Sunday, June 21, 2009

On Top of the World


Today bought a new set of adventures. Since my sleeping schedule has not quiet adjusted, I almost refused to head out today but thanks to Jen and Amanda we left to go watch sports at the local school with a few of our friends.

After breakfast we arrived at the school where different schools were competing in football (of course), badminton, volleyball, basketball and field hockey. Girls and boys were both competing in football to reach the provincial level. There are three levels of schools here: district, provincial and national (very competitive). The schools have better curriculum as you go higher up in the levels with the national schools selecting the brightest kids in the country.

The games were fun to watch, I watched my first football game for the 1st time! Amanda was shocked, but then the girl was practically handed a soccer ball before holding a bottle of milk. The day was really nice, but as usual the sun was blistering hot. It was funny because our friends wanted us to sit in the shade while we were adamant to sit in the sun. We later found out Oyugians around us were worried we could not handle the sun. We found that very amusing. I even got a slight tan from our day out in the sun, although I am not too enthusiastic about my “flip flop” tan.

After having lunch (egg wrapped in chapatti!) we headed back to the hotel where we hung out for a bit while entertaining the children who were outside our hotel. We keep telling them we all have names since they keep calling us “Mzungus” (white person) A lot of people think Jen, Amanda and I are sisters. A bunch of folks also thought Jen and I are twins because of our tanned tones, even though Jen is darker than me! Even setting that aside, we look nothing alike! Oh another thing I almost forgot to mention, people are only classified into “blacks” and “white” here. Indians, Asians and Caucasians are referred to as whites/ mzungus here.

We discovered our favorite place in the town yesterday. We are honestly a trio of explorers. After realizing that Jen had been missing for a while from the room Amanda and I set out to look for her in the conference room which is on the 3rd floor of the building. After getting there and finding her we realized there was another level to the hotel. We of course proceeded upstairs where we found a ladder that took us to where the water tanks were located. Clearly, we could not resist seeing what was up there and much to the staff and construction workers amusement we climbed the very sketchy ladder. The climb was so worth it! It was really stunning up there. The children on the ground must have gotten worried for us when we set on the ledge, which also was sketchy as it is easy to fall over as there are no railings, because they kept yelling things to us in a worried/ frantic tone. I am sure phrases like “are you dumb” was exchanged since I am sure it is not a normal practice for people to climb to the highest spot in the building where the tanks are located. It was loads of fun though. Our new reading and journal-ing spot is now on top of the world.

Another thing I discovered is that people think my name is “Ronnie” or, this is even better, “Rainis;” Amanda is always confused with “Emelda,” and people just add another “f” to Jens name. I suggested that we should start wearing name tags around the town as we always get called a different variation of our name!

Well I am now! Also wanted to add that I love reading the emails being sent to me, and keep them coming!



Interesting Things Learned and Seen!

• Folks here always ask “how are you?” as we walk back because the literal translation for their hello is “how are you?” Interesting to notice is that you can tell a person’s fluency in English through how they reply to our greeting as many just say “I am fine” regardless of how they feel.
• When writing letters to our friends and family in Canada, I found out that we have to write the name of the continent where the country we are mailing to is located.
• “Oyugians” (name made up by me, I don’t think they are formally known as this) are always surprised with our eagerness to learn Luo as to them their language is not that great.
• Oyugians also tend to constantly apologize as I stumble or trip as I walk along; as if my clumsiness is their fault. I know it’s sweet, but I bet you they must be exhausted from saying it so much by now, and its only Day 3! For those of you who know me well, know that I continue to be clumsy on paved paths so imagine me walking on dirt paths cluttered with rocks of all sizes.
• People have to pretty much clean their residences on a daily basis because of the dirt that collects as the day goes on.
• An amusing thing I noticed is that Amanda, Jen and I never tan although we think we do, but that is just how dusty we get every day. We return to our original skin tones at the end of each day much to Jen’s and Amanda’s dismay.
• A peace sign here “V” means “Say no to Sex.” We found that out later after we told a bunch of kids to pose with the peace sign. Haha, well at least we were preaching something good!
• Thumbs up sign here means “love.” We also found that out after we were going around giving the thumbs-up to kids after they did a good job at something
• The Luo people do not practice circumcision for either sex.
• Favorite music genres here are Blues and R&B. Blues for them includes every other genre.....including music by John Mayer.
• Kenyans consider black a “cool” color, whereas red and white are bad, “hot” colors.
• Bob(s) are also known as shillings like “bucks” in US/CAD when referring to money.
• Saw a woman today holding a chicken by the wings under her arms. What was interesting to note was that the chicken alive and quiet. I think that was because he/she realized that it was near the end of their demise =/
• Saw a woman carrying a huge pot made out of iron on her head casually walking down the street as if it was no heavier than a pillow! I want to try carrying something on my head before I leave. I am thinking perhaps a bundle of clothes, but I will probably drop that within a minute as I have no sense of balance. Haha
• I also saw a woman carrying a couple of egg trays on her head! I think I am going to try that...
• Women and men here give no importance to one’s body image as citizens of industrialized countries are known to have.

1 comment:

  1. Try out the egg balnacinf and i swear by the time you are done, you'll be covered in messy yolk and stuff..nway its fun always tryng out something new....