Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Welcomings and goodbyes...

Yesterday evening right before it gets dark... we were on boda-bodas (bicycle taxis) with my visitor from France and I felt just happy. The sunset was even not beautiful, but overwhelming... It was peaceful evening without rain and everything had gone the way it had to go.

Having a visitor helped me also to realize more, how great and special is the area where I live, the family at who's place I stay and how good is to be here. Today was also Elen's last day in Shianda village. She said that She feels like She has not finished something here. Exactly the feeling I had after I left Kenya last time. She also repeated several times that life in Kenya is somehow very natural and simple. Also the feeling that I couldn't put into the words before, but now it is said.

Yesterday we showed a video about HIV/AIDS in the Shitoto Girls Secondary School and had a really friendly conversation with them after that. Also 50 of them could do the HIV test. Today we held a seminar for one of our groups that is connecting disabled community members and I my topic was hygiene. The time after that is used in the internet place, because they have electricity and we need to put our photos and videos to computer and DVDs. As following days I will stay in the hotel (read: I have electricity to use computer), I will sort photos and the first ones will be available soon.

Yep. The time of goodbyes is always bittersweet, but makes me to value every day more and more.
Have a nice trip, Elen!

Kwaheri!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Kenyan way

Everything goes the way it goes in Kenya and the only way to manage it is to go with it.

At the moment I have one free hour to spend in Kakamega town and it feels strange to have time for things like writing my blog. I have been in Kenya almost one month, but the time has gone so, so fast. Only 5 months left.

So. Yesterday had to arrive my couchsurfer, but the plans changed and she arrives today. As today is the first free day in the organization I volunteer for, I wanted to spend it to visit my friend in Busia that is about an hour away from my home village. So the morning started with the walk to the road to find a place with the network to call and ask about the arrival time of the couchsurfer. It had to be 12. She should arrive at 13.30 - so it is not so bad, I still should manage to reach Busia before it's dark. So I'm spending my free time to use the Kenyan style internet - sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

Few days ago, when I was walking home from the village centre... It was 19.30 - it means dark and it had rained - it means the road was in a very bad situation and because of these reasons no bicycle or motorbike taxi wanted even to drive or they asked really high prices, I realised the first time very clearly, how important is nature here. These two things: darkness and rain, that I sometimes even do not notice in Europe, are here the things that basically lead the all daily life. Usually it starts raining around 5 p.m and it goes dark at 6.30. So all the things should be done before 5 p.m, what means that it is very important to start early in the morning.

Therefore my daily routine looks like that:
6.30 chicken start making some noise, as well as cows and children
07.00 it is light outside - time to wake up
07.30 bringing warm water from the fire place and washing
08.00 washing cloths, because the warm day is good time for cloths to dry
08.30 drinking the Kenyan style tea with a lot of milk and eating white bread with butter - adding sometimes also tomatoes
09.00 daily activities with the program families
11.00 thinking, how is it possible to have so hot weather every day
13.00 somewhere, eating ugali and greens
15.00 getting some gift from the program families such as chicken or maize or 10 kg of bananas
16.00 if needed shopping food from the market and going home with the bananas or chicken, using the bicycle taxi
17.00 at home
17.30 it starts raining
18.00 whole garden is full of water, standing on the door and thinking how is it possible that it can rain so much in Africa
18.30 it's dark, lighting the paraffin lamp
20.00 eating dinner - ugali, rice or chapati
20.30 people start moving to the direction of their beds
21.00 watching the Kenyan dreams

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Volunteer work in Wefoco - there's a lot of it. There's 8 different areas with 23 women groups and about 100 program families that we are visiting and identifying the problems with food, education and medicine. We want to provide the help only to the families that are the most in need, as there are so many of them. We have seen child-headed families and many AIDS orphans. During the free time we are analyzing the situations in the families and planning the solutions. Often the evenings are the only time that volunteers meet, having a lot of different information and stories.

As life in Kenya is not very much predictable, then also we have accommodated and started living the "hakuna matata" style, not even thinking about the next day - mornings are for that. There are anyway so many things that could go "wrong".

Monday, September 20, 2010

It feels good...

...to be back!

I remember how I was preparing myself mentally for any possible feelings that could occur when I will be back in Kenya, but after 2 and half weeks here I can only say that it feels good to be back.

It is not possible to compare my second time in Kenya with the first time at all. Firstly, I was mentally prepared for everything that made me stressed and feeling bad. I saw many documentaries, read books and blogs about other's experiences in Kenya/Africa and it helped me to be ready for the things that make it difficult to be a white person in Kenya. I accepted that this is the way it is and the less energy I devote to it, the more I have for the things I need my energy for.

Second and very important thing. If a Kenyan has been honest to you during 1,5 years, then it is a really good reason to trust this person. I have here one family, one orphange and two persons who I can trust and it makes everything so much more easier. Like A LOT more easier.

There are so many things in Kenya that I understood I had missed or that I love.
Communication is simple.
People are simple.
Life is simple.
Mornings are the time to start... I do not need an alarm. I wake around seven and want to do things. Never happened in Europe.
Motorbike taxies.
Eating simple and cheap food in caffe.
Great persons.
There is time.
Real communication.
Streets.
Villages.
Mandazi.
Opportuntity to make a small change.
and more...

At the moment I am living with my 4 friends at Esther's home and we volunteer for Wefoco. I have several ideas and projects and everything is so much more easier than last time that it is even difficult to believe it.

So I am happy here. Living without electricity and running water, sleeping on the mattress on the ground and going to the "hole in the ground" toilet if anybody is worried about my living conditions. My day starts at 6.45 if I wake thanks to the coq's and cows voice, then Kenyan tea and bread and washing in open air shower place. Walking or bycicle to my current day tasks. Ugali or rice. Home at 18.30. Talks. People. Nature. Phone call to my friend. And to the bed around 9.

Greetings from Kenya.