Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fast as you can

"Always remember that the future comes one day at a time. "
Dean Achenson

My school is out for the month of April, and I have to say I miss my children dearly! I did travel with a few of them for the Deaf Games in Machakos-- where I am proud to say both my girls and boys won..... the power walking competition. We never practiced this and I thought it was a joke when I first heard of the race, but its actually difficult to not just run!Either way I was very proud of my students and I know just the experience of being outside our school was great for them! On the way there we passed an airport and they all questioned me again about the hippo status and if I knew the people on the planes.

After the games I had a few old friends join me at my site you can check out his thoughts on my site. Then I was off for more training in Nairobi.Being in Nairobi-- is something you must truly experience and is hard to explain. I feel as if I spend a lot of time in the states dispelling rumors about Africa, but Nairobi has them all. For example driving down one road where I was in a cab surrounded by BMWs and fast food restaurants, I saw a family of baboons jumping over a fence, and then literally minutes later Kibera ( the largest slum in the world). Africa and it juxtapositions...I could go on for days.

Training is an interesting experience, a mixture of Peace Corps policy, medical training, and sector specific training. I have to say what I am most excited about is starting my behavior change communication work. I was told I was selected mostly on the basis of making Deaf friendly materials to stop the prevention of HIV/AIDS. This involves making movies or posters to distribute through out Kenya hospitals and testing centers. With my past experience in the broadcast field, I am very excited to start working. While I was at the Peace Corps office I picked up a few posters with a few signs, the alphabet, and numbers. These were created by former volunteers. I took a lot because I want to make sure places in my town have them for example the hospital, the police station and the HIV/AIDS testing center ( VCT). I was able to talk to a hostel owner in Nairobi who I normally stay with when she told me she just hired a Deaf man, the brother of an employee. I offered her a poster and she showed all the workers. She later expressed to me how happy the brother was to actually communicate with his brother for the first time in 20 years. Moments like that give me the chills! I am beyond excited to start working on my own ideas.

Right now I am enjoying a much needed vacation. I am in Mombasa a sand swept island city- where I spent my first week in Kenya! Coming back nearly six months later really makes everything surreal. Six months ago, everything felt so far, now everything feels my own. Although more familiar I can still gawk at the beauty this country has, and feel so small within its ancient landscape, or humbled by small acts of kindness. The changes do not stop at the way I feel about the country but also myself. I hope to always be able to feel so large and small all at the same time.