I was asked by a 2nd year PCV if I would host a friend (Mary) of his for a night or two. Mary is actually an ASL interpreter back in the States and is touring Kenya and Tanzania for a month or so.
I went to my market town to pick her up. She didn’t have a phone, we had never met each other, and weren’t 100% sure when she would arrive. It was basically one of those “let’s just look for the other mzungu female” moments. We found each other without any problems.
I did bump into two other tourists (which never happens), they were a couple. The man looked way excited to see me because he wanted to ask where a hotel was. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I was deaf and didn’t understand what he was asking. It was like he was thinking “I finally see a mzungu here and of course she has to be deaf.” It was kind of funny though. I did quickly ask them to write down what they were saying (they might have been Europeans) so we were able to communicate through written words. I wasn’t able to help them out because I hadn’t heard of that hotel. I felt bad, they were friendly just a bit stressed out about being lost in a strange country.
We headed to my village where all of my kids attacked Mary and asked her the same questions about America that they always ask me. I guess they either don’t like my answers or don’t believe me but they got the same answers from Mary. Mary and I were able to teach some of the girls how to play Uno which was pretty fun.
We also decided to try and walk to Lake Victoria because it looks pretty close to my school (looks are deceiving) and I had been told that it was only a few miles away. Well, we didn’t have a map with us and we kept losing it from sight. Don’t ask how we can lose one of the world’s largest lakes but we did. We kept asking locals for help to get there and a couple of them tried to ask for money or items from us in exchange for information.
We then found ourselves pretty lost but thought we could find our way back. We came upon a car full of people who were willing to give us a ride. One of the passengers was actually the aunt of one of the teachers I work with. They thought we were making it up when we told them we had walked all the way from my village by foot! They couldn’t believe we had done all that walking. We had walked for about four hours.
We got dropped off at a different village after the car lost one of its parts from a bump (or ditch…can’t remember which) on the dirt road. We paid them and thanked them. We then got a soda and was able to catch a bus back to my village where we got a second cold soda!!
It was fun to see more of the area and to meet some of the locals who really live in remote Kenya. Some of them didn’t even know any English. I think I might have found an older deaf boy. He was gesturing to other boys and gesturing to us (trying to get us to buy maize). It was done in a way that it didn’t seem “hearing” if that makes any sense. He didn’t understand any sign language though. I’ll have to ask my headmaster about him. I have heard that there are many deaf kids “hidden” in our area.
After teaching classes yesterday, I went to drop Mary off in my marketing town where she caught another bus to continue her tour of Kenya. I also picked up a package which had stickers and books (for my kids–so FUN) from my parents!! 🙂