Saturday, January 23, 2010

Maisha mwema - my good life

I just realized it has been well over a month since I have updated my blog - probably because not too much has happened to report on from here.  Christmas was quiet.  Although I had invitations to join people, nothing was definite in natures, so I stayed home and was with my compound family and their extended families.  It was nice.  Mumo and Sam (almost) replaced playing with Lucy and all of the families kept bringing me food.  It was definitely more than I could eat, but in traditional American style, I stuffed myself on pilau, chapiti and mboga (rice, chapati, vegetables.  I had baked 11 cakes to give as gifts.  It was great!  When I usually bake a cake I take a slice for my self and divey up the remainder so they at least get a taste - but to get a whole cake was awesome!  Took me two days and a lot of charcoal to complete the task, but it was so much fun to see their faces it was worth the effort.  I included a cake for my neighborhood children who had never tasted anything like it before.  These are the kids, that the mamas are often gone and there is no baba in sight.  These are the kids taking care of kids and are not in school.  A sad sight.  Fortunately there are many intack families around as well.  Not much different than what one might find in America.

I am planning on traveling to the coast next week for a GAD (Gender and Development) meeting to plan the Camp GLOW which occurs in April.  I am taking extra days to see other PCVs along the way as well as the Eastern part of Kenya.  My PC experience has been limited to my site and Nairobi for the most part so this is an opportunity I cannot miss.  I am somewhat fearful about traveling by myself, catching the right matatu to get from point A to point B, but since I am staying with PCVs every night I at least have a specific destination and place to stay.  I have it planned that I travel only during the day - basically because PC prohibits traveling at night!  It will be a great way to see another part of Kenya as well as seeing what other PCVs are doing and how they are living.  But I know it will be HOT and HUMID there.  How do you back for 10 days in one small back pack?  (Clean underwear and a toothbrush I am thinking).

My attempts to teach quilting continue.  I re-cycled the pieces we assembled last term and had the students repeat what we had done.  We have only 5 students in the program right now so this is a good chance to assemble in a circle, quilt and "talk" as it be.  We actually completed all the squares and have them joined so they can see what the end product should be like.  I am having them do one square by hand and another on the machines.  They are not fond of handwork - takes too long!  I have become friends with a man who owns a fabric shop in Tala and he is most interested in what I am doing.  He teaches during the week, so I am trying to connect with him on the weekends.  As always, who knows what will become of this.

I have not connected with the Environment club at the secondary school for a while, as they have been on break.  Hopefully that will resume in the coming months.  They have planted maize amongst the trees we planted earlier.  The rains have been good so all looks well.

Camp GLOW will take up a lot of my time in the next couple of months.  It is a camp to empower young women in Kenya.  Our leader, Tameisha Henry, is doing a great job of doing all the hard work of connecting with partners and sponsors.  This is our meeting next week - to actually plan the events of the camp.  So if you have any ideas of any activities (however small) for community building, empowerment, blah, blah, blah let me know.

I think this catches you up to date on my life in Kenya.  It is well, not terribly exciting and I continue to wonder about the impact/change I will leave behind.  But I am having a good time in the process.  I have received photos showing the amount of snow on the ground in NE - brrrrr.  It just looks cold and overwhelming.  Stock up on movies, books, food and wine in case you get snowed it.  Then kick back and enjoy the forced r&r.

I hope this finds you all well.   I love hearing from you, so "good job, keep it up - try another day".  I miss you all.

From Nguluni - Mutanu (aka Pat)

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