Going Solar!

I am writing this with a fully charged computer, thanks to my new solar system for my house at Nina! The funny thing is, even though I have power and light bulbs and light switches that all work, I’m writing this in the company of my lantern. Everyone here thinks I’m crazy, and maybe I am, but I don’t want the light. I just want to keep my stuff charged. I have the rest of my life to live with electrical lighting, and for now, I really just want to live like everyone else in my village is living – and the majority of them are living without any electricity at all. I will take advantage of having the opportunity to charge my things, and the things of all the workers here, but I don’t want to use the lights. It’s good to know they are there, though, in case I need them.

So, to celebrate, I’m going to watch a movie before bed. It’s already 8:19, and to be honest, I’m usually already in bed. But this is a special occasion, and I think I will watch a movie, bright enough so I can see it, to the very end. In effort to preserve my battery, I usually watch the movie with my computer on the dimmest setting. I also skip parts that seem boring or that I think I can predict, that way I get to see the end. But, sometimes I have to end it early anyways because my battery is low. Not any more!!

Other things that are new here… hmmm… I taught myself to knit today, thanks to a really helpful book that grandma sent me. It was much easier than I expected. I have also been spending quite a bit of quality time with the 6 string. I’m having fun learning songs by hearing them from my ipod. I’ve been hanging out in the kitchen here, mainly because I’m there when it starts raining and I don’t want to walk through the mud while getting drenched..but it’s fun to watch them cook. There are three burners, and by burners, I mean craters in the concrete floor with three large stones each, and they build a fire in the crater with wood that a wagon yoked with 4 cattle bring once a month. So, the school kitchen is a bit different here than those at home, and much more interesting to watch, despite nearly suffocating from smoke inhalation.

I’m now taking Luo lessons twice a week, an hour each. I’m not really very motivated to use it, but it’s good to know. I’m learning it, but using it is a different story. In time it will get easier, I hope. Everyone that I deal with at the moment knows English, even if they prefer to speak Luo, so when I need to communicate there’s no problem. My favorite phrases are “bad manners” and “my name is not mzungu.” I have put those ones to use.

The rainy season is in full swing, and it is sheer insanity. Rain at home is insignificant compared to this. My 1000 L tank was nearly empty just two weeks ago. Our borehole was bone dry, and the kids were fetching water from a stream nearby. But now – my tank is overflowing. I filled two 20 L buckets of water within 15 minutes from the overflow spout coming from my water tank. I can’t accurately describe the magnitude of the rain here. Insane. And they tell me April is worse. I’m going to need a scuba suit.

Our classrooms are in the midst of renovations, about halfway finished. It is so exciting to see the cement walls and floor! Windows will be the last step, but I can’t wait to see it, it’s so hard for me to imagine. Pictures will be coming soon (speaking of which… my camera is charging in my bedroom right now!).

So far, we have raised just over $450 for mattresses, chairs, and mosquito nets for my school. Thank you all so much! I’m thrilled to have so much interest from everyone at home, and this really will make a difference in the lives of the people here. When you’re safe and satisfied at home, sometimes it’s hard to see how you can really make a difference. I know that I never contributed to charities and such because I didn’t really know how the funds would be spent. But here, I am so excited to really know that we are making a difference. Kids won’t be missing class because they are sick with malaria, and when they go to class, they will have a chair to sit in! After the supplies have been purchased, I will be sure to take pictures and give you a full report on what was purchased, so you see how you really can make a difference.

I think I have mentioned before how much my kids love looking at the moon through my binoculars. If not, they do. It’s so precious the first time they see the moon through binoculars, they are SO shocked how big it is! My church has sent several coloring books, and a few happened to be about going to outer space. I’m going to make copies of the pages to color soon, since Mr. Ambalo has a copy machine in town, but in the meantime, I thought I would show the pictures to the kids and give them a little assignment. I showed them the pictures of the space ships, and a few silly pictures of kids going to the moon. I explained that people have walked on the moon, and like an airplane, a space ship takes them there. They were all really interested and enthusiastic. I told them all to draw a picture of a space ship and gave them all paper and colored pencils. They loved it. I loved it. I will be doing activities like that more often.

Teaching is going well, and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable being in front of the class. My class 2 is now adding and subtracting without carrying/borrowing. That will be tough. Class 3 science is learning about the weather, which has been fun. We planted seeds the other day, to learn about how the weather impacts farming. We planted some outside to represent farming in the rainy season, and then a few in butter bowls that we keep in the class to represent the dry season. Another lesson we had was about what clothes to wear in certain weather conditions (not my idea – the Kenyan syllabus says class 3 science needs to learn this). So, I brought in a bunch of pictures from Aunt Becky of houses in snow and a bunch of fun winter clothes, and then I showed the kids pictures from home of me & my family in different environments, some in the snow, some at the beach, etc. They described the clothes, and then guessed if it was hot or cold. At the end, they had to imagine being in the snow and draw people wearing appropriate clothes for the snow. It was interesting. We will have to review that one… not sure they totally got it. They all drew pictures of me in the snow, exactly like the picture I had showed them, even the color of my jacket and scarf… so next time they won’t have anything to look at to copy.

Now that I have electricity, I hope to be writing more blog posts to share with everyone at home, accompanied with pictures. More soon 

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4 thoughts on “Going Solar!

  1. Kelsey, Thats for sharing all your experiences with us, they are so interesting. Excited that you now have $450.00 for the childrens needs and will be looking forward to pictures and hearing what all this supplied for them. Happy you now have electric and the next time mine goes off for a few hours, I will think of you and try not to complain. We here at home are so blessed. Love and prayers for you and your kids. Carol Hutchinson

  2. Hi Kelsey,
    I know that you have posted about how to get money to you before, but could you let me know again? I’m not sure if cash is the way to go or a check either!? I would love to help with the nets or whatever else is needed. Love reading your posts! God bless, Becky

  3. Yeah for power. We go get our second set of hep shots next week. Bobby may not make it this summer he just signed a lease for an apt for next year and he has to pay rent all summer. We will have to see. I can’t imagine what our trip will be like but still excited for the adventure

  4. So glad you have electric, and so glad that the supplies you have received are being so well put to use. I was wanting to ask you a question, I was going to send play doh when i sent your package last month, but there was not room in the box, i still have it and i was wondering do you think it is something that would be well utilized or do you think no?? also im going to send more of Hawaiian punch packets, did u have any one flavor that u liked more than others? i’m old school fruit punch and orange ocean were my favorite :-p let me know on facebook i want to get another package together before too long!

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