Mia: Cute kids and nasty viruses

November 3, 2011

So as I type this I’m literally surrounded by cute but screaming watoto (children) at the school I’m interning at for the next 5 weeks. They’ve never seen a computer before, they’re fascinated. I’ve actually been here for about 1.5 weeks, and a lot has happened, so I’ll try to make this brief (and organized!)

Sunday: Arrived at hut compound, met family, and realized I don’t have a pillow or a door. 

Monday: Host sister (also boss), took me all over town to her school, the clinic I work at on Wednesdays, the HIV clinic I go to support group meetings at, and the school for deaf children that I lecture at on Fridays. Whew, long day. 

Tuesday: All day at the school…I realize that teaching preschoolers is much harder than it looks. Props to all pre-K teachers, it takes a LOT of patience. 

Wednesday: First day at the lab in Ambira. They showed me around, and I took names and information for each patient as they pass through (and get hit on incessantly by lab techs. Gotta love Kenyan men!)

Thursday: All day at Alice Hope again, this time in ECD 2. Trying to teach someone how to draw numbers correctly is also harder than it looks. 

Friday: Rough day. Started off with a pikipiki accident (nothing serious), I get to the school late, and then I get lost on the way to the deaf school, Sega. I arrived 45 mins late for that, and then went home after teaching. That night I was bitten by the watchdog of the compound…thankfully it didn’t break the skin because I never got rabies shots. 

Saturday–Tuesday: Sis and I go to Nakuru to see her husband and children, and get groceries for the month. On Sunday we went to a Jehovah’s Witness service (interesting), and watch some movies (they have a TV!!!). On Monday we went to the market and get enough vegetables for the month, and the on Tuesday we fit it all on the 8 hr bus ride back to Ugunja. I honestly didn’t think it was all going to fit, and neither did Lilian, but 6 boxes later we were happily boucing down the road home! That is until we came upon a traffic jam caused by not 1, but 3 semis stuck in the road. That took a few hours to fix, but we got home before dark. That night, I went to John’s homestead so he could use the internet and we could have some mzungu (white person) time. And watch Gilmore Girls!

Wednesday: Worked at Alice Hope in the morning, and worked in the lab at Ambira in the afternoon, this time using the CD4 machine and microscope to check for malaria. It doesn’t look any better microscopically…Also sorted though some spewtum and stool samples. 

Thursday: First talk to class 1 and 2 about HIV. We couldn’t find a banana, so we put the condom on a blue bottle. The kids loved that. 
This weekend I’m going to Kisumu to work on my papers and hang out with Chelsea and Kaitlyn, and hopefully wander around the coast of Lake Victoria. 

Overall things are going great, but everything moves so slowly here. Once the sun goes down there’s not much to do because we don’t have electricity. However, I’ve never seen so many happy people before. Everyone always has a smile on their face, and sincerely wants to know how your days is. It seems like the people here really enjoy their work, which is something I don’t see a lot of in the US. They also seem to value people as entertainment, probably because most people here don’t have computers or TVs. What this means is that you can get to know someone in a very short time, and entertain each other for hours. 

It’s certainly a different lifestyle, but it’s starting to grow on me. More updates as I’m able…electricity is fickle here.

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