Friday, November 18, 2011

Just another day in paradise

Hello all!
So I've decided to try and avoid getting so back logged on my blog... blog-logged if you will. I'm going to jot down things I'd like to include in it, add to it through the week and try to post on Fridays.
This way I don't forget about all the smalls things that I don't mention once I wait a month to update everyone! It's a win win and I'm going to give it my best effort!

Cindy Cow
This giant pregnant cow has been grazing all over the church compound for several months, she literally would take up my entire house if I could fit her through the door.... or my window, once she tried to eat my curtain through the window.
Last week she gave birth to two beautiful calves (which will eventually grow older and be ugly normal cows, but for now they're REALLY cute), one boy and one girl. I have been informed that the female has been named Cindy. I now refer to her as Cindy cow so people don't think I'm referring to myself in the third person when I talk about how much weight she's gained.
I had the pleasure of meeting her about 16 hours after birth, that's right, she still had birth gunk on her rump!
I'm her namesake indeed. She is extremely stubborn and loves to eat.... she got a hold of my skirt, which I'm glad to say survived.
Since then, I have spotted the man that cares for the livestock have to physically pick up Cindy cow and move her to where he wants her to go because she simply won't go somewhere just because someone smacks her rear and yells a little. When I see this man struggle to carry this calf, first I smile, because it's just delightful, then I think, I wonder how much longer he's gonna be able to carry that cow. Finally, I wonder, how does he still have all his clothes? I met her for ten minutes and if she'd had her way I'd a left that place naked.

Word Seepage
Although I will be the first to tell you.... scratch that the first to tell you would be my Kiswhaili tutor, I'd be the second to tell you I am not fluent in Kiswahili, or the local language here. Even though I am not fluent doesn't mean that some things don't just seep into my normal conversations anyway. When I write emails or talk to people from home I analyze almost every sentence before it comes out to make sure it doesn't contain Swahili or some other interesting lanugage mannerism i've picked up since being here. These things most often include the word “pole” which means sorry and truly covers the whole spectrum of things from tripping on a rock to the death of a loved one or spilling your milk. It's a great word and eliminates any feelings of awkwardness or inferiority when faced with a situation where you just don't know what to say because you can't relate.
Another thing, I hadn't even picked up on until one of our new trainees realized it is ending almost every sentence or question with “yea?” When he said this we happened to be eating breakfast and quite honestly I kind of blew him off and thought, “i've never heard myself do that.”
…. fast forward about 8 seconds.... I turn to a fellow volunteer, “So it was just the math science people that met for that yea?”
As soon as the word flopped out of my mouth everyone realized how often we say it without even realizing. My current theory is that we are misunderstood so many times that we want to check for understanding or at least make sure a person realizes a question has been posed. Since then I've realized sometimes I give them both options, I'll pose a question and end with “yea or no?”
This is a very limited list of the words that have “slowly by slowly” oozed into my normal speaking patterns and I know I won't even pick up on most of it until I'm back in America saying things like “even me!” or “I'll just pick it later.”

Future Careers
Due to the way our school schedule is set up it allows me quite a bit of free time which I suppose is a blessing and a curse. Based on things I do in my free time and things I do during my school day I believe I would be able to move very laterally and smoothly into the following careers, mind you these are in no special order:
Movie critic
Food critic
Some type of warden at the loony bin
Some type of resident at the loony bin
Corrections officer
Body double
Secret Agent
Designer of skirts that never come higher than two inches below the knee

Dead body day
Okay, maybe not the most diplomatic way to word that, but I found it the most entertaining. Living in a big town has its perks... as i've already mentioned, cereal, and also we have a mortuary. Now I haven't been to a Luo funeral as of yet but I know that they are quite an affair and I know when they come pick the bodies. Friday. The day that normal marks my weekend and puts a smile on my face because I have time to clean and cook good food... on my way home from grabbing groceries or sometime during the school day or even when I'm just at home I can hear them coming. Usually it is one or two vehicles full of the men and women that cared about the deceased blaring music, singing, and beating tamborines to no specific rhythm. They back their truck up into the mortuary (We have a sign coming into to town boasting “Sega Mortuary with freezer”) and retrieve the body. During the process, onlookers crowd the street to watch the transfer until it's complete or until they grow bored and go home. The truck with its singers and professional tambourinists then leaves and carries the body to it's eternal resting place.... actually I think it makes several stops first.

Character Synopsis
I realized I've been here a year and very rarely mentioned the people that play a daily role in my life here. Therefore, I've decided to include a character synopsis each week.
Juma is the cook on our church compound... the cook and so much more. I don't know his job title but he does pretty much everything. He is also more than willing to help me with anything that I need or answer any questions that I have. Also, he brings food to Viper every night. This man is always smiling and always in a good mood and making jokes. I am more than appreciative to have him here because he's the last person I see in my day and he is just so friendly and can usually say something ridiculous enough to make me laugh. He also finds the saga of Cindy vs. goose extremely entertaining. I'm not sure if this story has been told but in the first few months I was here, this is an exact conversation I had with him:
“Juma, that goose is evil and it hates me. I named it Satan.”
“The goose? It doesn't like you?”
“No, it chases me. I think you should kill it and feed it to the priest for dinner.”
“I can't kill it. It's here for security.”
“I thought that's what we had all the dogs for..”
“Yes, but the goose is meaner than any of the dogs.”

Enjoy your weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!

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