Alisa becomes a Role Model and Fist Bump Promoter

The school parent meeting was on Friday, so for several days everyone was preparing for the parents arrival. For me that meant listening to several hours of poem presentations and succeeding in getting them to say greaT instead of greaS.

I was looking forward to meeting my students parents, seeing the 7th graders be promoted to 8th, and watching the student entertainment, but the meeting didn’t go quiet as I expected. The  entertainment was enjoyable and I was very proud of the students who performed, but most parents didn’t come and many of those who came left early. The result- several lonely and homesick children.

The parents I did have the privilege of being introduced were very friendly and truly interested in how their children were progressing in English.They also wanted to insure that I felt welcomed in Kenya and Continue reading

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Amosi from Kunya

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 Recovers from Bug and Teaches Grammar!

Alisa has gotten over the infection/virus/bacteria that has plagued her for the past week as she adjusted to life in Kenya. She was taken to the nearest hospital earlier in the week for a malaria test, which was negative, and is finally regaining her appetite and strength. She is currently living with Emanuel, a school teacher with 4 children, near the town of Kilgoris. During the past week she and a group of other volunteers from the British Isles and the US put together latrines for the school, and also moved in beds for the boys’ dormitory in anticipation of the approaching school year. Emanuel’s school has been set up to prepare children for the national high school entrance exams that determine which high school you will be admitted to. Two of Emanuel’s own children attend boarding school two hours away in anticipation for these exams. Alisa has learned that public schools do little to prepare children for high school, as they adjurn for the day at noon. Thus Emanuel has set up his school for the children of the region. Continue reading