, we will be 4 mzungus in Sega. It’ll be interesting. Balances out the Germany to America balance but throws the male to female ratio even more out of balance. On the bright side, the Germans and I have really started to get along. I went running with one of them today for the first time. I’ve never been one for running with other people because I always feel like I’m holding them up, but since I’ve never run here I didn’t want to go alone. He was super patient with me and pretty encouraging which was nice.  We seriously ran to what felt like the end of the earth. It was nice to finally get to run though. They’re talking about going again tomorrow. As long as they’re willing to deal with my slow pace I’m in.
I think the biggest challenge about being here is food. My cooking skills were somewhat limited in America but here, whoo. Yea. Every week or so I’m able to add one more dish to my menu… I’m at about 5 different things. I like them all but I know I’ll get sick of them eventually. I also eat a wider variety here than I did in America for the most part. Since being here I’ve started eating pineapples, tomatoes, oatmeal, bananas and I’m sure a variety of other things. Interesting how the body and brain just adapt. It’s like a switch flipped when I got here.
That’s all for the updates. Tomorrow should be jam packed. I’m supposed to visit a fellow teacher’s house and hopefully make it back in time for the girl’s soccer game and then possibly another run with the Germans.
As always, thanks for reading!
p.s.- Kenyans have no concept of heat so today I burnt not only my tongue but i'm pretty sure my esophagus and several other internal organs thanks to boiling hot tea.