Thank goodness yesterday was awesome. The day before, as you can see from my last post, was pretty wretched. But yesterday made up for it. I think sometimes I just need to boil over, that way I can get a fresh start.
So, to begin with, I decided to be pouty yesterday and didn’t go to the morning assembly. Instead, I decided to sweep the dead cricket carcasses from the night before out my front door so all of the barefoot kids could trample them. While I was doing this, Jeff, one of our other new teachers this year, came to see how I was doing. It was nice just to have someone come check up on me. Then, after giving the crickets the burial they deserved, I decided I had better make an appearance outside. As soon as I went out, Vincent greeted me and asked if I was still angry. It might sound strange, but I really appreciated the fact that he knew I was angry yesterday, and not pretending like it was no big deal or anything. I really, genuinely appreciated his interest, even if the question was just a routine thing. I was glad that someone noticed and bothered to ask about it. I assured him today was better. Then I storied with him and another newer teacher, Karen, for a few minutes. This was when I realized today was a new day and it was going to be better.
After that, I came back to my house to wait to teach my class 2 at 9. I decided to look at pictures from home while I waited, and Dorine stopped by to give me her phone to charge. She saw me looking at pictures and wanted to see them, which I also appreciated. I love talking about home and showing everyone my family and friends. Afterwards, I decided to go socialize with Adika and Ajode under the shade trees, where I received a lecture about extremists, muslims, night-runners and sorcery, and the bible. It was a lengthy discussion that I contributed very little to, but interesting none-the-less. By then, it was time for tea, where I joined the other teachers under our other shade trees to story some more. Dorine explained to Jackie, our secretary, about my day yesterday and it was nice to feel like they understood and agreed that it would have been stressful for them, too. It was one of the best moments here, to be honest, because I was made aware of how much they do care about me and even though there are numerous cultural differences that explain why we react differently in similar situations, the fact that they respond/react differently doesn’t mean that they don’t care. It was an epiphany. From there, my day was great.
I went to a new market with Dorine after school, because we were supposed to go yesterday but I was not up for it. So, ususally we go to Uhuru, but today we went to Omala. It is kind of towards Siaya town, opposite direction of Uhuru, but about the same distance. I greeted a few people in Luo and they were SHOCKED, which was really rewarding. I went to Dorine’s house and met her mama and her daughter. At the market, I bought onions, tomatoes, bananas, and two vegetarian samosa’s – mostly in Luo. Then we started walking back and we talked about all of the kids, their parents, their history.
And, on the way back, Dorine took me to the home where she gets her mandazi (donuts without all the sticky sugar) for tea every day. It was amazing to see these men making these donuts with such a minimal kitchen. I was extremely impressed and stoked about being given a big bag of them to take home. I plan on going back one weekend (they suggested a Sunday, but told me I am welcome any time) to watch how they make them again, and hopefully take a video to show you. You will be amazed. And they made so many! They call it a bakery, but not a bakery as we know it. This bakery had no electric or running water, no oven, and no mixer. It was all manpower. Amazing.
Once I got home, I decided just to eat the donuts and samosas for dinner and read up on culture shock and adjustment. It made so much sense to me now, since I have experienced it. Before, it was just blah blah blah, but now, I get it. And it helps me know how to handle it, and even on my walk to the market yesterday, I was so much more aware of the culture here and noticed things I might have ignored before reading about culture.
Anyways, the point is, all of the hard times and the low points create the opportunity for a high point. Every time I have a challenge, and obstacle, I feel like it’s over, I’m done, woe is me – my life is coming to an end. But then, something miraculous happens and I get over the hurdle, and then I look back and think “wow, I did that!” and life goes on. If it weren’t for those low’s, I wouldn’t have any high’s. Not saying I will be thrilled about my next problem or anything… just acknowledging that they do serve a purpose