The power has been out the past two days. Even the slightest rain will cause WiFi to shut down and power to go out. It poured all night so hard even my ear plugs couldn’t keep out the sound. It didn’t help that I was in bed at 8:30 p.m. like some old woman. After a fitful night’s sleep I woke to the rooster directly outside my window. He must have been angry about the we at because he was LOUD and instead of going off every 15 minutes, it was more like every 2. I strongly considered finding a gun and putting the annoying bird out of his misery.
After getting to school and setting up shop (we were still making letters and pictures for the kids) I realized where the terrible stench in the courtyard was coming from. The toilet the kids use is right in the courtyard (I use the term toilet loosely). It is a small area about the size of a broom closet. There is a wooden door that only locks from the outside and I have seen several kids go in to use the toilet at the same time.
How is that possible you might ask? The toilet is not a conventional toilet, it is a hole in the ground outlined with a plastic rim. A couple times a day a teacher or students dump a bucket of water down the hole, for what purpose I have no idea. All I know is I have to sit in the room right next to it and smell it for 7 hours a day.
I do feel bad for the children, not only do they have to use a substandard toilet, the food we feed them is hardly nutritional. They eat the same food every single day without complaint. We feed them tea and bread in the morning and for lunch they get a small portion of white rice with watered down beans with cabbage. They actually put extra cups of water in the beans to make it a soup-like substance do there is more y o go around. They get a small slice of banana and when i am finished serving the food there is always some pieces of banana left. So I go to give the rest to the kids and they swarm around me. My first thought is they are like vultures crowding around me and trying to get the last crumb of food. Their hands are in front of my face and I raise the tray high above their heads for fear of them knocking it down. They yell “Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!” hoping I will hear them and put a morsel of food in their outstretched hand. The little kids tug on my shirt to get my attention since they are not tall enough for me to see them.
I can’t imagine being so young and having to fight for food because I’m not sure when my next meal will be. And the best part is these kids have such high hopes for the future. When you ask them what they want to be when they grow up you don’t hear the things you’d expect of a 7-year-old. When I was little we said we wanted to be a ballerina or a champion figure skater or professional baseball player. These kids tell you that they want to be a pilot or a lawyer, a doctor or a pastor; proof that they are reaching for a brighter future.
After school Lydia and I shopped around since Virginia was feeling a little sick. When we got back the power was out again so I decided to take a nap. I woke up a half hour later to Lydia telling me the power was on if I wanted to take a shower. Due to the power being out I hadn’t been able to shower for a couple days, since Sunday. Between you and me, I was starting to smell like my roommate. So I jumped (literally) at the opportunity. I ran to the shower just as it started to rain again.
I was so nervous the water would stop while I had soap in my hair, so I took the fastest shower known to man. I’m pretty sure I was done in under 4 minutes.
I’m beginning to get more comfortable here, instead of hiding out in my room all night, I hung out in the living room with the family. It was an interesting scene with Lydia and Virginia on my right talking in German and Mila, Rose and little Joseph on my left speaking in Swahili. I’ve begun to think I am not cultured enough. Every cou mutt ry in the world makes the people learn several languages. I’m America, most of us only know one. I’d like to become more cultured I think. There are so many opportunities available to us, why not take them?