An Average Day for Students

Just to give you a general idea of what an average day is like for my students.


5:00 am:  Wake up, sweep and mop the dorms, clean choos, older children help the younger children bath (they use a tub of water from a nearby lake or rainwater and bath outside)

6:00 am:  Run and exercise

7:00 am:  Those who ran and exercised take a bath

7:30am:  Breakfast.  They have porridge for breakfast and stand/sit outside while they drink their porridge.

8:00 am:  Assembly.  They line up in a circle around the flagpost.  Songs are sung, announcements are made, and prayers are said.

8:20 am:  Classes (they have KSL, Creative Arts, P.E., English, Science, Social Studies, Christianity, and Math classes)

11:00-11:30 am:  Tea/Porridge break

11:30-12:50 pm:  Classes

12:50-2:00pm:  Lunch

2:00-4:30pm:  Classes

4:30-5:30pm:  If the school is low on water, students will walk (sometimes over an hour round-trip) to fill jerry cans of water to bring back to the school.  They also fill many jerry cans of water for the cooks to cook the next day’s meals with.

5:30-6:30pm:  Students get some free time.  They can either chat with each other or play sports (netball, handball, soccer/football, volleyball).

6:30-7:00pm:  Dinner.  They may eat ugali with kale or cabbage.

7:00-8:00pm:  They get ready for the next day which may involve washing their clothes by hand and polishing their shoes.

8:00-9:00pm:  They head back to classrooms to do some studying.

9:30pm:  Students go to bed


Students usually wake up around 7-7:30 am.  They clean, wash clothes, study, farm (maize/corn), watch TV, and play sports.

Shouldn’t We Say People Instead of Deaf?

My newest pet peeve…..

People at my school (deaf people included) tend to refer to any general statement made about children as “deaf.”  The word, deaf, is also used to replace the word, children or people, in sentences.

For example:

“Deaf are always late.”

“Deaf push each other.”

“Deaf are messy.”

“Deaf need to go to school.”

“Deaf don’t do their homework.”

I would think that this would lead to the thinking among deaf children that they’re even more different than hearing children than they really are and that these actions are only unique to deaf children.

To me, it’s creating stereotypes about deaf people in these deaf children’s minds when these behaviors are common regardless of how old we are, our ethnicity, our gender, if we’re deaf or hearing, etc.

Daily Life

This is one of my lazy posts.  I’m just copying and pasting some of my status updates from Facebook for those who aren’t on Facebook.

I love when half of the class runs up to the board to answer questions when I ask for only one student to come up.

Don’t take education for granted…..

Standing in the back of a crowded bus on a dirt road for an hour is practically a workout. Trying not to fall onto the babies next to me. Being slammed back into the metal pole behind me and trying to cushion the blow. Flying up in the air, head hitting the metal roof, and holding onto the overhead bar for dear life while holding bags.

I like mornings when I can see the moon because I know that 8,500 miles away my much loved friends and families are looking at the very same moon as they head to bed.

What was supposed to be a 10 minute conversation turned into 4 hours of stories, laughter, and playing with the children.

The girls like to borrow my iron to iron their school dresses. It’s amazing how much work, patience, and love they put into ironing their clothes…..

String, sticks, flip-flops, and pamphlets….some of the items I have found in my sitting room. You know you’re at a school for the Deaf when children slide things under the door to get your attention. 🙂

Classes 4 and 5 share a classroom. Class 5 Math teacher couldn’t make it to class today so the students from Class 5 asked if they could join my Math Class 4 lesson. Needless to say I was practically run over by students from both classes every time I asked someone to come up to the board.

Conversation while hanging out with a group of Classes 6-8 students who were joking around while filling pail after pail after pail of water:
Class #7 Boy to girl: You joke too much.
Class #7 Girl: It’s good to joke around because one needs to be happy, right Kelly?
Me: Yes, it’s good to be happy and to laugh.
Class #7 Girl: See! Kelly is my sister!
Class #7 Boy: Impossible, you can’t be sisters. Kelly is a mzungu!
**We all break out into laughter**
Class #7 Girl: Well, I’m still going to have her visit my family at the end of the term because she’s my sister.

‎3 months and I’m still not a fan of ugali with kale. I’m still skeptical about those PCVs who told me that after a year I will love ugali with kale…….we’ll see!! 😉

So I have yet to master the unique deaf Kenyan head nod + raised eyebrows combination.
Class 3 Girl #1: *copies my nod*
Class 3 Girl #2: That’s wrong, you don’t nod like that!
Class 3 Girl #1 to me: “Is it okay to nod like you do?”
Class 3 Girl #2: *laughs* No, we don’t nod like that here in Africa
Class 3 Girl #1: “So…who cares how I nod”
This was actually a really cute conversation…these 2 girls are good friends

One of the teachers (he’s deaf as well) told me that people want to ask if I will marry them but because I’m “quiet”…they don’t know how to ask me. Well…if that’s a perk of being “quiet”…then I’ll take it 😉

Class #1 Girl: You’re deaf, right?
Me: “Yes, I’m deaf”
Class #1 Girl: Are you deaf only in Kenya? Are you a hearing person in America?
Me: “No, I’m deaf in both America and Kenya”
Class #1 Girl: “Really?!?!?”

A few days ago I posted about how I find things in my room that have been slid under my door (this is how the girls try to get my attention). They have now resorted to throwing their flip-flops (there’s a roof but no ceiling, there’s a big opening between the roof and ceiling). I almost got hit in the face with a flip-flop tonight as it came flying into my room and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud…’s the little things that make my day.


Night Runner

Some students got into trouble yesterday because they were playing outside after dark.  Teachers then asked if I had heard of Night Runners.

“Night Runner in Luo is called “Jajuok”. Let me explain what Night Runner is and/or what they do in terms of behavior (s):  these are people who function normally in the society. They have a wife or wives and children and are capable of maintaining a job during the day. Well, things are different for Night Runners at night.  They leave their homes, wife/wives and children and literally run around people’s homes almost all night through.  Night Runners actually run naked-and most of the Night Runners are male.”

“The typical behavior for Night Runners is to kick people’s doors, throw sand through any opening, throw things on the roof, especially iron sheet roofs which makes a  lot of noise. They take pleasure in disturbing people’s sleep.”


“There is great fear of the witch-doctors (bafumo) and wizards (amalose).  These are often referred to as the “night-runners” who prowl in the nude running from one house to another casting spells.”



Luo Name

The majority of people in my village are from the Luo tribe and have Luo names along with their given name.

Luo names are usually related to the day you were born.  What time of the day, was it stormy, born after twins, born with a cord around the neck, etc.  For more information go to

One of the teachers gave me my Luo name today.  I was born at 2:19 in the afternoon so my Luo name is Achieng which means “born at mid-day”


Here are a few pictures, some of these pictures were taken by other kids.  Sometimes Kenyans won’t smile for the camera or look at the camera.  For a long time it was believed that if you looked at a camera then your soul would be stolen (or something like that–I don’t remember all the details).  Usually children get very excited when they see a camera and beg for their pictures to be taken….then sometimes they don’t smile, they get very serious…but I can tell you that these kids have the BEST smiles!

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Students’ Reactions to My Cochlear Implants

Several students at my school have some hearing.  They can hold a conversation with hearing teachers without having to lip-read.  They can hear their name being called (not yelling but at a louder volume) from behind them if they’re in a quiet setting.  Sometimes they complain that other children are being too loud in the dorms.  Sometimes they ask other girls to interpret for them since they’re not fluent in sign language yet.

In fact one of the older girl (I would guess around 15-17) came to my room today and asked if she could borrow my phone to call her sister and mother.  She was able to have a conversation without any hearing aids, with the phone at full volume, and in a quiet room.

There is no sense of “deaf pride” or “it’s okay to be deaf.”  For that reason I have never met deaf kids who want to hear so badly.

Not a single person has a hearing aid so they were very curious when they saw my cochlear implants.  Below are some of their comments.

“I want those”

“Do you have more of those in your room?”

“Can I try them on and see if I can hear with them?”

“I will pray so I can get those.”

A couple of the older girls asked if they could try my CIs on even though I explained over and over that they had to have surgery for it to work.  They wanted to see how it felt having something on their ears.  You could tell in their eyes that they were dreaming of what it would be like if they could hear with them.

I do feel guilty knowing I have something that they want to have so badly.

They’re also questioning if I’m deaf or half-half (their term for “hard-of-hearing”).  I consider myself deaf but it seems like if you have a little bit of hearing (residual or with hearing aids/CIs) you’re automatically considered “half-half” here.