Archive for the ‘Haley in Kenya’ Category

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Haley: What I’ve been up to

September 23, 2010

***I do not have a post for everyday (some days were nothing but school and research. And it is safe to say during the process of this time frame I got my first dose of “home-sickness” Which I discovered was not in fact missing my actual home, but instead a HUGE frustration with simple things. Blah… I’ll write about that later***

September 14:
So the past couple of days have been in the Gray, and it wasn’t until today that I realized it. I had a headache and just felt like blah… I guess some might call that homesick. All it took was a slice of fresh watermelon and an apple to turn it all around; who would have guessed?! After class ended today, an MSID student and I decided we would go volunteer at the New Life Home Trust, an orphanage where people take unwanted or infants and children victim of HIV/AIDS parent loss.

When we walked in the gate, it felt like I was looking at a place out of a Nanny McPhee movie. We walk in to the reception area kind of unknowing of what to say, and after 5 minutes of talking were told to grab an apron and head to the infant room. When we reach the head lady there she asked what kids we wanted to handle: infants, talkers, crawlers, toddlers ? We figured we’d work with the toddlers, so they took us through several rooms and stood outside of a door. She tells us: “Now inside this room are the toddlers… some talk, some crawl.. but most of all they Toddle!… are you ready?”

The instant we step in the door there is a charging toddler, walking with his hands straight up in the air, crying, coming straight at me! As soon as I pick him up, he stops crying, looks straight at me, and just laughs! It was seriously as if we have this magnetic pull and as soon as we walked through THAT door, every kid (at the stage of the Frankenstein walk) started toddling over to us at once.

We took them outside to play and for snack time. Well my little friend who first greeted me at the door (his name is Fedeks, lol), decided to take a plop right next to me. He finished all his food and got the case of the giggles. In the midst of his laughter he grabbed my arm like a stalk of corn, brought it to him and sank his 4 teeth into it,  which only made him laugh harder! You know, I’ve worked at a vet clinic, and I’ve worked at a dentists. Never been bit… the FIRST day at the orphanage and I get sunken into.

September 15:
Today I lived the life of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I walked EVERYWHERE! My friend Lacey and I had to walk a balance beam practically so we wouldn’t fall into oncoming traffic. She nearly fell into the huge gutter outside of class. Then as we got lost on all the different side streets that we took, we came across these two school boys dressed in uniform laughing at us pointing and saying “WAZUNGU!” (plural for white person). So we reply sarcastically “Wapi?!”—”where?” They laughed and one just looked up and said SO earnestly “I LOVE you!” and then they ran off. For some reason this made us wish we were 7 years old again. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Haley: Country analysis

September 10, 2010

Today I am really at peace with the world. Maybe it’s the beautiful sun so high in the sky, the fresh pineapple I had for lunch, The lack of Charlie brown syndrome and not wanting to cry while sitting in Swahili class, or maybe it’s because I didn’t get lost while walking to and from school. But really, it’s like I’m on vacation from life while still getting an education… too awesome.

I finally had another class other than Swahili: Country Analysis. I was a little apprehensive at first because when it comes to anything history related or political… ehhh for some reason I just get super sleepy. I had to actively remind myself to keep an optimistic view. Luckily for me, the teacher turned out to be my kind of teacher. His stories were witty and funny but always ending with an important point. He began to tell us how the men in Kenya are different than the men in America (i.e: don’t give them you phone number, because when you don’t answer for the 10th time in a row… it’s not that they don’t get the point, it’s that they REFUSE to get it). Also, if a guy asks you out for a drink (“just as friends”), that does not mean you have to say no. No, in fact just be really blunt. You look at them and say: “what kind of drink are you talking about here buddy? Like a Drink-Drink? Or do you mean Drink-Drink-Plus?!” Yes, this is what we learn in class sometimes: the proper way to call a guy out). He continued to tell us how men here (when flirting) are told no, they think it really means yes (the classrooms laughs).

The one story I enjoyed was how he so desired to be a singer. Unfortunately he couldn’t sing. So instead he took dance classes. He would embrace his partner and they would let the music lead them through. But instead of having a partner, he would often find himself embracing the air (the demonstration was stellar). But his point being that, you go with the music and let it lead you… much like your heart. (awww)

The best story of the day had to do with his grandmother. When his grandmother was young and single, the way the women used to get married was by wrestling(?). If a man decided he would wrestle you, and he was able to pin you, then he had the right to marry you. But if the woman was able to literally step on the guy (with motion of stepping on one) then she was free to do as she pleased. “My Grandmother died a happy woman,” the instructor said. “She stepped on 3 men before she got married” (A woman of my heart.) WHAT any of this had to do with Country Analysis, I have no clue… but it made for a fun day in class and left everyone with the giggles.

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Haley: All roads lead to roam… NOT my house

September 9, 2010

I’ve had SUCH a great time the past week… that I can’t help but feel a little anxious for the upcoming one. Here’s a rundown:

September 4
The MSID crew had to wake up early to make an early arrival into Nairobi and meet our Host Families…  I was getting prepared to meet my new family for the new school year and living in a city I know NOTHING about. I suppose the only thing I can do is stay positive… Yeah well that positive attitude lasted all of five minutes as I discovered my laptop stopped working on me.

As I hit my mild freak-out moment over my wonderful laptop, one of the MSID staff took initiative to brighten my day: “you know Haley, from day one I noticed you like to talk alot…” (about to continue to talk but noticed the gaping look of shock on my face). Am I THAT obvious? “Oh!?… errrrm… Sorry?” I replied.
“Haha NO I’m not done!” (continues to laugh). “I was going to say, that from day one I noticed you like to talk, but MOST of all Laugh. And that’s a wonderful thing to see in someone. I think you’ll do just fine in life.”

I tell you, these Kenyans really know how to put things into perspective… because there I was moments before, freaking out about something so replaceable. Silly me. Now that my mind no longer has images of chucking my electronics out the window, I take in the beauty of the ride through the country. Through rural areas I would see people lightly blanketed in dust. Kids on the sides of the streets playing, and as if in trance, stop as soon a bus full of white people drive by. I can see in their eyes the curiosity of the lives we must have lived. Did we live in a house with running water… Was that water hot?… Did we sleep in a bed? Did that bed have a pillow? Do we eat till we are full? What land do we come from with clothes so rich in color and free of stains? How much money do we have on us this very moment? The gut wrenching part is that if you turn out my pocket, and theirs, you’ll find the same result: nothing. I have no money… Here I sit in clean clothes, hair scented of flowers, and a heart spilling with dreams. I’m on the path of taking, because my Country and the people in it allow me to. All I can offer is my smile… and even that seems to flash privilege as they marvel and comment on the work of my orthodontist and whiteness from my toothbrush. It is not a secret that the eyes are a window to the soul, and if you take the time to actually look someone in the eye, you will be left with a truth. These kids were nothing but honest.

Other than children, the sides of the roads were also filled with goats, donkeys, monkeys, cows… All just freely grazing the ground. At one point of the bus ride, I heard the faintest of a scream, almost a whimper. I turned around to see my classmate gawking out her window as a guy is hanging onto the ladder right outside her window. Com’mon now, the man’s just looking for a lift. When we stopped for gas, this woman came out of NOWHERE (which I’ve learned to get used to) selling these beautiful scarfs. I haggle with her and cut down the price to half and succeed in buying a scarf for 250 Shillings (around $3). In the US these scarfs would be about $30.

We finally arrive in Nairobi and I finally get to meet my host family! My Host-mom is AWESOME! She greets me with a smile that immediately warms me. My little host-brother is 10 years old and couldn’t be any cooler. Of course asking me question after question based off of American made films. LOVE that 10 year old innocence and curiosity. (Ma… skacai mauri). There was also their niece that was staying with them till boarding school. SUCH a sweet girl… My H-mom and I got to the mall shortly after our greeting; she had to pick something up. While waiting with here I notice a shop with the same type of scarfs I just bought… only these were 1000 shillings—over 200% more than what I paid for mine… because the mall we were in was considered a White-mans mall. WHAT a difference in Urban area’s from Rural.

When we get home I meet my H-dad and he’s the most smiling man I’ve ever met! Yup, this is a wonderful family! Upon discover of a crappy laptop (ahem), he told me to make use of theirs! My H-parents had to leave for some prior commitment, so I was left at home with my H-brother and H-cousin. As soon as I go to get on the computer the power goes out. YUP it was at this point I was convinced my fingers have the touch of death to any technology. So instead I sat and talked with my new sibling/cousin while drinking tea by candle light.

I started day dreaming when all of a sudden I came back to reality by hearing: “… causes a heavy flow?” Hah.. for a second there I thought my 16 year old H-cousin said ‘heavy flow’… Oh wait—What?! (how did she get to that point… and what the HELL was I thinking about that blocked out the majority of the prior conversation.) I just stared at her wide eyed trying to make sense of the question just asked (while also having a flashback to the movie ‘Mean Girls’). So of course the 9 year old comes out in me and I softly giggle. That came out of nowhere!!!  She read on my MSID profile that I was a community health major and figured she’d ask me health questions. Oh… well that sounds legit enough to me!

So whatever, I try and answer as many questions as I can for her, but also have to remind her I’m not an expert and certainly don’t know everything. It wasn’t until the question of condoms came up, that I was left a little baffled. (Oh yeah… sorry, but *safe sex* is a part of the health field, so my bad if this tidbit makes you feel weird.) “What is the point of a condom?” was the question. OH MY…  I swooped down on the question and answered with seriousness. A rare moment you’ll find me not joking. The follow-up question: “If one is on birth control, then they don’t need a condom right?” It was not just my H-cousin who did not know these answer, but her friends as well… oh dear. These questions quickly made me realize how much I value my education… and those stupid Trojan adds. I LOVED her honestly and was SO happy we talked. Because I know, as a 16 year old girl, there’s no such thing as a secret in high school. And this is DEFINITELY one conversation I WANT to be spread in the halls. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Haley: the Ogiek

September 4, 2010

September 3rd
Today was special. We went to go see the Ogiek people about 20 minutes out of Nakuru. It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life. The mountains and farms, the free roaming goats and cows. Our bus got stuck in the mud road so we walked the rest of the hill/mountain. On the way a couple girls and I fell behind where we found ourselves a couple shadows: the kids of the hill. So we thought we’d say “Jambo!”—hello… Me being the overly excited person I am, I thought the boy said “How are YOU!?” No he definitely said “Caribu” (thank you). So I answered with a “I’m GREAT! How are you.” Even the 8 year olds laugh at me in Kenya. I later asked this boy his name and he put out his dirt covered hand (because the other one was holding a machete) and said “Money.” It was after I told him I didn’t have any that he told me his name was Steven.

They followed us the whole way up the mountain and by the end of our journey we fell in love with the school of kids we accumulated, teaching them how to count to 10 in English. They laughed the whole way and LOVED having their picture taken. Little do these kids know that they made our day. When we reached the top of the mountain we were greeted by the Ogiek, a family that had 4 generations staring us in the face. The old man’s face held so much story in it. As we looked around, we see the most BEAUTIFUL view looking down… and two huts made of Mud and Sticks. This family lived here (and by family I mean over 15 people). Kids everywhere, wisdom just oozing through every wrinkle in the elderly. They showed us how they make fire with an instraument over a hundred years old, wow.
And through the end all they could say was how blessed they were to have us there, and that God had sent us to listen to their story… How do I tell them that their strength is something people look for their whole lives. That their family loyalties puts those of a lions to shame… That there smiles and kind words have forever carved their ways into my heart leaving me with a new reason to smile and cry.

They walked us back to the bus, a mile or so down the mountain. During this walk I was asked several times if I was married, and then asked if I had any kids… A girl about my age had two kids, one that was hanging in a sling wrapped around her back. They asked if we carried babies like that… So I explained to them how Americans have strollers and push their kids around. They laughed as I explained, and asked me if I knew why they carried their children like that. If they don’t an eagle or big bird will come and snatch the babies… (there goes that hollow feeling in my stomach). All you can do is laugh with their infectious laughter.
The kids of MSID most definitely enjoyed their time during orientation week and completely bonded over these experiences, tea time, and stories invloving space, geology, ghosts… and me falling, No; WALKING off a cliff 2 summers ago.

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Haley: 1 fish, 2 fish, red fish… MONKEY

September 3, 2010

August 31st
I successfully only got 3 hours of sleep. Caaaaan you say Jet Lagged? On top of it in the middle of the night I heard what sounded like someone being locked outside there door… After listening for 30 minutes with the poor person struggling, I decide to check it out (we had to lock our doors so the Monkeys won’t get in). I go out into the courtyard and don’t see anyone… ? I hear the door shake again and faint voices on the other side. So I go over to discover that two of my class mates locked themselved in their room and couldn’t get out… HAHAHA!!!

When everyone woke before heading to Lake Nakuru, we went to go wash up and brush our teeth out by a water basin. As I’m washing my face I hear the trees rustle and the pitter patter of feet. The monkeys came out to see what we have… and of course dig through the garbage. Pretty much the squirrels of Africa.
We had to stop at the immigration office in Nairobi before leaving, which ended up with Haley sitting on the sidewalk playing cards, explaining “bull-shit” to the MSID staff. We go to lunch at an “American” food restraunt…

Our drive out to Nakuru was so exciting… an unfamiliar country! We stopped at the point that overlooked this valley, and it’s crazy how beauty and poverty can be captured in the same scene. It is at this point that I realize that the food isn’t settling with me well, I feel sick. Or perhaps I’m just tired. We walked through a market where we could haggle prices (LOVE). We finally get to the campground and in the distance on the lake it looks as if the shore is made of pink rocks or sand… No, it’s the flamingo’s along the shore. We didn’t have hot water at the camp ground, sometimes had toilet paper, no toilet seats, no internet, and no phones… HELL YA! No really… we had SO much fun.

September 1st

Well I woke up in the middle of the night and then at 6 in the morning, but I’m doing better. It’s fricken freezing because their winter is ending. My Malaria pills cause me to dream a lot. We get 3 meals a day and tea time in between every meal. We LOVE tea time. I have never eaten this good in my entire life. Everything so healthy and structured. Fresh fruit…. mmmm.

For orientation we spent a couple hours doing group excercises, like having two people tie a shoe with each using only one hand. This is to symbolize how the every day tasks we’re used to  are now going to be done differently, and that as simple as they were before, we may now find them a challenge in Kenya. Also the help of another person goes a long way. The other team building stuff was guiding someone around blindfolded without speaking english or touching… so using codes. This signifying the unfimiliarity and struggles that come with a foriegn country. (It was fun till I nearly Judo chopped the professor for sneaking up on me while I was blind-folded.)

SAFARI TIME!… I wish words could do justice to the beauty I saw. I’ve never seen such greens in my life. What was the meaning of “love and care” before I saw a family of Baboons take care of each other. Babies holding on to their moms as the roam the land. There’s nothing more majestic than a pack of Giraffes walking towards you. Rhino’s are incredible…. SO strong and beautiful. We got off the bus by the flamingos and walked around a bit. Leave it to me to walk in Rhino poo… Trust me, burning dog poop on the front porch does this no justice. On the ride back we saw 4 lions just sitting there, 3 in the tree and one not even 10 yards away…. As I go to get pictures, OOPS my camera dies @#$@&%!!!!!!!!!! Then when we went to leave they decided to lay in the road leaving us stuck. So to pass time, why not sing a little Lion King?

September 2nd
Today I think it was the insructor’s life ambition to scare the crap out of us. They told us about stories of the Matatu (type of transportation) where kids got robbed, and pick-pocketed. How walking at night is dangerous and that we’de never know if someone slashed our bags… Alright Great Pep talk! This was also when we got told individually about our internships. I-AM-SO-FRICKEN-EXCITED!!!!! In 6 or 7 weeks I go to Mombasa (South East Coast) for my internship for another 6 or 7 weeks. I am working in this hospital there. Each week I get to go to a different department of the hospital and work there. Then I get to work at the free clinic that I have to take a ferry to on this little island…. where in the USA do I get to do THIS?!

During the safari today, we stopped at an amazing waterfall. We saw all the animals again this time PLUS a leopard! I can really get used to this. When we got back we discovered that there was a Riot in Nakuru (maybe 10 minutes away from where we were) where 2 people died and several were injured. I can see the lights of that town from my cabin window. And THEN on top of it, a wild cat (not like a lion… just a wild cat) SOMEHOW got into a hospital and ate a baby. Arrrrreeeee you Serious?!?! I don’t know about you but this sounds a little sketchy to me… especially since the baby was reported to have been in an icubator… Ohhh Africa. Going to bed I felt the results of being so close to the equator… Hellooooooo Sun Burn!

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Haley: I leave for Kenya

August 30, 2010

O’Hare is full of people I assume can’t speak English; scratch that, they DON’T. So I averted to speaking the universal sign language of Pointing. After 2 hours of waiting, we board the biggest plane I’ve ever been on. (Of course the whole time my Ma wants to be on the phone with me… If she had it her way she’d tell me to wait til the flight attendant is forced to get physical; so naturally I hang up asap.) SO I’m sitting on this plane with nothing but time. I start thinking. And I found that I wasn’t nervous about going to a different country. NO, I was worried about travelers Diarrhea. (yes yes “ewwww”) but I realized how badly I DID NOT want that… Of ALL the things to think about, THIS is what goes through my mind. Theo mou.

While the captain is speaking it takes me a good 30 seconds to realize it wasn’t in English… (DUMB HALEY). 3 movies and 8 hours later we arrive in Amsterdam. Within 5 minutes of arrival I run into 2 kids on my program… So naturally we go and grab a beer and *Free Chocolate.* (Don’t question…) I got a kick out of this breakfast sign outside of McDonalds. It was four pictures of McD breakfasts from 4 different places… London, Paris, Tokyo, America. London had a sandwhich with yogurt, Paris had fruit with theirs (all healthy things) and then the pictue of America was just TWO egg McMuffins; hahaha… We got caught up in so many different things that we lost track of time and had to run alllllllll the way to our gate to make it just in time. (One of the kids we were with got stuck behind a clan of grannies on the moving walk way, so he had to jump the rail and sprint the rest of the way; really funny actually)
I board the plane with 8 more hours to go…

Stepping off the plane I was greeted with a smell that was made up of musk, dirt, heat, and country… I’m nowhere from home… I’m tired… What time is it… where the heck do I go… WHY IS MY LUGGAGE TAKING SO DAMN LONG… oh, nevermind my luggage is upside down… there are a lot of girls on the program… Follow a woman holding a sign for MSID students (msid is my program)… I’m on a bus…. We arrive at a hostel for the night and will leave for our orientation in the morning. WHATEVER just give me a bed!!!!!!!

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