First week

After a few days of settling in, we had out first week of school today (weird saying that). I chose to work at the primary school because it has the fewest resources and needs the most help. We were greeted with hundred of children opening the gates for us and shouting “masunga” (translates to white person, but not sure I spelled it right), “how are you”, and several other phrases. They all pushed and shoved each other to crowd around us and shake our hands, hold our arms, give us hugs, and stroke our hair. It was an experience I will not forget. After plowing our way through the crowds, we met with Sister Hiltrude, the headmaster. She was very kind and welcoming and gave us vague instructions for the day. I had 3 P.E. classes in a row and was melting by the end because I have to almost fully cover my skin with clothes at school. Next I had Creative Arts where there is no real curriculum. I’d expected to be assisting a teacher or paired up with another volunteer, but this was not the case. I walked into the classroom where over 60 kids applauded me for coming in. After a few minutes of peeling the kids off of me and my hair, I looked for any inspiration. The room was small, they shared their desks, and all I had was a chalkboard with a very short piece of chalk. We started with pictionary on the chalk board (didn’t go well). We proceeded to sing “head shoulders knees and toes” and ended with a lesson on shapes. They were so eager for me to grade their drawings of the shapes that I walked out with a stack of crumpled papers and books. I found the other volunteers and was informed that none of their classes were able to do anything other than yell, move their desks, pull hair, and walk around. Not too bad. First meal with the other teachers was goat, rice, and beans. First time eating goat and also had some ‘old sheep’ and intestine later on in the week. Overall, the week went by quickly with similar chaos everyday at the school. A few of us went into town to pick up groceries on Thursday and met a handful of people, including one who invited us to meet his family and have dinner at their house. After school on Friday, we headed into Rongai to meet his family and neighborhood. They cooked us ugali, kale, and something sweet and green that was delicious. What they explained as a tradition of theirs, they did not eat and instead silently watched the three of us masungas as we ate with our hands. Afterwards, they took hundred of photos with us and brought us into their neighbors houses. Saturday, the whole group (7 of us now) went into Nakuru via matatu, which can only be explained as an old white van that seats 9, and was stuffed with 18. They don’t like you to open the windows because people will snatch things off of you and my head must’ve hit the top twice for every time the driver hit the break. We walked around the local markets and did a grocery run before coming back to relax. Today, Sunday, 4 of us ventured to hike one of the mountains that we can spot from the farm. (Part of the Great Rift Valley.) Took very questionable bicycles to the bottom and hiked from there. We didn’t plan very well and found ourselves boiling at the top during the hottest part of the day, with little water left to ration. Because there’s not a trail up to the top, we were wading through bushes and dodging cacti for as long as we could until we were more or less rock climbing straight up. The descent was much quicker but we were all dragging our feet once we hit the bottom. Up for school tomorrow at 8.