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Weekly Wrap Up #10

May 7, 2010

This week brought a lot of laughter and some tears. As with all good things, this time in Kenya must too end, and this week I had to say goodbye to my older host brother, Alvin, and my good friend and fellow intern, Nick as well as our IPC, Kirsten. I think there’s a passage in one of the Harry Potter books that says it best: “There are just some things that you can’t go through without ending up good friends” and moving halfway across the world seems to have been one of those things. I will greatly miss laughing with Alvin, our intellectual conversations, and answering all of his questions about the states. To Nick, I will greatly miss your sense of humor, whining and complaining about stuff in Kenya, and our endless discussions on food. I hope that the 50 piece bucket of chicken McNuggets is as good as you imagined.  To Kirsten, I’ll be sending you that email about the veggie Subway sub very shortly after I get back! And, despite your age 😉 you were an awesome leader and friend.

General Observations and Witty Remarks:

  • Soap operas, especially English-dubbed telanovelas from Latin America are incredibly popular here. Most of the afternoon and evening TV slots are filled with these types of programs. Only one has managed to catch my interest – Marimar. But now that the kids are back in school, it’s work work work all the time!
  •  Vacuum cleaners are strange here. There’s evidently one that’s been sitting in the living room of my home for the last 3 months and I only realized what it was yesterday. More like a round metal canister on wheels
  • If I ever get lung cancer, I’m sure it will be from all the smoke I inhale in Kenya. If it’s not burning trash along the road, it’s the jiko (cooker) burning charcoal inside
  • I need to go to the doctor early next week for a malaria check up – make sure there still aren’t any little buggies living in my blood
  • Every morning, I eat margarine and red plum jam on brown bread. I can’t WAIT for cereal!
  • Unfortunately, one common thing in Kenya is death-by-matatu. It seems like I can’t go a day without hearing about some matatu crash in the country that claimed x- number of lives. According to the paper, the month of April alone claimed 170 lives due to road accidents. Gives being thankful for American traffic laws a whole new meaning.
  • Work has been incredibly boring in the last couple of weeks (see the post on inefficiency). Makes me want to run a half-marathon every day, just to be able to accomplish something.
  • The male role in the family is strange in Kenya. I know there’s a “dad” in my family – he was here for my first few days in the house. But, I have seen no sign of his presence since then – no mention of him over dinner, no visits, no phone calls, no pictures. I’m not even sure if my host mom is actually married to him or not. (And unfortunately, this appears to be a pretty common type of occurrence in Kenya).
  • On Tuesday night, my mama tricked me! She (and the kids) told me she’d be out of town over night so I was responsible for the kids and such. This didn’t really worry me, until I heard that I was going to have to be up at 5 am to make sure Garry and Betty were ready for school in time. Yuck. The next morning, she laughed and said she wasn’t staying over night. Morning grumpiness averted!
  • Despite the immense number of things you can find on a street in Kenya (trash, car parts, bottle caps, sleeping children), the one thing that I have never spotted is money. Even 50 cent coins (worth 1/2 a shilling or about 1/2 an American penny) are vacant from the streets. I dropped a shilling coin on the sidewalk in front of my office yesterday and it rolled into a murky puddle so I left it, but I guarantee that if I go back today, it won’t be there – puddle or not.
  • I discovered this week that along with malaria, I also contracted a nasty case of amebiasis… or ameobic dysentery.  (I believe that this one was caused by a nasty pathogen called Giardia lamblia). Needless to say, it was less than a fun week. Thankfully, the medicine has FINALLY kicked in and I am feeling better. Here’s to hoping that I don’t get sick again in the next 7 days!!

Favorite Quotes/Words of this week:

  • “Supergetti” — actually, means “spaghetti” but I like the super part better!
  • “Hot Mint” — Garry’s term for mouthwash… and it surprisingly fits really well!
  • “Lala Salami!” — it’s technically “lala salama” which means “sleep well” but salami just sounds more funny – “sleep like a roll of spicy meat!!”
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