Friday, November 18, 2011

I like big butts...

I had to go to the Division Officers office today, to get some more information for my CNA and to invite them to my groups Support Day. Getting there is a pain in the butt and I try to avoid it if I can. It's way out there, matatu's do not go out there and if it rains at any point in the previous three days it is muddier than a pigs sty. Oh, it rained yesterday. A lot. It takes about an hour and a half to walk there from my house, if I walk fast and do not have to stop and greet people. I was going to meet one of the mama's, B, there at 10. I got there at 10:05. She got on to me for being late. Let me rephrase this, a Kenyan mama just got on me for being late. Five minutes late. Pot-Kettle and all. I wanted to point out that I had walked and she rode a pikipiki (motorcycle), but decided to just suck it up. So of course we get there and wait for an hour to meet with anyone. Once we were done we headed back. Because I have horrible timing, it was lunch time for the kids so they were out in droves. There were three boys along side the road. I hear one say "Habari yako." (What is the news, or how are you) and I hear another one say something else but I did not quite make out what he said. All of the sudden Mama B starts yelling at the boys, asking why are they not learning proper english and if they are why are they using rude and bad language. A mama (theirs I assume) comes out and asks what happened, mama B says some stuff in dhluo and the other woman yells something.

We get about five feet and my curiosity can take no more. I ask Mama B to tell me what the kids had said. At first she was reluctant, she said it was so bad she did not want to repeat it. She told me that the woman was apologizing and was really sorry for what the boys had said (this means they probably got a beating today about this.) I talked her into telling me. Apparently one of the boys yelled that I had a…wait for it…."small butt." I don't think I am offended by this. Though apparently I should be, at least judging by the reaction and response of the mama's. Which leads me to believe that they are aware of it (it being my small butt, though I think the word small needs to be taken into context. Kenyan women have awesome butts and small would not be a word to describe them) and assume I am self-conscious about my lack of booty and have been offended. This still tickles me.

My baba's cat had kittens, 3 of them. At least originally. She ate one. Now this same thing happened during training, but that time the mama cat ate all three of her kittens (I never saw my host Mama that upset before). Now I know why this happens and intellectually I understand it (Mama cat is not getting fed enough), but it still gives me the heevie jeevies. On a side note, I do want to keep one of the (surviving) kittens as my own. I'm down to three possible names: Gargamel (if it is a girl), Severus (if it is a boy) or Dr. Evil Whiskers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Climb every mountain, cross no sea

I wish I could say I've been too busy to post anything on this blog. I haven't. But I am now, so no complaining.

I have had a wild past two months. My groups are organizing a support day for the orphans, widows and widowers in the community. They help provide food, clothing, school fees and other items to assist. It also means a lot of meetings. For those who are not aware of how meetings work here in Kenya (and Africa as a whole), here is a breakdown:

Meeting is scheduled for 10 AM
I arrive at 9:45 AM, walk through town and greet everyone who makes eye contact. Inform the same three pikipiki (motorcycle) drivers that I am not interested in marrying them today, but tomorrow? Who knows. Arrive at Jiko la Jamii (my yogurt group) and greet Mama Risper.
9:50-have a discussion with Mama Risper about why I am not eating mandazi (awesomely addictive fried dough) and chai.
10:00-play a little snake on my phone
10:05-10:30-make faces at all the kids that stop and gawk at me. Discuss past and future travel plans with Mama Risper
10:30-10:45-stare off in space
10:45-11:00-wander over to the VCT to talk with Dr. Abebe
11:00-11:30-return to Jiko La Jamii and help package the yogurt
11:30-the first mama arrives for the meeting.
12:00-meeting starts (if it is a good day)

So I spend more time waiting for meetings. TIA. But it gives me time to talk to people which is great and Mama Risper usually gives me a lot of yogurt to snack on. So, yahtzee.

I've finished my community needs assessment and there are a couple of programs/projects that I would really like to start here. One is a resource center for youth. Lots of the youth can not afford to go past, what we in America would consider, 8th grade. It would be great to start a program that allows them to receive training of some kind after this if they are not able to afford more school. Another project that I would like to work with is water sanitation and hygiene. These are two areas that I think would really assist the community. Next week I am meeting with some NGOs in the area to see what projects they are working on. This is all in my head for now, so who knows what the future brings.

I took a trip to Kisumu for Halloween, in engage in some good food, good friends and fake blood. Yes, I got to use my fake blood. My friend Sarah and I went as mob justice. She was the mob, I was the victim. We met up with a bunch of other PCVs at an NGO crash pad for the party. Good times.

After two weeks of being at site, I needed to get out. So last weekend I took a trip down to Sori (look at a map of Kenya and go as far west and south as you can before getting to Uganda or Tanzania and this is where I went) to visit my friends Elise, Molly, Brennan and Chris. From Elise's house you can see Lake Victoria. We sat on her porch Friday night enjoying some good wine and watching the omena fishermen come out. The lights from their boats dance across the water, making it look like christmas tree lights slowly bobbing along. It was so relaxing and fun. I am completely jealous of her site. The next day we met up with Brennan, Molly and Chris to do some hiking. We hiked up some big hill. Despite some initial fears, we were not attacked by cougars ( neither the cats nor the women searching for young men) or by black mambas. The views were spectacular, at points we could see three countries, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The rest of the night was spent designing a paddle bubble/pontoon boat that would allow someone to bike across Lake Victoria, using chapati as frisbees and staring off at Lake Victoria. Then I had the longest, dustiest, bumpiest ride back home ever. Totally worth it.

Thanksgiving is coming up. Not sure what my plans are, due to some new rules PC has decided to enforce. I'm just hoping it involves food.

new items for wishlist:
-gossip mags
-mac and cheese (actually if you want to just send the packet of powdered cheese that would work too)
-Reeses Pieces
-camera memory cards