Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview Central

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today was both strange and productive. Andi and I attempted to run on a very wet and rainy morning. The key word in that was attempted. We headed out on our normal route in reverse to shake things up and were sure that one of us was going to come back with a delicious mud coating. Fortunate for us, we returned unscathed aside from our newly browned sneakers. Each of our feet had about five pounds worth of mud accumulating on our sneakers. At times it was difficult to pick up our feet and I continued to be thankful for my shoelaces as they kept me in my sneakers as they consistently stuck in the mud, slipping and sliding. We ended up walking the last quarter of the way to avoid a mud bath.
Back at the centre, we set to work on finishing our interviews with the kids. I scouted out a room near the office, set up my stuff, and didn’t leave until I was finished with all my interviews with the kids. I began around 2:15PM and didn’t leave the room until after 5:00PM. Most of the responses were pretty good, some stood out more than others (one of the girls explained that happiness was a hobby of hers), but overall I think they were successful. Something we have found both through our interviews and our class is that these children lack critical thinking skills. It seems that in their minds, there are only right or wrong answers. When you ask “why?” or “what do you think?” it is initially returned with a blank stare. After rephrasing the questions a few different ways, I am able to get a workable response. However, it is clear that critical thinking, problem solving, and abstract thinking are not prominent concepts taught in school here.

After completing my interviews with the children and youth, I felt somewhat relieved, but also heavy. This heaviness resulted from discussions of unhappiness. If you talk about happiness, undoubtedly, a component of unhappiness will present. I only have one more staff interview to complete before I am completely done with my research interviews on happiness… I can’t believe it.

After relaxing and organizing a bit, we met some of the staff and the Penn State engineers/medical group at the Banana Leaf in town (a bar/restaurant) where we were surprised to see so many wazunga. They are taking over the centre! We had to move out of our little apartment today and into a small room in an apartment with Jeff and Steve (two Americans who have been at the centre since February, but we hardly ever see them). A bunch of the staff (like Jane and Issa) have to move out too, to accommodate the wazunga who are coming. The engineer/medical group is about 30 strong (who are already in Nyeri and are staying either at the Ivory Hotel or here at the centre) whereas another group of about 15 (who are all staying in the centre) are coming tonight. It’s nuts… and becoming a little chaotic. Andi and I are so thankful that we have been able to spend the majority of our time here without the wazunga invasion of Penn Staters (on the other hand, of course we are excited to meet all of them!).

Tomorrow, we are preparing for a lazy Sunday at the centre and have no plans other than running in the afternoon. I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment