Saturday, July 11, 2009 Comment0 Comments

It's been a great week so far. We have finally slowed on our traveling and stuck around the Centre for an entire 7 day week. It has been awesome. It's nice to just be able to relax and hang out with the kids and not be worrying about where we are going or how we are going. The kids are really starting to open up to us and I have really been connecting with a good number of the boys. Given that my Upper Primary class is all boys and Nature Club is all boys, it only makes sense. The good thing for me is that a few of the kids overlap between class and club, so I get to see them all the time. In Social Studies I have been helping/teaching the kids African Geography. When we first started off, there was only a handful of countries that they could name off, but after a couple weeks of blank maps and word searches they can name almost every country in Africa. Now they are starting to be able to locate and label them correctly on the map as well. It's been really good to see progress from the kids as well as their enthusiasm. I can actually feel like I am contributing as a teacher. The best part about teaching this summer perhaps, is that this whole experience has cemented in my mind my career path. I love teaching and can't see myself doing anything else for a living that would make me any happier.

Clubs have been going super awesome as well. There has been one minor hiccup in Nature Club though. In honor of kindergarten classes back home, I decided to let the kids grow beans using a paper towel and plate (in place of Ziploc bags...try finding those in Kenya). My thought was that if we kept them watered and placed them in the greenhouse, all would be okay. This was not true, keeping them water wasn't the hard part, keeping them undisturbed was. So finally, when I found the plates completely turned over and the beans spilled everywhere, I decided to try something else. I just used my one and only Ziploc back and put new beans in them and placed in on our roof. Ain't no way they get knocked over there. So we are a little behind on our bean plants but they are coming along...again. The other cool thing that we did in Nature Club this week was a Virtual Safari to Samburu. I had taken the kids the river on Monday and they took a few pictures and videos (oh yeah, we saw MONKEYS!). They were all real excited to see the pics and vids so I told them I would put them on a computer so that it would be big enough for everyone to see. Well then I got the idea that maybe I should find a way to use the computer for the whole day of clubs. I settled on a Virtual Safari. I had all the pictures already so all I needed was to organize them. It was quite fun actually. I made a little PowerPoint out of the pictures with some narrations and a few slides of fact about the animals. After all, it had to be a little educational. DeAnna made little fake tickets and we piled around the laptop and pretended to drive. They may have thought we were crazy but I do know the enjoyed it. Since we finished up a little early I let them see some of the other pictures I had on my computer, pictures of America, and it was funny to see their reactions. I am not sure what they expected, and I am not sure they saw what they expected either haha.

Best story of the week:
So DeAnna and I have been walking to the river almost daily now and yesterday our friend Ciru decided to come with us. Before we departed we decided to hit up the corner shop for some Fanta (pronounced FAHNTAH). Well as we were peacefully strolling down the 100yd route, we hear some ruckus behind us. When we turned around what did we see? Not a car. Not a matatu. A camel. That's right, a camel. We've been told that there is only like 1 camel in Nyeri. Well, this must have been it. This was not an ordinary camel however, this camel was in a hurry. He (or she) was on a dead sprint right towards us. Attached to the back of it was a rope with a go-kart type cart on the end. As the camel ran, the kart would swing from side to side. All I could think was that the kart was going to come by us and swipe us right off our feet. Luckily this didn't happen and the camel eventually slowed to a walk. The funniest/strangest part, was that nobody was even chasing after the camel. God knows where it came from. Only in Africa.

So long for now,

Monday, July 06, 2009 Comment2 Comments

Saturday, July 04, 2009 Comment1 Comments

Alright so this is Part 2 of my update since it has been so long in between posts. So I said that I would fill everyone in about the safari so here is the Cliff Notes Version:

On Friday we left Nyeri for a wonderful little place called Sandai Farm. It a ranch that Petra, our guide for the weekend, lives at and operates. We were able to stay in very nice little cottages and enjoy a delicious meal of filet (pronounce the 't') and drink real wine. It was awesome. The funniest part of our stay there was horseback riding. My horse was not really a horse I don't think. I got the mini version. Go figure right, the shortest person there gets the smallest horse. It wasn't really all that fun. Me and Nick were stuck with the special needs horses and DeAnna sat back and laughed while Michelle and Caitlyn galloped off on their wild horses. Very funny actually.

Saturday after a good hearty breakfast (we had real cheese!) we set off in the Land Rover for Samburu National Reserve. It was about a 3 hour drive and at one point we passed through a gate that I am pretty sure was the portal out of civilization. Only way to do it though. When we got to Samburu we went first to our site that we were going to stay at and had lunch. The site that we stayed at actually has a really great story:

It consisted of several houses and a bar that is operated and run by the women of a nearby village. The village is not any ordinary village thought. It is called Umoja Women's Village and it is a very traditional village except that it is only women and their children. It was started by Samburu women who wanted to leave their homes and husbands for several reasons that mostly relate to the traditions of the tribe. These traditions allow husbands to abuse their wives (emotionally and physically) as they please, prohibit women from receiving formal education, and generally disregard the individual rights of the tribal women. In addition to this, female circumcisions are a long standing tradition within the tribe and despite modern medical advances and efforts to dissuade this practice it continues today. So this village has since flourished and now houses a nursery and school, cultural museum, and mini-market that allows the women to sell their beadwork and crafts in order to generate a very minuscule income. The village also asks its visitors to pay an admission fee that helps to supply the women with important goods and services like clean water. While we were visiting the village the woman greeted us with a traditional welcoming song and dance and walked us back to our camp site while singing a goodbye song. Coolest thing ever. It was so awesome to see a completely different side of Kenya and get a taste of the more traditional life and practices.

The actual safari was absolutely awesome. Here is proof:


So today is July 4th. Or was we normally say, the 4th of July. That means that in exactly a month we will be boarding a plane and heading back to the States. Michelle left yesterday for Puerto Rico and that was weird enough to see her say goodbyes, I can't imagine what it will be like when it is our turn. Speaking of Michelle, it is already weird around here now that she is gone. She was just another part of the team it seemed like and now it's a bit strange.

This last month is going to fly by I just know it. I already cant fathom that its been six weeks. It feels like last week that we were just stepping off the plane, wide-eyed and exhausted yet ready to go. I must be honest and say that when the time comes I will be very ready to get home. Yet at the same time, I already feel that I will not be spending enough time here. It is such an irony that you can only understand when your here on a trip like this.

Until next time.