I have finally gotten past my jet lag and woke up mostly refreshed this morning. After a short lecture from my mom about the importance of eating breakfast I put on my shoes and was out the door. Sorry mom, but you try eating the same thing very day.
It rained during the night so I walked the half mile to school in the mud, evasively maneuvering around puddles.
When I arrived I went to the pre-unit class where the children were very happy to see me.
They began singing and dancing as part of their early morning routine. It went something along the lines of, “when I started school I wasn’t very smart. But now I speak good English, I can write, I have money in my pocket, wisdom in my head and Jesus in my heart. To my teachers and my parents I salute you!” Then they say the Our Father before class begins.
The kids were so cute. They like being tickled, you’d think no one has ever done that before. The run up to me shouting “teacher Nikki!” And raise their arms so I can tickle them. I made the mistake of putting hand sanitizer on, they smelled it and when they realized it was coming from my hands they started grabbing them and smelling them. Then they started rubbing their hands on mine so they could smell like me.
I got frustrated with the kids at one point when a girl started crying because another girl hit her. I didn’t expect that to actually happen.
It was amusing at school when Virginia stopped by after getting her hair braided. It looked awesome and then Dantilla (a teacher at the school) came over with a conditioner in her hair to make it soft “like ours.” Mila commented that “women always want what they dont have. [Virginia] wants her hair to be hard like Dantilla’s and [Dantilla] wants her hair soft like [Virginia’s].”
It’s funny to my that no matter the country or the culture, we are all inherently the same.
I have to admit it is rough living here. Every time I take a shower there are flies and today I had to basically take a sponge bath because the water was too hot and only a small stream of water came out of the faucet. And every time I eat I have to check each bit for bugs. The flies cover everything and are everywhere. As an added bonus, turns out I have bed bugs. Truth be told, I am officially homesick. Surprisingly I haven’t screamed at the sight of bugs, I just lose my appetite so I am barely eating.
I am amazed that while I am in Kenya I am learning about German culture and some words like dornroschen which means Sleeping Beauty, something Virginia called me the last two days here when I was suffering from intense jet lag. And apparently us Americans do not portray ourselves very well. German people watch our movies and think it is the the perfect representation. Lydia asked me if Americans eat smarties candies on our pizza because she saw it in The Princess Diaries.
I laughed and said no way, that does not sound good. Turns out she tried it because she thought that’s what Americans ate so it must taste good.
It’s so nice to be meeting people here to hang out with. It keeps my mind off home for a while.
We walked onto the dirt covered streets perusing the vendors. People called out to us “mzungu! Mzungu!” Meaning white girl. It takes me back to middle school when my Spanish friends would call me gringa.
We were looking for a snack before dinner and I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything. Bugs covered all of the food from fruits to fish. I finally settled on some fried that were in a covered container. I still had to pick a bug or two off. For a woman who HATES bugs, all of this is a major achievement.
We don’t realize how lucky we are at home to be able to do the simple things. Like go to the bathroom without having to make sure there isn’t a cockroach in there or buy a vendor dog without worrying that there might be bugs on it, or even sit down to dinner at your kitchen table and take a bit of food with not thought other than to just enjoy the taste.
There is so much we take for granted and it makes me feel guilty. At the end of the day I can leave all this behind if I choose to. The people here don’t have the option to go home. This IS home. And they just make the best of it with a smile on their face.