Monday, October 21, 2013

First Shower in a Week


            Just over 6hrs of sleep every night… I don’t know how these students do it. I know I sleep more than the average person (I value my sleep), but 6.5hrs of sleep on a good day is cra cra. They are in class either being taught or studying over 11 hrs M-F. Saturdays for about 3 or 4 hrs. Sundays for about an hour or two.
            Tried watching one of the bootleg movies to no avail. It did not work. Haha what should I have expected? I’ll bring it back tomorrow when I’m in town. I bought a new book called Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. His other book that I read, Pillars of Earth is a good one. Read 100 pages today. I had to supervise students in their exams, so I had plenty of time.


            Day started of early. Once I got to town, it was still slow. After a while a student came in who was expelled from the school he was at. He was causing trouble over a period of time. It was deserved. After a couple weeks of being out he finally came to the town office wanting to go back to school, any school. I’m not entirely sure if he’s genuinely sorry. We will see what happens.
            That whole thing with people coming into the house a couple weeks ago, turns out the principal owes on his dowry. So people came together to negotiate. On Saturday I’ll be going along to see what this whole thing is about, although I’m sure I will have no idea about the negotiations that are occurring. Should be interesting.
            Went to one of the former student’s grandmother’s home. She lives only a couple miles away from the town office up the hill that overlooks the town and Lake Nakuru. We rode on the back of a motorcycle. I thought for a moment I was gonna fall off on a few of the bumps. I was making a plan on how I would properly fall. It’s beautiful up there. And twisted in an awful way. The road/path leads through an area with several dirt houses (pretty much one room). As we are walking up the path to where she was, kids starting coming out of the woodwork yelling, “How are you?” This is typical of Kenyan kids who see a mzungu (white person). We find where she is and say hello (she doesn’t speak English). Haron does all the talking. Meanwhile all thedirty kids are gathering around. A few start holding my hands. A girl smacks a boy younger than her on the top of his head decently hard for some reason. He starts crying. A couple 4 or 5 yr old girls are pushing and hitting each other while trying to do somersaults. One kid is picking his nose, and I realize this is probably what the kids were doing who are holding my hands. Sometimes hand holding is more important than germs. A boy with one piece of junk rollerblade is rolling down the dirt hill. On the left side looking toward the town about 100 meters away is a golf course. Also about the same distance down the hill are a bunch of well-built houses. Haron said they are building them closer and closer to where these people are living, trying to push them off their land. It’s just weird/wrong/problem with our world that there’s this line that is so thick that separates two different peoples.
            I was getting into the front seat of the matatu on the way back and hit my knee on a piece of metal that was sticking out a bit. Tore my pants and cut my knee. I was almost angry, and then I thought, “Why am I getting angry.” I watched as the hanging piece of material start to soak with blood. Not much though. Glad I got my tetanus updated before I left.


            The last couple nights I have been on duty. The students are supposed to study until 10pm. They tell me, and observation, that many of them go to sleep with their heads on their desks. They start studying directly after dinner at 6:30. The last few nights I have let them go to bed at 9:30. They get really happy and go directly to sleep. The second night I let them go at 9:30, and Principal Maina, who stays on campus, calls me and says, “They are going to sleep? They have to stay until 10.” I said they were leaving because they were done studying. That was the end of the conversation. He wasn’t here the following night. Then tonight I just got a text saying that the students must stay in preps until 10pm. Five minutes later he sends a teacher who stays here at the school. She said she was sent by the principal to make sure they stayed until 10. That got me boiling a bit. I called him and asked why he sent Madam (that’s what they call the female teachers here) to stay until 10 when I was here. He said he sent her to tell me that they need to stay until 10. I told her that she doesn’t need to stay. She went back to sleep a few minutes later.
            On a separate note, but not really, why do some people in authority feel they need to have 100% control and lord it over people. No bending the rules! You must do as I say! They think they can tell people what to do, and they don’t say please or thank you. That bothers me. Maybe more than it should. Sometimes, it’s part of the culture. Honestly, I don’t like when cultures have that. Children speak when spoken to. That sort of thing. It makes people feel like they are entitled to their position, and makes other people worth less, a superiority complex. I don’t think that reflects who God is or how he created it. There is submission involved, but not like there is one person better than the other.


Anyways, I’m going to the principal’s dowry thing tomorrow. If I’m sitting near him on the way I will ask why it’s so important to stay up and get up so early to “study.” I will use some research of the importance of sleep to back me up. I will do this with gentleness and respect of course.


            I just took my sock off after stubbing my toe this morning. Looks like I bent the nail back enough to make it bleed. Didn’t think it was that bad. On another note, it has been a full last couple days. Yesterday I went to Mr. Maina’s dowry negotiation thing. We stuffed a matatu full of people along the way and drove about 45 min to a little restaurant/bar (although we originally left at 8:30 and didn’t arrive until about 11). Then there was a discussion in Swahili or Kikuyu or something else. Then the men and women split up and discussed more. Then got together again and had another quick discussion. Then we were back in the cars again and headed to the highlands where a bunch of Masai live. It was pretty cold up there. The landscape was beautiful. We got to the top and there were no more mountains around us, so I figured we were pretty high up. The initial meeting was just with the principal’s side of the family. After another 45 min of driving that finished on a dirt road, we arrived at his wife’s family’s home. They have been married for I’m guessing 10 yrs but did not go through the dowry process to begin with for some reason. The women went to the fence and started singing. This was the attempt to allow them to be let in. Then after a couple minutes the wife’s side of the family start to sing, as if to recognize that they are and they can come in. It’s a neat custom seeing this happen. I wonder what family has ever not let the other group in. The we all (about 40 of us) sat in this mud room with cardboard lined walls. They had chairs for everybody. There were introductions then they served the food. OH MY SWEETNESS! The plate was so full. At least a couple pounds of chapatti, mukimo, peas, carrots, cabbage, potato, rice, meat, and a mix of onions, tomato, garnish stuff. It was around 2:00 at this time, so I was starving. I thanked God for the food and asked him to not let me have any problems (if you know what I mean) before I got home. God delivered yet again. The food was so good. Then the main people from the families went to another room and negotiated the terms. After about an hour they came out singing. Apparently it was successful because the women were carrying crates of soda into the room singing as if it was the ark of the covenant. Everybody knows it’s tradition, so there was an air of laughter and fun. It was pretty fun to watch.
            Then today I got a call from Haron at 4:10am saying that we were going to Mulli Children’s Family (about 3-4 hrs drive). I knew I might be going but thought he was going to tell me last night. I was supposed to meet him at the center in Mbaruk at 5:30am. I gave myself 10 minutes to get there. At this time in the morning it is very much dark. I ran part of the way partially out of fear of getting my head chopped off with a machete and not wanting to be late. I had my flashlight so it wasn’t bad. Jogging by the cornfields is interesting in the dark, but some of them have begun to be harvested. I waited about 10 minutes and got a call from Haron saying they were running late and if I could meet them on the highway. So I started walking, another 10+ minutes. The sun was turning the sky grey at point. I got to the highway and waited until almost 6:30. It was ok cuz the sky and everything around, except the truck spewing out smoke, was beautiful. It’s really cool seeing the landscape change so dramatically. Half way through, we are driving through mountains that are carpeted with amazing green tea plants. Entire hills covered. There are banana trees, mud houses, people standing around on the side of the road. It’s pretty amazing. God made Kenya, and it was good. MCF, like many high schools, had a prayer day where families are invited to encourage the Form 4 (12the grade) students on their exams. These exams are pretty much the sole thing that will say if they are going to college and which one, and how much they will have to pay. If they do amazingly well, the government will pay for them. If not, well, the options are limited. Long stinkin day.
            And my week of waking up stupid early has come to an end.
Mr. Maina is not a bad guy. We just looking at teaching and youth very differently. I think I’m right though J


philip vose said...

sounded like a long day indeed. the beautiful landscape and dowry celebration i bet was amazing. so cool and so jealous :-)

philip vose said...
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