Surprisingly, for the second time this week I’ve been given the opportunity to get on the internet.
Kenya has two rainy seasons, one of which started today. Throughout the next two months the area of Africa that I am spending time in will receive anywhere between two and four hours of rain everyday. This is a little daunting, but may also come as a welcomed relief after all of the sunny days we’ve been having. After having spent the last two years living so close to the Arctic Circle, it is quite the change of pace to be living just a few kilometers from the equator. The sun here goes directly overhead, and it seems to know that it is the boss around these parts. Everything I do during my days here are dictated by the sun – how much sunscreen to put on, what clothing to wear, how much time should be spent in the shade, whether I should go outside at all. I’m being careful, making sure my skin never knows what it is like to get a Kenyan sunburn.
I’ve stepped away from the kids this evening to write this post. Today, a donation was made to the orphanage and it was my job to distribute 42 new toothbrushes to the kids. I had all of the brushes ready to go with the names of each child written on each brush with permanent marker. After getting swarmed by the kids, eager to get their new belongings, they returned their brushes to me, each pointing out that their name had rubbed off in the process of brushing. Dang, I knew it was too easy to be true.
A few interesting facts about what life here is like:
Taking a bath: The only water here comes out of a well, one tiny well, which is used for everything. I’m given a small bucket of water for each bath, which is nothing more than a poor sponge bath once every few days. I’ve never been this dirty in my life, and although I feel gross, it doesn’t really matter because nobody cares what I look like here. The one thing that is worth cleaning everyday is my feet. The roads and paths around here are all made out of red dirt, which looks and feels very gross, especially after it has been collecting on me all day.
Eating: Meals here are provided; however, it seems to be a variety of the same thing at each meal. I hope that that makes sense. A typical breakfast is a few pieces of white bread (untoasted) and a cup of tea. Lunch is a mixture of beans. Dinner is rice and beans or beans and ugali (a corn mixture which if you never try it in your lifetime will be too soon). When it comes to what I miss from home, food is the thing that comes to mind first. Sally and I are the only volunteers here at this time and we spend a good portion of each day discussing what we are going to eat first once we are out of here.
Laundry: Dirty clothes comes with the territory of being dirty in general. Here, all laundry is done by hand, which means scraping the dirt out of clothing with a brush. It’s very therapeutic, but I have sympathy for the woman who does laundry here as a full time job – her hands must be so raw.
It is about 8pm here in Kenya and this will conclude Day 11 for me here. Yesterday, which I am referring to as “DAY 10” was a bad day, I was physically depleted and ready for a break. But today I feel right back in it. Each day I fall in love with a new child and I feel a great need of responsibility to make sure that they are taken care of. Anyone have a problem with me bringing four or five Kenyan first graders home?
The adventure continues, life here is simple, but beautiful. I look forward to sharing photos and stories upon my return to North America. Each time I get on the internet here I feel overwhelmed to the point where I don’t feel like I’m doing this place justice.
I will write again soon.