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Week one down

USA | Monday, 16 September 2013 | Views [280]

Pool day!

Pool day!

So. Much. Rice. I probably won’t eat rice for a while when I’m back home!

One week down, two to go. I’ve had a bit of writers block it seems the last few days. Or maybe I just hadn’t taken the time to sit down and do it. However, it’s been a pretty packed time away from the computer. On Friday morning, Frank and I went to visit Josephine’s school in Shanty because we were told she has a nice playground and we wanted to get in touch with the builder (or fundi). Josephine is lovely. She is a Kenyan woman with a good heart and started her own school for kids the same age as ours two years ago. The difference is she started the school as a business and has had nothing but trouble as a single woman, as an outsider and now has too much competition in the area from other schools. Her school is not doing well and she wishes now she would have started the school as an NGO (nonprofit) like ours instead. I feel for her. I can tell she has put a lot of money into making the school nice and now her numbers have dwindled to about the same amount of children that we have. I’m happy to meet her though as she will be a good source of information and is willing to help out any way she can. The playground she has is way too expensive for us at 3 million tzh (almost $2000). We are going to have the fundi come out and price something smaller and give us a deal since we are nonprofit. We will see.

Friday afternoon, I got to see Neema, Irene and Glory! Neema is the teacher I volunteered with and Irene and Glory are the two girls I sponsor. I took a cab from the project to Moshi Airport School where they were having graduation for the older students. It’s an English Medium school, meaning they teach English in all classes and one Swahili class (as apposed to all Swahili and one English class in public Primary). This is better for them since after primary school they start secondary, which is taught in English. If they don’t get more English training in primary, they are most likely going to fail getting into Secondary. The system is pretty messed up and the students are set up for failure in the public schools. English Medium costs more, but if I want to give these girls a fighting chance, it’s worth it. Neema waited for me outside and would hardly let me get out of the cab before she was screaming and hugging me haha… that’s a nice greeting! After her exclamations of missing me, her dada (sister) and lots of hugs, we went into the ceremony. I’m glad I came in at the end because it was all in Swahili. Speeches by the big wigs are generally boring enough as it is, so imagine not understanding a word!  After the ceremony, we got into the cue for lunch and it was madness! I was pushed until I almost knocked over the water tub for hand washing. I pushed my way back out of the cue and told Neema I wasn’t that hungry. I don’t do well in hungry mobs or any crowd that starts to push. She ended up grabbing a plate that we shared and some nice gentleman gave us some more of his. It was seriously insane for a group of well dressed parents.  But the bad energy all disappeared when after looking for Irene for a long time we finally spotted her and she us. I opened up my arms and she ran and ran and jumped up on me into a huge hug. That was an even better greeting than Neema’s! I actually didn’t expect that from this shy little girl who I thought may not even remember me. I missed that little one! After that we walked back to Neema’s small one room home where four people live and I got to see Glory too. I gave the girls their gifts and scarves for Neema and her sister. Then I handed out the blinkie toys and I hadn’t expected to also have all the neighbor kids over but thankfully I had enough toys. I’ll bring more next time.  As I waited for my cab and chatted with Neema, I would sometimes brush a small cockroach off my arm, or neck, trying to not make it look like I was about to freak out haha...I didn’t want to offend her. At one point the chicken walked in and out of the room as well. It took forever to get the cab and by the time I got home across town, it was already late. I had a drink and some dinner at the bar with the other travelers and headed to bed.

Saturday I went out with one of the volunteers and definitely needed Sunday to recover. I was going to try to go to Neema’s church to see her sing in the choir but it started at 7:30am! I don’t do mornings. Especially after a late night. Instead, I invited her and the girls to come swim at the pool at the Honey Badger and I would pay for the cab. A car full showed up with two neighbor girls totaling two adults and 4 kids. None of them had ever been swimming before, didn’t have suits and didn’t quite know what to do. I luckily still had some clothes in my room that had been donated, so I grabbed t-shirts for the girls and they swam in their undies. It was so much fun and I can’t wait to post photos! (I could do a whole post on the frustrations of internet connectivity, but I won’t. You get the idea.)

I stayed another night at Honey Badger while I sorted out my room situation. I finally landed at a little B&B in town for $23/night including breakfast. They don’t have internet here though so I purchased a modem. Unfortunately, even though I love my little chromebook computer, it’s not compatible with anything requiring software so I couldn’t get the modem to work. It looks like I’ll be making some treks into town to spend some time at the internet cafes!

I go to bed really early here it seems. I’m exhausted and always dirty. Today (Tuesday) I spent at Khuba Nursery and got to see some of the kids I met last year. Neema really is a great teacher and I wish I had enough money to give her a school of her own too. Maybe one day.

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