Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So on more than one occasion I've come home to kids waiting at my doorstep. What's peculiar is the fact that every time this happens, the number grows by one, and even more peculiar is the fact that every time they show up, it's always about to rain.
Today I came home exhausted, and as had been the case before, there were children at my doorstep. Being in no mood to entertain children (or anyone else for that matter), I greeted them in their native Luo and told them they should get home before it started raining. They just looked at me as if I were crazy. So I bid them farewell, told them to greet their mothers for me and headed inside. Ten minutes later, it started pouring rain! So I went outside to check and see if they were still there, and surely enough they were! (Dang!) I invited them in (although I was tempted not to) because had I not, my conscience would have eaten me alive.
So anyway, I start making small talk with them in Luo and to my surprise, they could actually understand me and I, in turn, could understand most of what they were saying. They found it both confusing and amusing that I could speak Luo but not Swahili (since Swahili is the national language and I clearly look like and must be a Kenyan).
In any case, they say when it comes to language, children are great teachers. I found a lot of truth in that today.
And despite my reluctance to entertain my spectators, it wasn't so bad. I don't know if I want to come home every day to a doorstep full of waiting children, but for today, not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nairobi has "citified" me with running water and flushing toilets. I don't remember being this afraid of the choo. This morning as I ventured into the abyss that is my choo, I recalled the 23rd Psalm: "...though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me..." I found myself reciting this to God. I felt like I needed protection either from the lizard on the side of the wall that wouldn't take its eyes off me or from the little frogs that hide in the hinges of the door, or from anything else lurking down that dark, deep hole waiting to pounce. Needless to say, I did make it out alive.

9:30 p.m.
Another grueling day, speaking in terms of public transportation. A trip that was supposed to take no more that 30 minutes ended up taking two hours because the matatu* driver had to wait until he was 100 percent over the passenger capacity of his vehicle. For those of you who enjoy the luxury of owning your own car, let me explain transportation in Kenya for you: First, there are no set times for pick up or drop off, you just show up at a matatu stage and hope for the best (chances are you are bound to find a couple of vehicles headed in your direction). Secondly, a trip that should take 30 minutes could end up taking you 2 hours, as our time is sacrificed to the waiting matatu driver and the tout. If you ever decided to take a matatu in Kenya, just be sure that you know you are at the mercy of the driver and tout so I wouldn't draw any time limits. In the event that you actually need to get somewhere on time, my advice is to leave a couple of hours ahead of time (depending on how far it is, I would say add at least an hour to the actual time it's supposed to take you to get to where ever you are going).

For me, public transportation has proven to be one of the most frustrating adjustments I've had to make. I would suggest a dash of humor and mounds of patience to get through the typical day in the life of a matatu passenger...something I hope I'm developing more of...God knows I need it!

*Primary mode of transportation. Typically a 12-passenger van, although, I've never seen a matatu with 12 passengers. The average number of passengers at any given time would be somewhere along the lines of 20

Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing to the sounds of Matt Nathanson...just came back from in service training, it feels like I'm being detached all over again, like the first time we said our goodbyes. It's taking a bit of readjustment to get resettled again. Came home to a house with no stema, discovered some more lizards in my house (oh how I hate lizards) and got stung by a wasp in my choo. Now the bushes behind it are starting to look more and more welcoming. Tough start to my week, today I feel alone but I know I'm not.

So much has transpired, I dont know where to begin. It's September, I'm going to miss the Fall, I'm going to miss Halloween. Nairobi weather actually felt like Fall. I'm not sure if that made me more home sick or if it eased my home sickness.

I'm back in Uranga today, Fall does not exist here. Just heat and rain. I remember liking it but today I miss Fall too much to appreciate this heat. I sent my Mom pictures for the first time, I've been having trouble loading pictures on my modem but I finally got some through in Nairobi. I wish I'd uploaded more.

So this week I'm taking a chill pill and organizing all the information I got from training.

Finally Here Again

I met a group of PLWAs today, I felt connected...like this is what I'm here for. I'm excited about working with this demographic.

10:15 p.m. : listening to acoustic John Mayer, reminiscing. I want to cry...feels like I'm back home tonight. If I close my eyes, I'm up in my room, lying on my bed, eyes wide open and dreaming. "Why did you mess with forever?", he says.

11:00 p.m. : I looked at my life, and all that it is made of. I reviewed all the memories created and all the people I've loved, and they in return, have loved me too...and it was good. God has blessed me (I write to the sound of John Butler Trio's Ocean)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It Begins

So I packed up what was left and drove to Chester with the rest of my life stuffed in my little Jetta. Poor thing, even I could feel the strain of what she may have thought to be cruel and unusual punishment. I'd already taken 3, 4, 5 loads of clothes down and on this last day I'd assumed there would be not much left. But the clothes kept coming like an endless assembly line. They kept coming, and I realized I had so much, so much I don't need...things I hadn't worn in ages....