Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Site assignment at last

Habari ya Mwaka Mpya – Happy New Year and may 2009 be a year of change and betterment world wide.   January 20 will probably become a new Kenyan national holiday.  I am going to enjoy viewing the world from this side of the Ocean.  I am hoping to finally be able to buy a newspaper and catch up on the news.


The holidays have passed.   I will be the first to admit Christmas was a bit rough emotionally.   Fortunately I heard from all of my children which was wonderful.  Packages had not arrived yet and I am hoping they will in Nairobi when we arrive.  Snail mail takes 3 weeks and packages may take up to 4.  I am hoping to have a PO box on site to eliminate some of that time.   I am trying to write “group” letters from Kenya to keep you updated since internet access is not the easiest.   It may or may not change when I get to site.


We had our language (LPI) exam last week – I actually improved my score from Novice medium to Novice HIGH which is encouraging.   The next level, intermediate low is the passing level.   Maybe 8-10 out of our group did that – and they are the ones who studied all the time.   Me – I liked hanging out with my host family.   Hopefully PC will provide a tutor on site (it’s in the manual!)   I felt pretty good about my score, since I felt rather low after actually taking the exam.  There must be a better way, but in the short time we have (which was cut shorter with the holidays) I don’t know what it would be.


Sunday is a family/partner appreciation dinner and then PC stays at Outward Bound where we stayed the first night in Loitokitok.   We leave early Monday morning for the 8 hour bus ride to Nairobi.   It looks like a packed schedule there and we will finally meet our counterparts and find out our site locations.  I haven’t  even looked at the location list and will be more than happy to go where I am assigned.   I  truly want electricity at home and at last easy access to running water.  AND, I want a work assignment that I will be comfortable with.  By the time I post this, I will know and let you all know.  The unknown isn’t bad if you don’t think about it!


I have had some great 4 hour hikes around the area over the past couple of days.  It has been a great stress reducer.  Yoga has been minimal, but am hoping to find PAT TIME on site and build it into my schedule.


I have not been successful in attaching pictures to this blog, but will work on it again today.  I would love to have you see the countryside which is absolutely georgous.  Mt. K looms everywhere.   I hope to be in the Rift Valley or in Central (Mt Kenya) areas.  There are quite a few assignments in the Coast area, which will have a totally different landscape.   Each will have its challenges and benefits.


Will finalize this in Nairobi and get it posted.   Thanks to all who have written – it is so much fine to get news from home.   Group letters are great – keep them coming.  Love to all – enjoy the cool weather – about 90 here today and the sun is HOT. 

We had a long, hot and dusty (8 hr) bus ride from Loitokitok to Nairobi on Monday - sitting several hours in stand still traffic.   Not much fun breathing that diesel fuel.  It was great to get to a fairly new hotel with private rooms, western toilets and hot water.  After a decent night's sleep it was back into peace corps pace, a lot of information and forms to fill out.  Today, Wednesday, we met our counterparts and finally found out where our site locations are.   I will be in Muranga, central province.   So from looking at Mt. K on a regular basis, I will be able to see Mt. Kenya.  A good location weather wise and it appears to be a good work position.   I will be assisting the Kanyenyaini Tea Factory which deals with fair trade products.  The person I met with is the accountant and I am not sure what all my work will entail, but at least Accounting is part of the equation.   My home, from what I can tell is 2 rooms and has electricity and running water.  It is 2 hours from Nairobi which is great.  The 8-10 bus rides do not thrill me a lot.  I will travel there with my partner on Friday and see my home then.   I think I will be able to buy everything I need locally which will be great.   I will furnish it pole pole (slowly) and buy only what I need.   

Kswahili continues to be a nemesis - the 16 who scored Novice High will be tested again in 3 months - we need to elevate to the next level so I will be hiring a tutor on site and working hard.  I think I will be okay, if I can just get over the fear of speaking!!!!!    I am quite good on paper, but that doesn't count.

Just finished eating a burger, fries and chocolate malt with friends.   Came back and consumed 6 of Betsy's chocolate chip/raisin/nut cookies I received today.   Too bad they were sent December 1, but they still tasted great.   Life goes on in Kenya - all is well.   Keep writing and staying in touch.   Thanks for all the Christmas notes, you might want to send Halloween cards soon so they get to me in time!    Love to all.   As for pictures, I will continue to work on that, but check out some of the other Kenya websites, we are all here together and they may be able to give you some indication of what I am doing.

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My Great Family

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

Contact Information

My email address is:    p_novak@hotmail.com

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