The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love...Kenya

The contents of this website are my own PERSONAL opinion. They do not reflect the opinions, policies, actions, feelings, or eating habits of the Peace Corps, the U.S. Government, any government, shadow governments, or anyone else, for that matter, but ME.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Finally An Update


Hey I am still in Kitui, in training and still being held captive. I would love to tell you what Kenya looks like, but if it isn't being seen out a bus window, or on the 5 miles of walking around Kitui I do everyday, then I don't know it yet. We have managed one field trip that was not run the way my Producer's soul would have liked, but at least I did get to see the really amazingly beautiful area around Mt. Kenya, where they grow the tea and where the British Royals tend to hang out. Next week, we are on a field trip to Niarobi wehre there are many BIG plans to shop, eat and all kinds of general debauchery; that will teach Peace Corps to keep us cut off from FUN. In this little field trip we will be going to the US Embassy's 4th of the July party, so if there is an international incident, do NOT be surprised.

We find out our sites in about a week and a half, then we'll immediatly go for a week of "Future Site Visit" so I will have big news in a bit. That also means that this thing they call training, and I call hazing, is almost half over. Although, I will miss the Kiswahili lessons everyday, I won't miss being at Homestay and being scheduled within an inch of my life. Good thing is, Peace Corps will pay for continued Kiswahili lessons once I am at site, and I will need them.

Ok, letters...WHERE ARE THEY!!?? I have to give props to the current tote board leader, Lisa B, with a total of three received letters. Thanks girl, I knew you'd have my back. I have also gotten areograms from Gaye, Sabrina and Grandma (thanks Grams!). I got a super short letter from Kristin, but she was about to start a Trey job, so she is totally forgiven for that, and has all my, ahem, encouragement. Otherwise, I better be hearing from you soon. Right now it is difficult to get to email because of too many factors to list, but easy to guess.

Oh, and a HUGE shout out to JP who has sent be a BOX and I am dying to get it. Now, this brings up an interesting point, travel time for letters and packages. I don't know it exactly, but it is looking like two weeks for a letter and could be forever for packages. I sent long-ass letters to Sabrina, Lisa (x2), Gaye, Kristin, and Nioka, and Areograms to Mom and Grandma, so when I get the report on how long it took them to get those, I'll know the Africa to US time (but I hear it is about three weeks). Just and FYI though, the US post office actually has NO CLUE how long it takes to get a package to Kenya, even when they tell you 10 days. Oh, and about customs charges, I don't have to pay any for at least my first three months here, Peace Corps picks them up, so send away for the next two weeks. That brings me to the things I am in dire need of (or at least think I am, my standards keep lowering by the day!).

First, thank you so much for wanting to supply me with the goodies that make American life so cushy, it means a lot that y'all are eager to go through the hassel! Don't forget to read the mailing instructions on the website, and when declaring what is in the package, make it as general and generic as possible. Put clothes, educational materials, supplies, just do not put what is really in there. OK, now this may sound sad, but you haven't fought it out with African batteries, so Batteries will ALWAYS be welcome!!! I am using AA and AAA battereis. And for my electronics, I would love it if you could drop in some of those Energizer lithium batteries, I know they are pricey, but I just ran my CD player on one of those for 3 weeks, and I use my CD player A LOT. Pictures of what yall have been up to and general pictures of the houses (or farm) and general american stuff would be great!

Candy and gum, as absurd as that sounds, I could use some cherry life savers, starbursts, extra spirement gum, cherry twizzlers...general crap that is awful for you but valued currency amongst my co-tainees and something I can horde for the bad days. Ok, I can't remember what else, just anything is a HUGE deal for me, so make it goofy, practical or silly, I don't care and I will LOVE it!!!!!

So, to wrap it us, everything is going fine here. I should tell you a bit about my homestay family (sorry for the disjointed thoughts, but I am limited on time and tired from the 4 mile walk up and down hills just to get here). The mama is a nurse at the Kitui hospital (what a conwinkydink, eh). The Baba is a teacher at the deaf school. They have one 11 year old son still at home and two shamba boys (farm hands). One of them is deaf, so I have learned more KSL (Kenyan Sign Language) at homestay than I have Kiswahili. They are nice folks, but I have lived independantly to really cope well with being at a homestay. I made dinner for them the other night (penne pasta and tomatoe sauce, heavy on the garlic) and I don't think they were to fond of it. I wanted to say see, that is how I feel about Ugali and pigeon peas, but I would never do that. They are very reserved and have and fairly nice place, especially be Kenyan standards. And contrary to my own thoughts, bucket baths and pit laterines are not that difficult to deal with. The village where my homestay family lives is about 3-4 miles away from training and town, so I have gotten plenty of walking in. Also, everyone elses villages are pretty far from me too, so it feels like endless walking some days (and no, I am not skinnier -- the Univers is saying something). It is also a very hilly place. Dark happens around 7pm so we need to be back at the homestay by 6-ish pm. And let me tell you, if there is no moon, Conrad was serious about Darkness, cuz Africa gets DARK. We eat dinner at about 8:30pm and am in bed by 9:00pm. I try to read by headlamp for awhile, but I know Mama will be up at 4:30am to begin dropping buckets on the floor and whatever other general mayham goes on, so I do fall asleep early. They have 4 cows that need milking, so I guess that is why they get up. Myself, I'd get those cows on a better schedule! Also, sleep is a wierd thing because of the malaria med I am on, Laruim. It gives you really VIVID dreams and makes sleep sometimes a hard thing to come by. I am hoping it settles down soon, but until then, Karibu Kenay (welcome to Kenya).

Well, I am excited to learn where my site will be. Training is interesting, and the community based stuff is the best. We have already met some REALLY amazing people living with AIDS and I can't wait to start work. Hope to hear from y'all soon. I miss you so much and I hope all is well.


  • At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey~~thanks 4 the update !!
    You go gurl ...Betty in Calif.

  • At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy 4th of July to all n have a "fun Field Trip "[shop a lot] ~~+


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