Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No more copies please

Monday, May 9, 2011

This morning A and I were up early to meet Duncan as planned to head into town to print and copy our curriculum. It was quite chilly this morning and I resorted to a long sleeve shirt. Today was the first day we did not see the sun, although I am confident it will be back tomorrow. Due to the fact that Duncan could not go earlier than today, we postponed the start of our teaching until tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7:30PM instead of tonight. Good thing because the process was painfully slow. I hate that I seem to have much less patience with regards to waiting here. Is that the American in me? Whatever it is I’d like it to please (tafadhali) go elsewhere. I don’t typically see myself as an impatient person! However, here, at times I feel the impatience brewing. Letting it go now... Anyway, A, Duncan, and I spent no less than three hours (no exaggeration) at the copy shop. We had to make a larger amount of copies due to our full curriculum x15 for the staff along with our various hand outs for the children. Oh!! I forgot to tell you our former class of 45 has since been bumped up to 60 children, so exciting! The most I have taught in a relatively formal setting in the past has been four eight year olds. Bring on my 60 new students, 13 years and older. I couldn’t be more excited about it. Anyway, let’s not dwell on the morning of lengthy copies and move on to our delightful afternoon.

Once we returned from town, A and I quickly got to sorting the copies into 15 neat piles to present in our staff meeting. Today we were asked to teach an abbreviated version of our curriculum to the staff in order to both educate them on these topics, and better prepare them to teach these subjects. It is essential that the staff feel comfortable with the material in order to facilitate the sustainability of our program after we leave here. We met in the same fashion as we had for our initial meeting when L was here with us. A and I faced a full room of CYEC staff. We alternated explaining lessons, targeting the most vital components. There was very little comment throughout, and several times, in my typical demeanor, I asked, “is everyone hanging in there?”

Ten lessons of critically important information is much to absorb in such an abbreviated time, however, we made it clear that if any questions, concerns, or suggestions arose, not to hesitate to approach us! At the conclusion of our presentation, we asked if this was something they think the children will enjoy and benefit from. The unanimous consensus was absolutely. After the meeting, several staff members approached us to shake our hand on commend us on a “very interesting and impressive curriculum,” and “an excellent presentation.” We were also approached by several thank you’s and encouraging words regarding the anticipation of our project’s success. What an incredible bode of confidence for A and I! Tomorrow, we will also be recruiting children and staff for our research interviews on leadership and happiness. So, without further adieu, full force ahead!

After our presentation, as promised, Issa and Jane gave our first Kenyan cooking lesson. Chipates (sp?)!! They are essentially fried, yet soft, pita bread. We rolled the dough, very slightly added oil to the inside of what would become a tightly wrapped spiral (looking like an uncooked cinnamon bun). Next, we flattened each spiral and warmed it on a heated pan, setting each aside for later. Once all were warmed, we added oil to the pan and friend each chapate until slightly brown, placing it in a plastic bag to keep them soft and warm. We then cooked some beans with tomatoes and some broth and voila! Chapates and beans! They were so good, A and I promised Jane and Issa we would cook a Kenyan meal for them at least once before we return to the US. They laughed, but they’ll see! They requested an “American meal.” That one I found to be difficult, partly because of our limited resources and partly because I couldn’t think of a staple food we have. Corn? Grilled cheese? I’m sure we have something, I just can’t think of it off the top of my head. Grilled cheese, it has been decided.

Since it was still early when we finished chapates and beans we went down to spend a little bit of time with the kids before they headed off to bed. They usually go to sleep around 9:00PM as they have to get up quite early for school. Before bed, they have time they call “preps” where they finish their school work, spend time together, etc. A and I made a guest appearance at preps to help with school work, read the younger children stories, and just hang out with them. They like to make fun of certain things we say or how we conduct ourselves. I always get them back with an old fashioned tickle session. That usually does the trick ;).

When we were all headed to bed, Jackson handed me a note, but I’m fairly confident it was not written by him as his English far surpasses that of the letter. It was from one of the children addressed to “Erica/Muthoni” explaining that he was an orphan and had no one to care for his future, but God. He is hoping to attend secondary school and asked if I would sponsor him. As of now I don’t know which child wrote this letter so I will talk to Jackson tomorrow. Seeing and interacting with these children so frequently have allowed me to embrace their smiling faces and enjoy each of their personalities. It is hard to believe what an unbelievably hard life they have had to endure, even thus far.

It is pouring rain again as I write, I am hoping it brings a sunny tomorrow. A and I decided we are treating ourselves to sleeping in, get excited! Sweet dreams!

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