Tuesday, March 31, 2009

At last!

Today is the first day of my stay in Nguluni. Amazing that I can say that after having been in this community for almost 4 months. BUT, I managed to pass the language proficiency test today – over the phone no less! I know I know more Kiswahili than I showed on the exam, but now I can continue to learn and use the language and have it be FUN rather than an obstacle to overcome. I cannot express the relief I am feeling. I now feel like I can start projects and become more involved in the community I live. Up until now I have been reluctant to do much of anything except go to work, study KSW and walk! Never did want to start something I could not finish!

Over all, not much has happened in here since I last reported. Over the weekend, my school was robbed – for the third time in 6 months. Only one sewing machine was taken, but that machine was used in the workshop to sew school uniforms and generate income for the school. Now the challenge is to find a location to build their own facility. Always financing comes into play as well. The students will be on break for the next month, so hopefully Mr. Mutua and Mr. Keli and I can brainstorm and come up with some ideas.

I have several ideas popping up – quilting classes for HIV/Aids people, cooking classes for the community (we have a great PC cookbook using a jiko la makaa (charcoal)). I have tried some of the cakes and breads and they are great! Just need someone to lite the ^&*()_ jiko for me. Never did master that skill, but what the hey – I got through KSW, the jiko will not beat me. My neighbors all like my baking, and I think there might be a small market for classes. Just charge enough per person to cover buying the ingredients. Who knows, I may be the next Julia Childs of Kenya.

The weather here is HOT during the days – so enjoy your cool days. This is just like
August in NE with less humidity. We have had no rain for many weeks, electricity is sketchy on many days. Gets dark about 7, you will find me in bed about 7:15! Am getting some good sleep here – and it will only be better since I hope NOT to wake up in the middle of the night thinking of KSW verb tenses and noun classes.

Our PCV group will be meeting in Nairobi for 2 weeks in April. Days filled with training, but it will be nice to see everyone and find out what they are doing. I was in Muikirini (by Mt. Kenya) a couple of weeks ago for a language workshop with 3 other PCV. Watched the Bourne trilogy every night-but can honestly say I do not miss TV as much as thought I would. The area we were at is so different from here – hilly, green, and cool and you can see the mountain. Just whet my whistle for traveling the future.

That is about all the news from Kenya – hopefully I will have more to report, on a more regular basis now that I am not totally obsessed by the language challenge.
Continue to stay in touch – I check e-mails once a week and would love to hear from you. Snail mail is always a treat.

Hope you a all surviving the stock market roller coaster, politics in USA and just life in general. Take care

Kwa Heri kutoka Kenya - Mutanu (kikamba for “happy person)

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