A quick update from here in California:
Our site URL has become simply theafricanfile.com, taking over from our World Cup site, which will receive a make over and become better stocked with out videos and photos. In the meantime you can check out the YouTube channel and MobileMe gallery which contains the media from our two months in Southern Africa this past winter. Check out these links below:
As a result of the URL change, some of our links are broken and don’t properly link to the blog posting they should. The search bar on the right hand side has been updated and you can also search for specific topics by clicking on either of the two tag clouds on the right.
Alisa has made it to her final village in Kenya, near Kitale, which is just a few hours north of where she was before near Kisumu: Continue reading
Amosi is “I greet you” in Luo.
I am now living amongst people from the Luo tribe or aka Obama’s tribe. Luo is a difficult language to pick up because the words are very long with sounds that I am not accustomed to making. I’m trying to learn 2 Swahili words a day because it is much easier to learn and more widely used.
I live in Kunya village on the edge of Lake Victoria. I have a cement hut with a nice big bed and electricity. I am supposed to have running water for my toilet and shower, but that hasnt happened yet, so Im still using a latrine and bucket bathing. The food is delicious, but we dont have as many vegi’s as I had at Emmanuels and we eat ugali on a regular basis, which I am not a big fan of. Ugali is mashed up corn that mixed with water makes this sold consistence and then they role it into a ball and eat it.
I am teaching English at Kunya Primary School 3 mornings a week. I enjoy working with the students. On Friday I introduced them to the concept of getting stars and smiley faces on their work when they do a good job. I couldnt believe how excited they got, one would think it was Christmas morning. Next week I am bringing stickers!
Although I loved seeing the students smiles and bright eyes, it did not last long. Hitting children with sticks as a form of punishment is still used in schools and right after I was finished teaching another teacher came in and smacked kids with a stick on their hands, legs and butts for forgetting to bring their school fees and firewood. I wanted to cry and I had to leave the room or I would have screamed at the teacher. We have been told by our program to walk away from things that we are not accustomed to but are a regular part of Kenyan life, so I did. But later when asked I told the teachers that I would never use a stick on a child and explained to them how we punish children back home.
The other two days of the week I work at the dispensary/clinic weighting patients, dispensing meds and other office tasks.
I have so much more to write but my escort to Kisumu has already finished her time on the internet and I dont want to keep her waiting.
Despite the school incident with the stick I am loving my stay in Kunya.
Alisa has made it to Mama na Dada, the next stop on her volunteering expedition. The journey was taken with 3 different minibuses, and completed on the back of a motorbike. Apparently Alisa rode with the driver, and the food, while her bag went on another motorbike with another volunteer. If any pictures surface of this ride, you can be sure they will be posted.
Here’s a map of Alisa’s approximate location. She says she has a view of the lake from the village, and the village is 80kms west of Kisumu.
She also made friends with another Arsenal supporter, and she says Premier League kits and memoribilla are all around in the resturants and on the steets. Apparently a women’s soccer tournament is being prepared at Mama na Dada, but Alisa leaves before it takes place. I think she will try to see if her departure can be changed, as she missed out on the HIV/AIDS awareness tournament that she was supposed to run at another village before her itinerary changed.
I’m off to Los Angeles this week, so the next update may come at the end of the week. Alisa says she is heading to Kisumu on Satruday to use the internet cafe. Additionally, she has better coverage now, so skyping her should be easier than it has been in the past two weeks. See the top right hand side of our blog’s home page for the number.
The school that Alisa has been teaching at threw her a prolonged birthday bash today with multiple renditions of happy birthday, poems, prayers for another good year, as well as sprinkling her head with water that will bless her for another year.
She received a beaded masaai belt from Emanuel’s wife and a bracelet that looks like the Kenyan flag from the children at the school. She had chicken for lunch that was specifically slaughtered for her, as per her request, because they had been eating so much beef. They threw it together with rice and peas, so they really knew how to put together an Alisa-approved meal.
Everyone loved her guacamole from last night, which she said was missing cumin, but Emanuel was going to get her some for tonight’s batch. She’s not sure if her chicken was all used up for lunch or what was being prepared for tonight. She said they were using pita-like bread to dip into the guacamole.
She talked about how today she was introduced to the children with down syndrome at Emanuel’s school and how sweet they were to her. Usually kids afflicted by the disease in Kenya are kept hidden away from society but Emanuel was able to convince their parents to send them to his school. Not only does that not isolate the children, but teaches the other kids how to be nice to people that are different than them. You can hear in Alisa’s voice how much she is enjoying working with the children. I think they are the ones keeping her from getting homesick. She took lots of pictures and videos of them today, and I suggested that she give one of the kids her Flip tomorrow to see what they’re able to record.
Alisa was watching Emanuel’s cows tonight, who were trying to escape, but you can still call or txt her at: +254 735630172