26 February 2009



As we were sitting in the courtyard, some of our neighbors decided to come over and say hello.  We had seen the duck clan other places, but never near our house.  Until today.  They came on into the yard and began to peck at the top of the bin.  There had been a little bit of rainwater left in the top and they were trying to drink what little water was there.  I decided  to toss in a bit of water and grab my camera.  My movements scared them away, but one daring duck went to see what I had done.  DSCF0003Upon seeing the water it dove in and chomped at the water.  The sound was enough for the rest of the flock to storm over and take turns at the water.  This basically provided the amusement for the afternoon.  I watched as I cut green bananas to make matoke for dinner.  Matoke is mashed plantains.  It tastes like creamy mashed potatoes.  Some onions, garlic and blue band have yielded a good meal.  What makes it best is the fact that the bananas were free.  Tom cut down the bananas from the tree in front of SJC this morning and staff members are able to take some home.  I waited until the end of the day to make sure that everyone that got a chance to take some before I snatched a bunch.  All in all, the dinner cost us less than $1.  Beat that McDonalds!

Work was average.  Sue ran into Kakamega to get her computer charger and I was left alone to do pretty much nothing.  I joined play therapy a bit, checked my databases, checked the money for the end of the month, and read today's newspaper.  I have found the best way to break things up is to take a short stroll outside of the center for a few minutes.  Like a non-cigarette cigarette break.  I can be away from the repetitive music and crying children.  When things are slow I do this.  It also gets me on my feet and off my butt.

William came by to say that his mother has agreed to tutor is in Swahili.  Michael has also secured a possible teacher from his school.  After looking for a tutor for a few weeks, we all of a sudden have two options.  Next week we will commence lessons with one of the two.  It looks like lessons will be twice a week for an hour.  I hope that this can help us learn some more conversational phrases.  It would be nice to leave the country at the end of the year with a moderate grasp of the language.

Good Stuff (this may become a rather regular fixture)

  • Saw a second man carrying a purse.  Again, probably for practical reasons, but it gives me a chuckle.
  • Chelsea won 1-0
  • The book titled It's Our Turn to Eat just came out.  It is about a whistle-blower in Kenya, written by a Brit.  It is not being sold in Kenya because shop owners fear libel suits.
  • An infant ran by the SJC this morning.  I thought nothing of it because young children running about alone is commonplace at this point.  However, I looked to the left and saw a woman running at full clip.  She caught the child before she made it to the main road.
  • There is a man in town who has clubbed feet and never had surgery.  He gets by in town by using a large staff like the oar of a boat as he gets around Malava.  He is the first person I have ever seen row on land.  Successfully never-the-less!
  • I chased two pigs out of the SJC this morning.  Next project is to become a farmer.  I think I have the whole livestock down pretty well.  Michael saw a cow inseminated today, so that gives us some cow knowledge.  A little more questioning and I will be starting my own farm when I get home.
  • The opposition leader in England, I believe he is a Conservative, suffered a great tragedy yesterday.  His young son passed away.  He had both CP and epilepsy.  I mention this because these are the two most common conditions that I see every day at the SJC.  They said on the BBC that both are common affecting under 100,000.  I do not know the statistics here in Kenya, but seeing the sample of Malava there is a significant problem.  This is not to lessen a tragedy, but to call attention to the fact that there is a rampant problem here.  In an area that has roughly 10,000 people, I saw 30 with epilepsy.  Those are the people who know there is help, can afford to come to the SJC, and are willing to go past stereotypes and myths about the condition.
  • In obituaries for the Daily Nation there are headings for each person.  Most will say the bleak 'Death Notice,' but some are great.  My two favorites: (the first will be on my obituary)
    • 'Promotion to Glory'
    • 'Celebration of a Life Well Lived'