Kenya Travel

Sunday, July 15

At four o’clock in the morning the neighbors decided that it would be a really great time to play their music as loud as possible, which also upset our rooster. If it was this loud here in my room, I have to assume the people standing next to the music have done some serious hearing damage. I heard doors opening and closing, so I clearly wasn’t the only person they woke up. At 4:45, they finally turned it down. I wonder if the other neighbors went and said something to them. People here are more friendly and generally more courteous than at home. It is considered polite to talk to people you don’t know for several minutes in greeting. It’s interesting to me that manners are a virtue here, but people trying to sell goods or a matatu ride feel okay about getting up in people’s faces and trying to manipulate others into buying from them. Joshua, the man I bought jewelry from at 14 Falls, was the most polite salesman I have met here. He didn’t harass me to buy anything and he didn’t charge me more just because I am a mzungu. I need to be more aggressive about bargaining, but I am not very good at it and my time here is so short. It will be strange going back to the states where prices are fixed and strangers ignore you. Being here has caused me to grow in ways I am not even sure I could explain if I tried. I had never seen such poverty or such a different quality of life. I think America should require civil/volunteer service. If our government really wanted to help other countries and help Americans be thankful for everything they have, they would make Peace Corps service mandatory. This morning, I walked with James into Makuyu to get some of the pictures he took on his field trip. On Friday, the kids went to see parliament, the animal orphanage, a museum, and an aquarium. They got to have soda as a special treat. The man who printed the pictures for James wasn’t there when we arrived, so James went to a man to get a few songs put on his iPod (a gift from one of the volunteers that would DEFINITELY be taken away if Geoffrey knew about it) and I went and bought a lightbulb for the office, a bottle of water, and a bigger and better flashlight. Then I took James to the blue hotel in Makuyu, where he ate mandazi and stew and had chai tea. We went back to where the photo developing was and I paid for all but 180 ksh of the photos. They were printed on kodak photo paper on a laser jet printer. It would have been better for me to print them at home and mail them here. We went back to the orphanage and a group of about twenty visitors came. They brought maize, rice, milk, biscuit cookies, shoes, blankets, and some other supplies. We walked them around and showed them areas that could be improved.  One of the staff members gave me and Mary the opportunity to talk with the community members by ourselves, which was nice because we were able to be more frank with them about our concerns.  There is a window that has been broken for two years, there are rooms full of stuff the kids don’t get to use, and the children are working every second of the day that they aren’t in school  We also discussed how we could collaborate with them to work from America to make a positive impact. Then we took the kids to Blackie’s soccer game. They had a really great time and Blackie scored two goals. Afterwards, we walked Blackie home and Peris, John Mwangi, and I hung out at his house for a while. Peris, Margaret, and Mary’s father, Peos, was there.   I would have gotten in big trouble if Geoffrey knew that I had even hung out with Blackie, let alone that I took the kids to his soccer game.  Geoffrey doesn’t like Blackie because Blackie stood up for what is best for the kids.  Anyone who realizes and speaks out about the corruption at WWB gets fired pretty quickly.  The kids say staff members and kids get fired all the time.  That means that kids are kicked out a lot, too.  The kids and I walked back to the orphanage, ate dinner, and went to sleep.

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