Coloring Fun

I spent the day yesterday cleaning my house, working out, reading, studying (I wanted to refresh my mind on some genetic concepts), doing some aural rehab, cooking, and playing UNO with the girls.

After lunch, I finally settled down at my desk with the netbook to get some work done on a couple of projects I’ve been doing.  Then we lost electricity and the netbook went dead.

On the bright side, it rained!  We’ve had a couple of times where it sprinkled  which doesn’t really count because you can’t get enough water from that to do anything with it.  However, it POURED for the first time in at least a month (maybe a month and half)!

I ran out of things to do…even after playing UNO.  I got bored and a bit antsy.

So, I walked about 15 feet out of my house and grabbed 15-20 girls who were around and bought them back to my room.

We then colored for a couple of hours.  I actually finished a coloring page, image that!  Those of you who know me know that this is a rarity.  I will color but I usually get sidetracked with something else and never finish it!

Ignore my messiness.  I had just spent the day cleaning and working out.

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2nd Term Coming to an End

Next week is our last week of the 2nd term.  It’s crazy how fast time has flown by!  Days are long but weeks and months are short!

Kids will be sticking around for a few days afterwards since we have an Education/Parent Day type of thing at our school.  I think I’m going to have another crafts day after the finals again since there’s nothing going on between the last day of classes/exams and Education/Parent Day.

Oh, I have decided to stop posting my Facebook status updates here because I’m lazy and it’s repetitive.  Sorry to those who wanted to continue to read them here (feel free to become as addicted to Facebook as I am or add me on Facebook).  🙂

100 Days of Aural Rehab Week #12: Making the same mistakes over and over


Today’s test results was 72%.

I told myself I wouldn’t accept that I’ve hit a plateau until I complete 100 days of aural rehab and see where I stand from there. If it appears I’ve hit my plateau then I will accept that and continue to do aural rehab to maintain that. Over time I will continue to pick up new sounds here and there. I have no problems with that, that’s what my whole life has been with HAs and CIs, lol.


I stepped back the last few days and was trying to figure out why I’m not moving forward.

I noticed that if there is one thing I’m consistent about….it’s that I have been making the exact same doggone mistakes over and over and over and over…..for the last 11 weeks.

And that is mixing up sounds like t/d/b, g/c/k, but what baffles me is that n sometimes sounds like a g/c/k??

I found this website:

Maybe something more visual with explanations will help me figure out what  I should be paying attention to when I’m listening.  The ClixBeginner program doesn’t give any feedback except to tell me if I’m right or wrong.  If I get a word wrong, it doesn’t repeat the word so I don’t know why I was wrong in the first place.

Oh yes, and my speech has taken a nosedive since I’ve moved to Kenya.  It’s not like it was any good before, heck people couldn’t really understand anything I said….but it was slowly improving in some areas….

Hearing Aids NGOs: Restructuring programs for better long-term results

I am not here to bash NGOs.  There are things they do that I disagree with and things that I agree with.

NGOs generally have good intentions overall.  They try to make things operate smoothly.  They try to give their resources to every single person.  There are people who want to help.  There is what seems to be never-ending access to resources.

However, the current structure does not work.

Sure, it works great from a short-term perspective but it is my personal opinion that if people truly want to help then they need to step back and reassess what they can do to help people benefit long-term.

That may include reducing the number of people they give hearing aids to and ensuring that those people have access to hearing aid batteries for a long time (instead of the just few months battery supply they were given, my kids do not have access to hearing aid batteries in the villages so once their free supply run out…they’re out of luck) and earmolds (kids grow quickly and kids will outgrow their earmolds quickly).

Or maybe even use their resources to set up a training center for a certain country itself.  Create job opportunities, show citizens how to provide aid for their own people without having someone from another country flying in all the time, build more hearing aids centers, develop audiologist programs, etc. Educate communities on how to communicate with deaf people, provide more interpreter training programs, increase awareness to reduce stigma, promote early exposure to a language, etc.

Bottom-line is…..right now…resources are going to waste.

Many of the 75 kids who went to get hearing aids last Thursday are not wearing their hearing aids because it’s uncomfortable (earmolds are too big, things sound too quiet, things sound too loud) and it hasn’t even been a week.  Kids are not receiving any aural rehab or feedback on what environmental sounds  they may be hearing.

There are a few kids at my school who I truly think would benefit from hearing aids if the hearing aids were programmed correctly, they had access to hearing aid batteries/earmolds, and had access to support services afterwards.

That is not happening with the current setup of these NGO programs.  What will happen is that in a year or two another NGO will come and give the kids hearing aids once again….it’s a cycle.  Many of our kids who went last week had gone before and have another pair of useless hearing aids laying somewhere at home.



Getting Hearing Aids Assembly Line Style

We took around 75 of our students (out of around 90) to a town about 4-5 hours away to get hearing aids provided by a NGO (Non-Governmental Organization).

I have lots of thoughts so I’ve been putting off blogging about this.  I have so many thoughts that they’re all overlapping and I don’t know where to start.  I think I will just make a few different posts instead of one long rambling post.  I’ll just start with how things were set up.

We all piled onto a school bus (borrowed from a nearby secondary school)..actually…we all were crammed onto it.  There were 5 kids in some seats that were only for 3 kids….kind of reminds me of my junior high school days.

Anyways, we arrived at the Starkey’s Operation Ear Drop event.

The set up was assembly-line style, perhaps similar to the army.  There were easily at least 500 other people there, mostly deaf schools.

We arrived and all the kids dashed off to the choos.  Us teachers were given a big trash bag full of earmolds that had been made previously.  I guess they came to the school to do that a while back when I wasn’t around and I think they gave the kids a hearing test as well.

It was a bit confusing trying to match the names up with each child.  I wasn’t involved with this since I was trying to make sure all the kids stayed together in one group.  Teachers didn’t know the names of all the kids and not all the Classes 0-1 kids knew their names…that made for some very confusing moments.

We then lined up to register.  Each child was given a form along with their earmolds.  The people who were doing registration didn’t really know any sign language but they had been taught the basic “how old are you” and how to sign the numbers in KSL.  That didn’t mean that successful communication always occurred but I give them props for acknowledging that they needed to sign with these kids.  Again, not all the kids knew their age…..

We were then scooted into yet another line.

No explanations whatsoever to me or the kids.  It was all “come here,” “go there,” “sit,” or “wait” …and none of that was even signed to the kids, it was all gesturing or spoken when the child wasn’t even looking at the person to lip-read him/her. They were scared and kept asking me what was going on and if certain things would hurt (so I tried to figure out what was going on by using visual clues and lip-reading the NGO staff from a distance and was trying to reassure them).

The first line had a man who looked into each child’s ear to see if they had wax.  If they had wax then they were then sent to one of the other two lines (the using water to get wax out line or the using a video camera + some tool to get wax out line).  If they didn’t have wax, they were sent off to sit on a bench where a woman came over and put each child’s earmolds into their ears.

Not all the earmolds fit well at all…some were way too big.

So at this point we had kids scattered in different places.  Some kids were bounced back and forth between the “use water to soften the wax” and the “video camera + tool to get the wax out” lines.  Not sure why, but it was a different staff each time so I’m not sure if it was confusion or if there was a reasoning behind it.

Kids who for some reason didn’t have any earmolds given to them were sent to yet another line.  There was a big table with tons of different pre-made earmolds, a man would try to find one that fit the child “good enough.”

After the earmolds, kids were then sent outside.  Again, by this point we had kids in 6 different lines…some inside and some outside…. At this point, people were trying to talk to the kids and not sign….  Kids were utterly confused, worried, and unsure.

I did take a few pictures just to try to show the set-up but didn’t take very many (only a couple) because I didn’t want to make it into a bigger deal than it already was.  Kids were already out of their comfort zone and they didn’t need/want any more attention drawn to them.

Kids were then called up one-by-one to a “stage/porch” where around 6 or 7 people were fitting hearing aids for each child.  Not all the people knew sign language but I do give props for those who tried.  They had KSL interpreters on staff as well.  There were two situations when I was asked to help interpret….erhmmm?!?!?

Anyways, the fitting basically went something like this.  A random hearing aid would be selected and stuck in the child’s ear, then they would ask the child if they could hear anything.  If not, they would try a different hearing aid.  Once the child could hear something, they would then ask the child if it was too loud or soft.  Once the child said it was okay, the child was then asked to make nonsense sounds.  The child was also supposed to response to sounds (e.g. clapping behind them).  This was a bit problematic with many of our students because some of them don’t have language and so many of our students are young.  What baffled me was I didn’t see a single audiogram and I didn’t see any indication on the paperwork that would suggest a child had a certain type of hearing loss/hearing aids.

They were then sent over to yet another line/station where they were taught how to use their hearing aids (e.g. don’t get it wet, put batteries in/out, how to turn it on/off, etc.).  For some reason they didn’t feel the need to teach the younger kids how to take care of their hearing aids.  I’m pretty sure I learned at a young age how to take care of mine and I know many deaf kids are expected to be responsible for that as well.

Kids were rewarded with stickers and a medal.

We then piled back onto the bus and headed back to the school.

More to come later……

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100 Days of Aural Rehab: Week #11

I took my weekly test a day early because I’m not sure if I’ll have time to take it tomorrow.

On Monday I decided it was time to start wearing my CIs in the classroom again.  I only lasted a few days during the first term with my CIs in the classroom for many different reasons……

I was just utterly confused by lip-reading one thing and hearing a whole different thing because of the Kenya accent (it still throws me off but I can handle it better now).

I wanted to establish the fact that I am not hearing nor am I hard-of-hearing. I am deaf and I rely on sight more than on what I hear with the CIs.  It is important to me that people are aware of this because it does affect how we communicate and if communication is successful or not.

I wanted teachers and students to get into the habit of communicating with me in sign language so I could improve my KSL skills.  This also helped avoid some communication confusions due to my difficulties lip-reading the different accent.

I just couldn’t cope with all the new environmental sounds while coping with every single thing being different/new in a new country with different languages being spoken around me (there are over 40 tribes and each have their own language, throw in Swahili, and then English with the Kenya accent).  I was just overwhelmed with all the different new sounds.  Everything I had learned before sounded differently (e.g. even my name sounds different because of the way it’s said here in Kenya).  Rain sounds different because of the metal roof and no ceilings.  So many new animal sounds that I had never heard before.

The list could go on and on and on and on and on……bottom line is it’s complicated…..but I did miss wearing my CIs all day long.

I finally decided it was time to get back to wearing it in the classroom.  I adapted really quickly time around, it has been a lot less stressful, and I have not had any issues with it except for the fact that things sound quieter/poorer quality by the end of the day (not sure if I’m just tired or if I need a new MAP).

Today’s test results:  78%

Most of the ones I missed were when girls were either yelling or moving things around in the dorms and I couldn’t hear the whole word.

I think I’m back on track (I hope).  Now to see if I can get a 80% next week then I can officially move to the Intermediate Level.

100 Days of Aural Rehab: Week #10

Well, yet another off week.  I dropped out of the 70% range.

Pre-test:  60%

Week #10 test:  68%

After slacking off on aural rehab for a while, I finally got back to doing it again.  I did notice a difference in my ability to pick up some sounds that I usually can without any problems during the test today (e.g. “s”).  Not sure if it’s because I was slacking off, need a new map, am bored with doing the same thing over and over, am tired, or just having an off day.

Either way, I’m back to doing aural rehab more often.  Sometimes it’s hard to make certain things a habit!  🙂

Dry Season Round #2

No one uses the terms “winter,” “summer,” “fall,” or “spring” in Kenya.  The only terms used to describe seasons are “wet” and “dry.”

There’s the long dry season, short dry season, long wet season, and short wet season.

The long dry season was a bit longer this year and lasted from about December-early April.  Then we had our long wet season from mid-April until late-June.  We’re now starting the second dry season of the year and we already have water problems.


It’s only July and the dry season lasts until about September.  I think it’s more likely that we’ll get occasional rain here and there than it was during the first dry season of the year.

Some of the water tanks on the school campus are about halfway empty already.  I still have water available to me though.

There’s a water tank (collected rainwater) that is supposed to be only for me and the housemama but oftentimes the girls get a hold of the key and use it.  I try not to say anything because I feel like the spoiled and greedy American trying to keep all the water to myself when there are other people who need it.

Although, the deputy headmaster did mention to the students during assembly (I didn’t say anything about the water whatsoever but either he noticed or the housemama said something) that “Kelly doesn’t know where to get water in the village, right?  She doesn’t know the village, right?  So we need to make sure she has water.”

We still have 4 weeks of the 2nd term to go…..not good when you’re low on water…

Am hoping we get some rain soon.  It would be nice to not have to worry about fetching water, worrying about students trying to cross the dirt road (we have road construction going on right now so direction of traffic is a bit confusing and once it’s paved…..traffic is going to pick up and vehicles are going to be speeding which our students are not used to), and not worrying about if I’ll be able to teach all of my classes (oftentimes, students leave school before the end of the school hours to fetch water before sundown and so that the cooks can cook their dinner early enough).

Water….so simple yet complicated, so essential, makes the world go ’round….

How do I…….Use Credit Cards/Debit Cards in Kenya?

I just realized I never got around to typing up those “How do I….” posts I said I would do.

I’m going to have to think these posts out a bit more because instead of doing things differently….it’s my norm now.

I do not have any recent pictures of my “stove,” “bathroom,” etc. so those posts will have to wait.  I figured I might as well as type up how one uses credit/debit cards in Kenya because I’m not going to be posting pictures of my card on the Internet anytime soon.

During training each PCV sets up an account with a certain bank.  Outside of Nairobi, you can’t really use credit/debit cards for anything except mayyybeeee Nakumatt (on your lucky day), touristy hotels (which we never stay at, too pricey), and withdrawing money.

Even in Nairobi, it’s hit and miss.

There were a couple of times when I was out with some other PCVs and none of our cards would work when needing to withdraw money from the ATM.  There’s also a chance that the machine may eat your card, it happened a few times to some of my fellow PCVs during training.

Typically, you walk into a separate room to use the ATM machine at a bank that usually has a guard standing outside of it.    People will wait outside and enter one at a time.

I actually haven’t used my card to pay for any meals at any restaurants.  While we use cards throughout the day in America, Kenya is still a very cash-oriented country.

Meaning you have to make sure you have enough cash in advance for everything.  Not something that our generation is used to.  🙂

Also, none of my banks in my marketing town can ever seem to tell me what my balance or give me receipts.

My marketing town grocery store sometimes accept cards, sometimes they don’t.  You never know……

Even with places like Nakumatt (think Wal-Mart), it’s easier to just use cash instead of a plastic card if you can.  When I have to use my card, something like this usually happens at Nakumatt.

*Me at checkout*:  “Here’s my card”

*Cashier*:  Pulls out a piece of paper, writes down information from the card, asks for passport number, and asks for a photo id (I give Kenya props for this…they actually ask for photo id when you use your credit/debit card). Enters something into the computer, prints off something, hands that piece of paper to the bagger.

*Bagger*:  “Leave your stuff here and come with me to the customer service desk.”

*Me*:  Wanders over and hope that my card decides to work today (it’s hit-and-miss).

*Me, Bagger, Customer Service*:  Wait and watch as my card doesn’t go through.  Tries another machine.  No luck, tries a 3rd machine.  Still doesn’t go through….my bank must be down today.  Realize I don’t have enough cash with me but thankfully I have my America card which I hate using because of the International fee.  America card doesn’t go through on first attempt but goes through on the second attempt.  Yay!  Customer service guy prints off something, I sign it, bagger takes paper back over to cashier person.

*Bagger and I head back over to the cashier*:  I’m relieved to see that my stuff is still there.  Stuff that I just paid for.  I wait until the cashier is done serving a customer so that I can cut back into line.  Bagger then gives cashier the paper from customer service. Cashier prints off my receipt.

*I head out of Nakumatt giddy with all the awesome stuff that I can’t get in my village*


I’ve never had an official successful garden.  Sure, I’ve planted a few things over the year as part of elementary class school experiments and flowers as well.  I may have tried to start a small garden as a kid but I don’t remember anything edible growing from it….I’m not even sure if anything grew….

I used to love getting fresh green peppers from my grandparent’s backyard garden….yum!

Students at my school do some farming (cheaper than purchasing food to cook for meals).  They generally farm kale and maize (corn).

I kind of want a small garden when I get back to the States next year.  Maybe cucumbers and green peppers.  Although it would be pretty awesome to have apple and orange trees.  😀