13 August 2009


Ok, I admit to slacking off a bit.  I think that as my time here has increased, my mind has settled more and more into the daily life within Malava.  I no longer think about the strangeness of living in Kenya.  There are always moments when I am confronted with the fact that I am very far from home, but my time to, in and from work now passes without any thought.  However, there have been two things that happened this past week worth mentioning.

The first is that little Emmanuel walked.  With downs syndrome, Emmanuel is a fixture with peeing his pants and his “What’s Poppin’?” t-shirt.  Most of all, he is one stubborn guy.  He hates to walk on his own, plopping down on the ground any time he is lifted on his feet.  With our brick cart, he will push for a few steps and gives up.  Yesterday, he stood up and walked, unassisted, half way across the SJC.  With his straight legs, he pivoted each forward as his upper body leaned forward begging for his hands to crawl.  Resisting his natural mode of transport, he continued across the room until he had to turn to his left.  Back to his natural fours, he crawled after the ball that just passed in front of him.  It is rare that we get to see the benefits of the therapy on the children.  Seeing Emmanuel walk was an encouraging moment.

My second story is not in the least bit happy.  Two clients passed away in the past week.  One due to negligence on the part of the the parents and the second due to the disability of the child.  The tragedy of their deaths has not been missed on my part.  I said that first because my reaction was as if it was passing news.  It is not as if death comes to me often, but it is a fact faced with little or no remorse by the people here.  It is passing news like the weather or the latest soccer scores.  Caring exists, but death does not seem to bother people outside of the family.  I thought of seeing the man who died by being hit by a truck and how much it bothered me.  Now, news of death does not seem to affect me in a strong way.  I cannot really attempt to define what the news meant, but I noticed that it strangely mattered little.  I found myself seeing it as a Kenyan.  Death mixed into the discussions of the previous nights international soccer matches.

To finish on a lighter note, Bill Easterly pokes fun at celebrity humanitarianism by calculating the three things that must go together to make a good campaign.  Enjoy the read.