Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finding me a husband

"Ing'eyo dhluo?"
"Ang'eyo matin"
"You are not a real white person."
(looking at my arm) "Really, why?"
"You know dhluo, you are Kenyan."
"Thank you."
"I'm not a millionaire, I do not have money.  I want you to marry me."
"Listen Victor, I can barely afford to take this matatu to town.  20 ksh (about 20 cents) is too much."
"That is fine, we will still get married.  You can raise my goats."
"Goats are bad.  My dad requires a dowry of one elephant, one hippo and 13 very small giraffes."
"I will find."

This was my conversation with the matatu conductor today on my way back from "work."  If I wake up tomorrow and there is a hippo, an elephant and 13 teacup giraffes sitting on my front stoop, you'll have a wedding to come to.  

I've been trying to spend more time learning dhluo (the mother tongue mainly spoken in my area), it's getting better but there are always issues.  First, many people want to speak to me in english, they want to practice.  Second, I often will get yelled at by people who do not speak dhluo, and yell at me about assuming they know it (you are in Luoland.  It's a reasonable assumption).  Third, I visit other PCVs in the area and they are so much better than me that I get intimidated.  It's going well.  Another issue is, my kiswahili is falling by the wayside which I do not like.

Work is going well.  We're in the middle of planning our support day for the orphans, widows and widowers in the community.  I have been walking a lot trying to meet with ministry officials, community leaders, NGOs and such trying to drum up support and trainers.  The community has been pretty receptive which is great, my groups are trying to grow the support day to include more beneficiaries and trainings.  

It looks like in the next month we should have the resource center proposal done and hopefully will start construction on that shortly after.  Another project I am planning on starting with my PCV ed volunteer, a day camp for children in our village is in the planning phases.  We hope to make it a monthly adventure, fun, games and education.  

I have been traveling a lot here lately, though it's mainly been PC related issues.  Mid service medical, cross sector, consolidation exercise.  It's been tiring but it's been great.  For medical and x sector I got to see a lot of people I rarely see and eat some non-Kenyan food.  Consolidation was great as it was everyone who lives in Nyanza, plus a couple of wannabes (hehehe). It's a cool group of people and I enjoyed hanging out with most everyone.  

Other than that my days are the same.  Teaching the two year old new English words, debating on what to eat and working on my projects.  

Still have not tried omena.  Have not seen any rats in awhile, which makes me more nervous than relieved.  PC Ed, woke up with a rat on her chest.  This does not bode well.

One last conversation.

"Do you have a Kenyan husband?"
"No, I do not have a husband here in Kenya."
"Do you have a husband in the Netherlands (writers note: everyone assumes this is where I am from.  Apparently there are a lot of expats in the area, though I rarely see them)."
"One of my husbands is from there."
"How many do you have?"
"That is a lot of husbands, you do not need anymore."