Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a belated update

December 10, 2008
Rafiki yango Mwamerika Ð Jambo kwa Loitokitok, Southern Kenya. We are now half way through our pre-service training and it has been incredibly intense. I have had limited, very expensive access to e-mails, so I have not been on line in a long time. PC does not provide us a very large amount to live on, so it is lunch or internet!
A quick update to this blog - We started as a group of 42 and so far 2 have been returned to the US for health reasons. It was sad to see them go Ð and I only hope that I stay healthy and have no major problems. Our medical instruction (PCMOs) are great and provide us with a ton of preventative/maintenance/curative information. We have medical sessions 1-2 times a week and get shots on a regular basis. They are taking very good care of us.
Kswahili lessons are in small groups from 3 Ð 5 students, after the first 2 weeks they split us on based on ability, so there are 3 AARP members in my group. Yes, I am the oldest! Most days I feel comfortable with my ability Ð and others not so. I can introduce myself and speak in very general terms. If anything is said out of context it takes a while to filter it into English. We have a preliminary language test next week and a final exam in January. I am not worried as I know effort is as important as the output.
Technical training has been a bit of a challenge. For the first 2 weeks we had conflicting instructors and a massive amount of work to do. Now, one of the instructors is gone and we have more free time to do our work. We have been assigned partners/businesses in Loitokitok to work with and help them solve some immediate problems. At first I questioned why?, but now can see how this exercise will help when we got to site and are on our own.. Details will take too long, but over all I am working well with my partner on several issues and actually feel like I am going to be of some help to them.
Personally Ð my home stay Mama is AWESOME (poa sana = very cool). It is just she and I, with many visitors. But this allows me time to study and one on one interaction with her. She is the Mrs. Menka of Loitokitok for those of you who have been to Ghana. Very much a leader in the community. Excellent housekeeper and cook and is willing and wanting me to learn Afrikan ways. Cooking on a jiko ya mkaa is not liking cooking over an electric stove, grill or campfire. Out of many tries, I have only been successful once in keeping it litÐ better learn this or I will starve on site. I actually baked a chocolate cake the other day and prepared the full evening meal. Not nearly as good as HellenÕs but it would pass. We have electricity (very nice), but no running water. There is an outside choo (toilet) and thank heavens for all those squats in yoga class! We have easy access to a water source and I spend 1 hour, 2 times a week purifying water for me to drink. I acuallly get to pee in a bucket for those night calls.
Some of the PCTÕs and I had yoga class last week and some Kenyans joined us Ð much fun. In speaking with the nurses they though teaching yoga to women infected with AIDS would be great Ð future project on site! Yoga has serve d to keep me in balance over the last month. Namaste!
I have a computer literate friend (Harmony) who is going to help me post this to my blog. Hope it works. If you can access this, please share this site with others so that I can stay I touch with as many friends as possible. During PST there are 40 wazungus (white faces) so there is some support Ð on site it will be different and I would love hearing from all of you. Not necessarily e-mails, but snail mail. Would be much appreciated.
I have yet to doubt my reason for being here Ð only my ability to serve and make and make a difference. My thoughts and prayers are with you all and hope you have a marvelous holiday season. HellenÕs family is coming this week-end so that should ease the holiday blues for me. Take care, do write Ð
Kwa heri - PatI

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day one of my next 27 months -

After a year of preparation and anticipation I finally met the other 42 individuals going to Kenya. An approximate breakdown is 9 Kenyan sign languague teachers, 13 math/science educators and the rest part of the small enterprise development sector. Only 4 of the 43 appeared to be 50+ with many of the others fresh out of college, and under 30. It appears to be a good group of individuals, very diverse and dedicated to the PC service. Our orientation was very general in nature, knowing we will receive detailed instructions once we arrive in Kenay. We take a bus from Philly to JFK tomorrow and leave at 6:15 pm for Amsterdam, with a 2.5 hour layover and then on to Nairobi. My possessions can be found in a suitcase, oversized back pack, carry on and small back pack. I hope I have all I need, and not too much of what I don't. I did some last minute shopping in Denver for mud boots (rainy season) and a new bike helment, which of course meant I had to reconfigure my suitcases!!!! Departure is finally here and I cannot believe I am finally a PC Trainee!!!! I had a great last week in CO with my children, their significant others, baby Lucy and Shannon's mom Diane from FL and her dad from MI. Leaving the kids was difficult to say the least, but I look forward to their visits to Kenya. Just to let you all know, things are well - I am excited and of course frightened to some degree - but I know this is something I have to do in this life time. Take care all of you - write when possible - and do stay in touch. I shall not miss my house, my car, my furniture or even Lincoln, but I shall miss all of you. Kwa heri - Pat

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

10 days and counting

I am in Denver for my final 10 days before departing for Kenya.   It has been a long process to get to this point and now departure and the start of this great adventure is only days away.   I will enjoy my days with Russ, Shannon and Lucy, Betsy and Dave and Katie and Janiene.   It will be great to have the family together before I say kwa heri (goodbye) to all.  I hope that this is just the first of my many entries to keep you posted on my journey.   Let me know if you successfully access this blog, because as many of you know, I am hardly computer literate!!!   Take care, and stay in touch.

My Great Family

My Great Family
Katie, Shannon, Lucy, Pat, Russ, Betsy

Contact Information

My email address is:

My snail mail address will be:
Pat Novak, PCV
        PO Box 539
        Tala   90131