Thursday, December 18, 2008

Swiftly Tilting

I am in Nairobi, unfortunately I broke my tooth on a rock in my Githeri( bean mixture) so I am going to the dentist today. I am staying in a nice part of Nairobi and it is quite beautiful. Right now I am at the Peace Corps office so I am able to load some photos. The first one is from Independence Day ( tree planting) my family along with another Trainee's family. The second one is the village where I live (the constant rain allows for spectacular rainbows!). The third is another view from my walk to and from town. The last one is my sister and I inside the gates of my shamba (farm) and that is Kilimanjaro behind me!

In other news I am very excited to be Auntie Africa in the near future! My only sadness is that I will be so far away, but I guess I'll have many things to teach my new niece or nephew ( KSL, Kiswahili, and perhaps how to purify their own water, or check to see if they have malaria?) . Jokes aside I am overwhelmed with joy!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cause = Time

“A movement is only composed of people moving. To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means.” - Gloria Steinem

One month has really flown by! The rains have slowed down and have been replaced by heat—puddles sucked dry by the suns intensity. Training is continuing and routine is settling in.

Friday was Independence Day and Peace Corps asked us to invite our family to plant trees at the local primary school. They also asked for our families to provide tools to plant. My Mama told me that we had no jembay so I should bring a panga, I had no idea what either were so, I agreed and was given a machete or panga as it is known here. How I was to plant trees with a machete was one thing, but I have an hour walk into town- as a foreigner with a machete? I did not think that would be received very well. I complied and met up with another trainee close by, he also had the same problem no other tools, but a machete. When we expressed concern our mamas decided we should wrap them in plastic bags, obviously a machete but perhaps not as hostile? So we walked into town machetes in tow! Once we arrived at the school my younger sisters picked out two saplings and I picked a spot and I began to cut the soil with my machete, until another trainee's family let me borrow their hoe (they laughed that it would take me all day). Kilimanjaro was out from behind the clouds, and provided a spectacular view while planting. I really enjoyed planting trees and I revel in the thought of knowing I contributed the already existing beauty of Kenya.

This week we were joined by a former Deaf Ed Volunteer, after the evacuation he began service in Zambia. He brought a friend, a deaf Zambian who is being sponsored to study in the states next year. During one of the life skill sessions (where we learn to light a jiko stove and clean the house) we chatted a bit. I found out he was born hearing and was for a number of years, he then became sick and became deaf. I asked how he felt the when he lost his hearing, expecting to hear a negative response or how he struggled, he simply signed he thanked God, and that there is a time in life for everything—it was time to be deaf. He has now teaches the deaf community in Zambia about HIV/AIDS, has meet many different people, and knows a new language. This sense of optimism and peace has served as a source of comfort for me. It is time for me to be in Kenya.

I find out my site (the place I will live for 2 years) in a few weeks. This is the first time the PC has not done site visits so all of us have no idea what to expect. Initially I was very nervous about my job, but as time goes on I am extremely excited about working as a teacher for the deaf, and I know wherever I am it is time for me to be there!

Thank you to all of those who have written me, it truly makes my week. I guess I should also extend seasons greetings—although I have to remind myself in the heat of the sun that it is Christmas time. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.