Monday, May 16, 2011

A Sunday makes for a quiet day in town

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In typical Kenyan fashion, we began the day with a slow start, sitting outside for a while doing nothing more than enjoying the warm breeze and sipping on our Kenyan tea. We were slow to start, but ended up having a very productive morning filled with interviews with the kids. Today, I focused on the youth that are between the ages of 16 and 20 years old. One of my interviews may not be too useful, as the young man hardly spoke any English. However, the majority of the others were quite insightful. The children had a much better time understanding the idea of the scale to determine frequency of feeling happy, etc. They, too, integrated much religious belief into their answers, something I had anticipated as I have gotten to know a bit more about the Kenyan culture.

Most of the youth’s answers regarding happiness were focused on fun, telling stories and jokes with friends, and helping others. I did not, at first glance, detect anything hugely different from what I anticipate the youth in the United States would report. I believe I will be attempting to continue these interviews tomorrow with the younger children (ages 13-15) in addition to a few more in the older youth category. It is very interesting and I think the youth enjoy talking and, if nothing more, having their voices heard with at least 15 minutes of undivided attention. One of the youth I interviewed asked if it was possible for me to teach them “something.” He said even if it was only five of them, they’d like to learn something along the lines of what our curriculum was developing into instead of “sitting around.” This made me so happy. I told him that although I couldn’t today, we would be having our regular class on Monday evening and that I would be happy to meet with him another time if he would like. Very inspiring to continue our work with the curriculum!

After calling it quits on interviews for the day due to a low battery and decreasing memory on the video camera, in addition to a very obviously rumbling stomach, we headed off in search for lunch. Paige, Andi, and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather (as if it isn’t always beautiful here) and walked all the way to town (about 5K). It was a very nice walk along the road as we passed many foot travelers and the occasional camel. Okay, only one camel. At first I didn’t realize until I did a double take to witness a man walking with his camel in tow. That was a first here in Nyeri. Apparently, this man just happens to own a camel… beyond that, I’m not quite sure why… I suppose why not?

We walked and talked for a while and as we got closer to town all I could think about was what was for lunch. Forgetting it was Sunday and that the majority of Kenyans are very religious, not too many businesses were open and the town of Nyeri looked drastically different with the significantly decreased population. We finally sat down at a small restaurant in town called “Ray Bell’s” and ordered some cold water ASAP. We had some delicious vegetable burgers that were actually fried vegetables in a bun instead of a patty attempting to resemble a beef burger like you might find in the United States. At first glance, I was skeptical, but it was amazing… now we know exactly what to order when we find ourselves at Ray Bell’s. We decided to take a Matatu (sp?) back to the centre instead of walking as it was getting warmer as the day went on and our stomachs were in no shape for a lengthy walk. A matatu is essentially a van that becomes packed to the brim with people traveling in the same direction, stopping every so often to let people off where they requested. I suppose it is the Kenyan equivalent to a city bus or public transport. It costs 20 shillings (about 20 US cents) to get to and from town. It is cramped, sometimes has a unique aroma, and may often be compared to an amusement park ride, but it is cheap and it gets us where we need to go :).

Back at the centre we spent our usual time with the kids just joking around and making them laugh. The younger ones LOVE tickling our necks and faces with the tall grass, which, of course, is punishable by a good tickle session ;). Beyond that, I made my first solo Kenyan tea, which turned out brilliantly if I do say so myself. I also made Kenyan eggs to contribute to our family dinner of ugali, eggs, and sukamawiki (sp?) - also known as kale. Tomorrow we will be cooking grilled cheese with tomato and onion for our Kenyan family, something very different from what they are used to eating. Cheese is hardly ever used here… in fact I don’t think I have eaten it once since I have been here. Strange. I think that’s all I have to report for today, until tomorrow :).

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