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

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