You Never Know

In Kenya…

You never know if you’ll have enough water. This so-called long wet season is turning out to be pretty dry…we haven’t had rain in 2 weeks.

You never know when the power will go out. There’s only one outlet in my house so there’s always at least one thing that is not charged (CIs, phone, or netbook). Power go out for a couple of hours or for a couple of days.

You never know if you will run out of kerosene or gas while cooking a meal.

You never know if you’ll get what you need at your village’s market. It can take a few days/trips to finally get eggs or milk.

You never know if vendors will be open at your village’s market. I have given up on trying to figure out their schedule because there appears to be no schedule.

You never know if you will get what you ordered at a restaurant. There have been times I’ve tried to order something only to be told they were out of that food or couldn’t cook it because of no electricity.

It certainly keeps life interesting. 🙂

Time is a Funny Thing

Back in the States I was constantly on the go after all time is money, right? Or at least that’s the general attitude that we have in America.

It’s the complete opposite here in Kenya. The general attitude is that things will eventually get done because there’s always time to do them. Heck, it takes anywhere from 1 hour to 5 hours to travel the 10 miles to the next town over on a bus or a matatu. There is no set schedule and you never know when you’ll be able to get a ride.

5 months later and I’m still walking too fast by Kenyan standards. I’m still talking too fast by Kenyan standards. I’m still working too fast by Kenyan standards. I read too fast by Kenyan standards. I even write too fast by Kenyan standards.

I’ve been finding myself getting things done quickly (too fast by Kenyan standards) and then having extra time which makes the days drag out!

It’s funny how time can go by so slowly yet so quickly. Days are sooooo long but months fly by in the blink of an eye (is it really only Saturday and is it really already mid-March?!).

I am learning to stop and smell the roses. I notice butterflies while I stand by the dirt road waiting for a ride to the next town over. I notice a difference in the brightness of stars. I notice the lone tree on top of a nearby hill. I notice how the landscape changes on a clear day. I notice the position and phases of the moon on a daily basis. I notice the position of the sun in the sky and tell time by it.

It’s still innate for me to want to be constantly on the go and to always be doing something. Kenya is trying to teach me that life doesn’t always have to be go-go-go-go-go-go-go.

Facebook Status Update Post

Since I live on the school campus I’m always being asked where I’m going even if it’s just to the choo. Lately I’ve been tempted to come up with stories such as “The choo isn’t really a choo, it’s a flying machine and I’m going to the moon but I’ll be back in time for dinner” because well….”I’m going to the choo” sounds so boring….but something tells me that my imagination won’t be appreciated.

Kindle, what would I do without you?!

The whole oral vs sign approach debate is getting really old. There is no reason to choose one over the other, there is room for both. Simply give your child access to a language regardless of which one it is and give your child the tools to access that language regardless of if it’s hearing aids, cochlear implants, or all visual (sign language, lip-reading).

I went to a local cafe on my morning break and it smelled just like the Thanksgiving meals my grandmother used to make. Grandmother, it may have been 13 years but I sure remember those delicious holiday dinners that you put so much work and heart into year after year.

I was able to finally track down a pilot program in Kenya (coordinated by a group of hematologists in the States) that is hoping to be the basis for development of future newborn screening programs in Kenya. Apparently the group will be in Kenya the same week that I have my PC in-service training and I have been invited to meet the group. Time to figure out how I can be in two entirely different parts of Kenya at the same time—anyone figured out how to teleport yet?

Rereading my all time favorite book, The Giver, for the billionth time. It’s funny how my interpretation of the book has changed over time and how I notice different things every time I read them at different chapters of my life. Junior High School student, High School student, Undergraduate student, Graduate student, and now as a teacher living in Kenya….

Me and 5 am just don’t mix well……although clear, starry mornings make up for it!

You know you have a bad habit of social bluffing (deafies, you know what I’m talking about) when you find yourself nodding/laughing along to a group conversation for a good 5 minutes before you realize the whole conversation is in Luo….a language you don’t even know. 🙂

Well it only took 5 months of drinking tea on a daily basis but I think I’m finally starting to like tea. As for ugali….well….let’s just say I’m still working on that one.

Class 4 boys: “What do you eat in America?”
Me: “I eat hamburgers, do you know what that is?”
Class 4 students: “No….”
Me: *Draws a picture of a hamburger* “I also eat hot dogs.”
Class 4 and 5 students: “AMERICANS EAT DOGS?!?!?”
Me (a dog lover): “NO, NO, NO….wait…..we don’t eat dogs, it’s just a name….”

From time to time I ask my students if they’re happy because I like when people are happy and well….I like the KSL sign for happy.
Class 4 Girl: *Comes up to me out of the blue and shakes my hand* “Are you happy today?!?”
Me: “Yes…….”
Class 4 Girl: “Good, because I’m very happy today!”
That made my Monday morning. 🙂

Kids grow an inch and I gain 5 pounds after it rains. It’s amazing the amount of mud that sticks to shoes….lol…

I have never seen kids so excited about bread. It’s all I’ve heard about all weekend long.

Don’t look at mistakes as just mistakes, look at them as learning opportunities….

I’ve been a bit bummed that I won’t be able to participate in 5Ks this year with friends. One 5K I will be missing is the Joplin Memorial Run. I wanted to have the opportunity to reflect on how thankful I am that all of my dear friends are still here and the life lessons they have taught me in such a short period of time. Then I realized that just because I’m not in the States is not an excuse to not participate in the 5K. Hence, I have just registered for the 5K and will be running my 5K at my school in Kenya at 2:40pm on May 19th while everyone in Joplin is running at their time (6:40 am).

You know it’s a good day when you get a matatu that has a padded roof….it helps cushion the blow every time you you go flying off your seat.

My inner child’s favorite thing about Kenya: If you purchase an item and they do not have enough exact change to give you….they give you candy instead.

Rainy season is here! In other words, I’m going to be covered in mud for the next couple of months but at least I won’t have to worry about having enough water!

It’s raining….in my house. My first thought was…”Aw, wish I had tons of buckets like my host family did so I can collect water.” My second thought was…”Ack, I hope there aren’t any surprise leaks where my netbook and cochlear implants are located at.” Third thought was….”One of the pros of having a concrete floor…it gets cleaned and I don’t have to do any work.”

Apparently one can’t have both electricity and rain….it’s always one or the other…


Sometimes I feel like I live in a barn on a farm.

Cows, chickens, donkeys, and goats.

Although the baby chicks, kids, and calves have been beyond a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.

Although I could do without all the spiders.

Because we do not have ceilings and because the roof is made from sheets of metals sometimes rain or animals find their way inside.  As a matter of fact I have found a couple of feathers on the floor.

There’s a spot in the roof above my kitchen that bats like to call their home. They’re these little black bats.  Frankly, I would ignore them if they didn’t poop all over  the place (no worries, none of my things are over at that side of the wall).  Then again, it did show me one of the pros of having spiders.  Spider webs catch the poop.

Anyways, I asked one of the herdsman a month ago to kill two of the bats.  I’m so used to the approach we take back in the States.  We see bats and we freak out to the point where we feel the need to bring in specialists and spend hundreds of dollars on special traps/sprays.

I have to say I’m very impressed with how Kenyans approach it.  They take a stick and they hit the bat (one swing per bat).  Bat dies and falls off the wall onto the floor.  Sweep the bat up and take the bat outside.  Job done in 2 minutes flat.

I was thrilled that my bat problems were solved.  That is until the other day when I saw 2 more bats.  So I asked the 2nd herdsman (our school has 2 herdsmen) for help.  Again, I was very impressed.

Honestly, even though my living conditions may sound iffy.  It’s not, my living conditions are great.  You should see how often the kids have to clean (they clean the school and choos at 5 am and again before bed). It’s just the same as if I were to live in the middle of no where on a farm in Kansas.  It’s just different from living in the suburbs…………