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Summer Adventure

Week Two

KENYA | Thursday, 12 June 2014 | Views [486]

I'm only able to journal once a week, because there is no electricity or wifi at the home or school I am at. Because I can only write once a week, my journals will be very long. I'm journaling every night and putting them all together in this journal so you will see how my feelings and views of everything change.

I like being here. I won't say love because it's still growing on me. I get more comfortable with everything each day. Me and my cousin were put in a home about 2 hours from Nairobi. We are staying in a tribe land called Maasai land. We live with a family of about 20-35 people. Men are allowed to have multiple wives and the men stay with their wives and children in villages. Each village is about 5-10 miles from each other. We stay with Joshua who has 3 wives. His wives have between 3 and 5 children, and their children have children so there are a lot of people. Each wife has her own house which is made of pieces of wood, metal, cow hide, mud, and sticks. Each house has multiple rooms. We stay with one wife named Grace. She has a combination of two houses actually. One house has three bedrooms and a sitting room. The other house has a kitchen and two other very small rooms. The kitchen is actually two rooms also where one room contains the fire pit built in the ground and a table for holding cooking tools. The other small room is where the dishes are kept. There are 3 large bowls on the floor that take up the entire room. One for dirty dishes, one for clean dishes, and one for mixing things I do believe. The house with the kitchen is a traditional Maasai house. The walls are made of cow hide, mud, and sticks only. So the kitchen gets VERY hot when someone is cooking. Our rooms are in the other house and they are a good size. Not large but big enough to dress in the mornings. We have our own beds. Nakia shares a room with another volunteer who is here. I have my own room. I have a full size bed in my room with a mattress, but I'm not sure what it is made out of. I have a square cut out of the wall that I can close off with a wooden door at night. It's very cold at night so I use lots of blankets. It's very hot during the day. Like VERY hot!!! I thank God I grew up in Texas, because it's not that bad I think it could be. We use the restroom in washrooms that are outside of the main gate. The washrooms are basically rooms with holes in the ground. That's where we go. There are cows and goats and dogs that live in the village also. Everyday some of the men walk the goats and cows to graze and bring them back in the evening. They trade off each day who will walk them. They start at 9 in the morning until 6 at night.

At the school there are grades 1-8. We teach grades 3-8. We teach all subjects and basically work as substitutes. We try our best to be consistent however and if we see are good at teaching a particular subject the teachers let us take over that class for the time we are here. The kids listen for the most part. They're are just like any other children and need to be reminded every once and while to quiet down and pay attention. The only thing that holds us back from teaching is the language. Because our accents are different from the children's we do not understand some words that are said and they don't understand us. But for the most part we understand each other and we are able to communicate really good. I teach English 5, English 7, and the head master has let me lead his class which is Grade 3. I like them the best of course because they are younger. The head master is really nice. He eats supper at our house during the week and stays at the school since his house is so far away. He goes back home on the weekends. I sometimes find it hard to believe that some of the male teachers at the school are Maasai men because they dress in regular clothing. But everyone who stays in Maasai Land is a Maasai. One of our friends we met dressed in regular clothing and I didn't picture him as Maasai, but when he draped a clothe over his body and did one of the Maasai dances and sang I was like ahhh... Like most cultures, the younger Maasai don't follow all of the traditional Maasai practices that you would read about. Not everyone gets married before they have children, not everyone herds cattle etc. They now focus on going to school. A lot of the students we teach have plans on going to college to become lawyers, pilots, and journalists. I LOVED to hear them tell me this!!! Especially the girls!!! The main religion here is Christianity. My first day one student asked me "Teacha, do you believe in God?" I answered yes and she said "Do you believe in Jesus?" I said yes, and she said "Good." Lol One of the subjects they study is CRE (Christian Religious Education) which I have taught to Grade 3 so far. Their other subjects are math, English, Kiswahili, science, and social studies. They attend church every Sunday from 10-2. I'm going to wait until my last week and then go to church because that's going to be 4 hours of Maasai language. The Maasai speak a separate language from the other Kenyan people. They speak Maasai and other Kenyans (non-tribesmen) speak Kiswahili. My first week has been very..... different. I have definitely been pushed outside of my comfort zone. Going to the toilet in a hole, bathing in a bucket, riding a motor bike (which is actually really comfortable, I dosed off while riding), dangling my legs from the edge of a cliff (which is really relaxing), watching a living goat get slaughtered (horrible... Never again!), getting burned marks, teaching teenagers, walking at night with hyenas a few meters behind me (I was with other Maasai men, not alone and hyenas are scared of humans I have learned), and living in a bug infested home (mainly flies which go away at night). It all sounds horrible and crazy to even think about trying but I've actually LOVED most of it. The hole I will never love and the wash bucket of course. But the people are SO nice and so inviting. The land is beautiful and because we're from the city it is SO peaceful! I could never see myself living here permanently or anything, but for now it's a nice get away.

This weekend is my cousin's birthday so we're going to dress up in traditional Maasai clothing and slaughter a goat (which I'm not looking forward to). We'll drink beer and probably dance and stuff and then we're walking to the cliff here to have a Bon fire. I'm looking forward to it. We're lucky because we've been busy the whole time we've been here. The other volunteer, Sarah, tells us it can get really boring because there's nothing to do. Yesterday we walked to the cliff and sat there for an hour just talking and looking over at the land. I'll most likely walk back and read there because it's so quiet and cool because of the breeze that hits the cliff.

Right now I'm at school and we're about slaughter a goat :( I don't think I'll ever get used to this, and they do it ALOT! The staff at the school are really nice. One teacher, Carol, has a baby girl named Joy so she brought her all the way to school one day to meet me :)

One of the other wives, Mary, said she's going to get someone to come to the village to braid me and my cousin's hair, so I'm looking forward to it.

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