Jambo rafaiki! Habari yako? (Hey readers. How are you?)
I am going to learn Swahili if it kills me.
Anyway I figured I’d update you guys on a few stories that have happened lately.
So here in Kenya the rules of the road aren’t so much rules as polite suggestions like “wouldn’t it be nice if we all drove on the same side of the road?” You can guess that walking the streets can be a little dangerous. One should always be checking their six if you catch my drift. (for those of you don’t it means look behind you). I learned this lesson personally on Saturday.
Well walking down the street in the city Narok I met this guy Jay who also happens to be a counselor. We were walking along a road discussing the best way to teach kids safe sex when suddenly I heard a scream and felt myself being pulled through the air. I looked to my right to see a truck, yes a TRUCK, missing me by so close that the mirror hit my ar- and left a quite nasty scratch. Luckily Jay had pulled me out of the way right in time essentially saving my life.
Now here is the funny part of the story. The driver stopped the truck to ask if I was all right and apologized profusely. Then got back in his car and drove away. About 15 minutes later he drove past again, this time at a safe distance, and honked at us and waived asking how my arm was and told us to have a nice day. This is a wonderful metaphor for Kenyan culture; as soon as someone says sorry the issue is completely over. No grudges, no need to fight, no need to argue just move on with your life. This is why many issues are settled out of court. The people here see no reason to allow their lives to be infected by anger.
And here is another great metaphor for the culture.
On a matatu yesterday, meaning the small overcrowded insane buses, well getting onto the bus a man asked me if I would mind holding something. I agreed thinking at worst it would be a small child or a package as I have ridden the buses with both of these things on my lap. Little did I know that what he was going to hand me was not a briefcase or an infant but three, YES THREE, chickens tied together. Live chickens. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever held a live chicken, let alone three, but they are loud smelly creatures. I have also decided they have quite an insidious look to them- as if they are ready to attack at a moments notice. Luckily I was able to put the chickens on the floor where one of the chickens snuggled up to my foot.
The metaphor here being….only white girls are afraid of chickens here.
Just kidding. The insight this provides is that here in Kenya that people here think of favors as something anyone will do for anyone. Why shouldn’t we all be kind to eachother? Because if I’d wanted to I could have jumped of the matatu with his chickens and made quite a bundle, and yet this man trusted me with what was most likely his only livelihood.
Oh here is another story. On a different matatu a different chicken laid an egg. Literally. A woman got on with four chickens and when she got off we found a warm egg on the ground.
There is no metaphor here. That’s just weird.
Other metaphorless but funny tidbits are-
I am now the most popular girl here in Mulot as I rapped the first verse of gin and juice. Thank God for that cover.
One of the Form One boys, so what we would call a freshman in highschool, has fallen madly in love with Liz- a friend of mine I think most of you have met, because he saw her through skype.
Two prostitutes asked me to buy them beer because I am white. Those were their exact words.
In other news…WE MADE OUR GOAL TO KEEP FELISTER IN SCHOOL! That makes me so happy I can’t breathe. I was terrified of failing this girl. I am so scared of failing here.
Luckily on parents day someone told me that I wouldn’t be able to get the girls into the US- thus guaranteeing that I will risk life and limb to get this girls in just to prove that man wrong.
Otherwise it’s mostly quiet here, which is kind of bad because it gives me more time to miss home.
Yesterday a friend of mine named Dennis asked me if I missed Chicago and I burst into tears. FYI girls crying freaks out Kenyan guys as much as it does American guys.
Don’t get me wrong I’m still busy but only physically busy. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to fetch water, wash your clothes by hand, boil the water to clean it, walk a kilometer to buy some milk etc. All of these things are pretty simple so I can drift off to home a lot.
That is until I fall into the slick mud or am carrying the water back to my room. When I am carrying the water all I can think about is how much the water weighs and how much I love whoever invented thick plastic handles for buckets- as opposed to thin wire ones that cut into your skin.
Anyway I am rambling. So I will sign off and write a better blog later.
Love/Miss/ Can’t wait to see you/ Wish you were here.
Pendo Pendo Pendo! (Love Love Love)