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

My Great Family

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

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Pat Novak, PCV
        PO Box 539
        Tala   90131