Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Day in My Life

This week, Ruth and I have been travelling around to all of the Kids Alive Kenya homes for various reasons. It’s been so wonderful to spend time with these other members of the KAK family, as well as sort out several things with different people face to face.
When I have the opportunity to talk to friends and family in the States, I'm often asked "so what did you do today?" and when I say things like "I went to the supermarket in town",  they ask "is that it?" and I often feel guilty, like I need more to show for my day, but well, yes. That's all I did today. It often takes more time to complete everyday tasks here than it does in the USA, and often what I set out to do in a day is not at all what I had planned in the first place. Here's an example:

When I arrived at the Nyamarambe home two days ago, I had planned to use my time there to take photos of the kids and staff in their daily routines, collect some stories for a newsletter I’m writing, talk with the home manager about the plans for the Library we’re putting into that home this year and discuss the possibility of sending some service teams there next summer.
When I arrived however, I received a text from the Nairobi office asking me to follow up on some missing progress report photos that needed to be sent to US sponsors a few weeks ago. After some investigating, I learned that the photos had been taken, but the memory card of the camera that had been used was corrupted, making it impossible for the home to send the needed pictures, and the students had all returned to their boarding schools. After some discussion on how we could best obtain the missing photos, the home manager told me that one of the students whose photo we were missing was at a boarding school about 20 kilometers away, and we could travel there the following morning so that I could take the photo and send it in that afternoon. He said the journey would take about 2 hours total, roundtrip.
The next morning I left the home at about 8:30 am on the home’s motorbike and waited in a nearby village as the driver went back for the manager. Once he arrived, we caught two more motor bikes to the nearest town, where we caught a matatu (public transport van) to the town nearest the student’s school. From there we took two more motorbikes to her school where the headmistress allowed us 5 minutes with our student to say hellow and snap our photo. After our brief visit with her, we were released to make our return journey by the same means as we’d come. Along the way I received many puzzled stares (white girls don't usually ride motorbikes around here. If they come here at all, they're usually in airconditioned landrovers with Kenyan drivers), had “mzungu!” (white person!) and “how-ah-you!” yelled at me countless times by children and adults alike, and received one proposition of marriage. I ltold the man as graciously as I could “thank you very much, but no. I do not want to become your second wife and take you to America".
We finally arrived back at the home, very dusty, tired and hungry, but triumphant at having completed our mission of taking one photo, at around 4:30 pm. What a day. Now I just have to figure out how to get the other 10 missing photos J