I’m finally in my new home in Siaya. It’s been a little challenging to adjust, but I am so thrilled to finally be unpacked at settling in. Last night was my first night in my new home, by myself, and it went pretty smoothly. I spent the day yesterday unpacking my suitcases, rearranging furniture and making the place mine. I will start with my day yesterday.
I woke up at Mr. Ambalo’s house pretty early to the hustle & bustle of his kids getting ready for school. It was their first day of school, and I believe they were up around 6 to get prepared. I stayed in bed until about 7:30, then finally rolled out to have some tea, bread with butter and boiled plantains (matoke). I ate more than I should have due to stress, but that made the Ambalo’s happy. Pretty much a win-win situation. So after tea and breakfast, I went to town with Mr. Ambalo and Sherry, his neice who is temporarily living with them to help care for the kids. Sherry went with me to the town and helped me pick the things I would need to get me through the week. We bought sugar, milk, bread, peanut butter, you know… the essentials. Then we went to the market, where the mama’s sell their produce. Here I bought several tomatoes, bananas, avocados, onions and carrots. Thank goodness Sherry went with me, because she picked the produce and negotiated the prices. Mr. Ambalo says that they will probably not take advantage of me because of Whitney shopping here in the past, but we will see. The truth is, even if they do jack up the price, it’s still really stinking cheap. I just have no idea how much things should cost, which I will establish in time. While staying with Claire, I bought a pineapple for 100 bob, which is about 1 USD. I was ok with it, sounded like a good deal, but later her headmistress said that we shouldn’t pay more than 60bob for a pineapple. Huh. Go me.
So after all of the shopping was taken care of, Mr. Ambalo brought me to the school and to my new home. It was pretty dirty, but no big deal. I started by moving some furniture around, then I unpacked a few bags. After getting tired of unpacking, I began to wash all of the dishes that were still in the kitchen. I had to go outside to fetch a bucket of water to wash my dishes, because there is no water in my house. So I had two basins, one for washing, one for rinsing. Then I refilled the big bucket with water to purify for drinking and cooking. While washing the dishes, one of the teachers came by to help me get settled in. She swept the house and mopped the floors for me, which was so helpful because sweeping and mopping in Kenya is much different from sweeping and mopping back home. In fact, I plan to find someone to do that kind of cleaning for me regularly, especially during the rainy seasons.
So, after the sweeping and mopping was finished, we went out to sit on the benches under the trees for some lunch – which was just white rice, prepared by the school’s cooks. It was nice and quiet, just sitting there, enjoying the breeze and the sun. The weather here has been phenomenal. In Eregi (Claire’s home), it was hot but not humid, and rain came during the night. Here, it is slightly hotter while still not humid, but there is no rain. In fact, it is so dry that just walking down the road here, clouds of dust puff at every footstep. The wind creates waves of dust that just circle around you. It is unlike anything I have seen at home. The sun is extremely fierce. I have made an effort to apply sunblock throughout the day, which is pretty out of character for me. The shade is so pleasant though! In fact, with a breeze, it can still feel a little cool in the shade. Evenings are cool, almost cold. I always wear pants and a sweater or jacket in the evenings.
Anyways, after lunch, which was around 2, I continued cleaning and organizing for the remainder of the afternoon. I heated my own water for my bath (first time ever!) and had to try to figure out how to bathe while my basin of water was on the ground. It’s pretty challenging washing your hair in a bucket that is sitting on the ground. At my homestay, we put the bucket on a stool, which is much easier. Today, after I write my blog, I am going to make an attempt to go into town to pick up a few things and a PACKAGE that Mr. Ambalo brought me a yellow slip for Yay! It might be interesting trying to bring a stool back home with me, out this 10+ km road. We’ll see how it goes.
I made a guacamole-ish dish last night, and a wheat pita for it. It was delish! And then had some hot cocoa afterwards. Around 6-7 in the evenings, you have to close all of the windows to keep the mosquitoes out. After closing my windows, it was pretty dim in here, so I tried to light my lantern, but it had no wick (another thing to pick up today). So, I had to use my headlamp for the evening, and one candle that Whitney happened to leave behind (Thanks!). Since it was dark, and there wasn’t much else to do in the dark, I went to bed pretty early. I think around 8:30. That’s it. My first day on my own, and I survived, and I woke up this morning feeling pretty great.