Sunday, June 28, 2009

A day in the life

Saturday June 13

6:15 am – Wake up and lounge in bed for 10 minutes or so till I start to hear the voices of the night watchmen arriving for coffee.

6:25 – Get up and go to the house to get the water on for coffee for the nigh watchmen who are going home, and the day staff who are coming on (usually Lynne does this, but they’re away for two and a half weeks or so, so I’m happy to fill in).

7:00 – I make some oatmeal for breakfast, but just enough for me. Usually Lynne makes a big pot and leaves the rest for the workers. I didn’t think of this till after, and make a mental note to make a little more than I need next time.

8:15 – I walk to Grant’s house (another missionary) to plug in my computer and head to town for Saturday tuition (as they say, “tooshen”). Yep, classes on Saturdays (blasphemy!). I meet two women on the way and have a short conversation in Rendille – woohoo! As I walk, the sights and sounds of an African morning greet me – roosters crowing; a long line of Rendille women at the community water pump, yellow gerry cans lined up in the sun; elders squatting in the shade deep in conversation; little children’s shouts of “mzungu!” as I walk by; goats and sheep wandering among the dukas (shops) and huts. It’s a happy walk to the Tirrim Center.

9:00 – My first class is maths class seven. Even though it’s Saturday, I’m grateful to have the time, cause at least I can pre-teach a few difficult concepts in our upcoming unit. Break comes and I chill with some of the kids. When the time comes for the next class to begin (English class six), I find that my class has all left! There’s a big harambee on (a fundraising event for someone who’s going to university) and the secondary kids were watching a video (a big event in Korr!) so I think they all decided they had better things to do! I'm partly disappointed, but am grateful to have some unexpected free time.

10:45 – I begin wandering home, stopping when I see some boys from the school playing a game in town. They have a line of shoes lined up six or eight feet from a thorn bush, and are playing triple jump (double jump?) over the shoes and the bush. I stop to watch. Shortly after I get there, a big herd of goats and sheep cross our path, trampling over the kids school books. One book is ripped in half. The kids just laugh like this is normal (stampeding goats!!!) and carry on with the game once the goats are gone. One boy has rolled his pants all the way up to his thighs and all he has are two skinny little legs sticking out from under his T-shirt. At first I thought he wasn’t wearing any pants! Yikers! He’s one of my class clowns from class six, and he cracks me up! I watch as the boys play, and just before carrying on my way, I decide that I want to join in the game, too! I slip onto the path from the side and start running. Whoop! Over the shoes and I just pray I make it over the thorn bush, too. Falling on my toukas in a skirt in front of a bunch of my students would NOT quite be the effect I was going for. Not to mention the thorn bush would rip my legs to shreds. But huzzah! I made it! The boys couldn’t contain their disbelief (I like to think it was awe!) that their madam just totally joined their game and kicked butt! Buah ha ha!

11:30 - I wander home through town and head to Grant’s house to charge up the next computer battery, upload a photo, and send an email. I have a quick chat with a friend on Skype and show one of the pastors, who is also there, a little bit about blogs.

12:30 - I rush back home to bake a cake for my class, class seven, who is coming over in a little less than an hour for a class party. I want to show them the photos of our outing the day before, and just have a little fun. Maria, a girl from class four, drops by as I am baking, so I get her to help and invite her to stay. (She’s SO fabulous! She was over a while ago and I showed her a coconut that I brought back from the coast. We cracked it open and I gave her some to eat, and I showed her some photos of friends back home. I guess it was a good time, cause as she left, she flung her arms around me and said, “Madam! I HAVE to kiss you!”)

1:15 - The kids begin to arrive just as the cake is coming out of the oven. We wait till a good group shows up and then they all crowed around my laptop for a slideshow of photos from the term so far. They sit mesmerized for nearly an hour. Yes, I, er, have a lot of photos. I haven’t had a chance to cull them, but that certainly doesn’t matter to these kids. For most of them it is their first time ever even SEEING a computer, let alone seeing THEMSELVES on the screen! Before the compy completely dies, we all have cake and juice and just hang out. I have a ton of marking to do, so I reluctantly send them home around 3:30.

3:45 – Most of the kids leave, but the few girls in my class hang back. “Madam, we want to see your house,” they tell me (my room is in a separate building from the house where he had the party.) I invite them in and we hang out – they look at my “friend board” and just sit and chat for a while. I was happy to have some “girl time” with them!

4:30 – I wash the dishes from the party – there were lots and I didn’t want to leave them all for Samayon (a mama that Nick and Lynne employs) to do – there were too many!

5:15 – I sit outside and read my book, enjoying the golden evening light. I should be marking English books, but I’m tired!

6:00 – Marmalo, the head of the Tirrim veterinary project, comes with some medicine for the dogs. Tigger’s not eating, and Kuurte (sp?) was in a fight and has all kinds of cuts and a swollen “knee.” She’s too hurt and scared, and, though we try to hold her down, she wriggles around and the needle detaches from the syringe and stays in her bum! Gak! We get the needle out, but she runs away. Marmalo and Boya, our night watchman, go after her and hold her down. I'm glad I'm not the one who has to do it.

6:45 – I head to Jim and Laura’s for dinner (another missionary couple here in Korr), as I do every Saturday night. We have a good conversation about some ministry questions I’m having, and talk about feelings and responses to the drought the Rendille are facing. I’m encouraged by their wisdom and support, and am so grateful for them!

9:00 – I head home. I want to sleep in a little tomorrow, so I decide to boil water ahead of time and leave it in the thermoses for the morning. I leave the house key with Boya, so he can let people in the house in the morning. While the water is boiling, he sees my iPod on the counter and askes, “Waha a mehe?” (What’s this?). The best I can do is tell him it’s a radio. He looks doubtfully at the iPod, speakers, and battery pack, I’m sure thinking, “This isn’t like any radio I’ve ever seen!” I turn it on and his face lights up. He catches the tune and hums along. I translate the first song vaguely into Rendille, and say a few words as the song progresses so he knows what it means (God - strong!, Jesus, only you…). As I get out the cups and prepare the coffee for the morning, the water finishes boiling. I say goodnight to Boya and lock up the house.

9:30 – I head to my room, where I get ready for bed. I read my current John Grisham novel for a while, but a busy day and the heat of the desert have sapped my energy, and I am soon asleep.

It's been a good day!


Jean said...

what a day! sounds like it was a good one. :)

Karen said...

It's been a full day. :)