October 12: life is good

This week has just been amazing in general. I mean nothing spectacular or unusal really happened, I’m just becoming so much more appreciative of the time I get to spend with my kids. I feel more aware of them, more exposed and comfortable with them, which is allowing me to enjoy their company so much more than I used to. It used to be more of a pain to share living quarters with 50 kids than a pleasure, but now I feel so much differently.

So, let’s take a look at yesterday. Well, this whole week really..
I’m teacher on duty this week, which means that I’m supposed to be watching the kids and “supervisor” from like 7am to 5pm. Thank god I live here. But even living here, I normally go into my house for a majority of the afternoon. While I’m on duty though, I’m supposed to be out there, with the kids. So I’m really trying, and yesterday I had assistance from my house helper and had to wait for her to finish cleaning before I could go home anyways. So, while I was forced to be outside with the kids, I was thoroughly entertained by their impersonations of other kids and teachers, gymnastics, dancing, and even rapping impersonations. I am still amazed by their creativity and ability to perform. When the shade was too cool, the boys are now familiar enough with my routine that they had the teacher chair sitting in my usual spot, in the blazing sun (which always seems unusual to the Kenyans) surrounded by an arc of student chairs. It was priceless.

I took a seat and the beauty squad came to pamper me while I watched Paul terrorize the others, who were attempting to perfect the cartwheel. A few girls came to show me cuts and injuries, I taught them how to treat such injuries. A new boy came and they came to tell me all about him. He was extremely distraught when his mother left, making him pretty unbearable for the kids. They came and asked me to come help (even though the last new boy screamed bloody murder for a week every time I approached him) and brought him to me. It was precious.

Today, after school finished, I attempted to fulfill my duty by sitting outside with the kids after lunch, but the rain relieved my from my obligation. However, in the one hour that I did sit outside with them, I had a dance team choreographing a routine for me on my right and boys performing stunts on my left. We storied for a while before I saw that some of the kids had been through my last trash dump – obvious by the crystal light packets they were carrying around and licking. Before long, everyone had something American in their hands and came running to me to show off their treasures. One kid excitedly pulled melted scented candle wax (from home) out of an empty sugar bag. He eagerly held it up for me to smell and popped it into his mouth. After a little deliberation, he spat it out and stared at it quizzically before wandering off, disappointed in his recent discovery. The rest of the kids kept dancing until the rain started and I withdrew into my house. A few hours later, I went outside to my choo, which neighbors the kids choo and a handwashing station. As I passed, I noticed a few of the kids crowded around the bucket for washing their hands. Further investigation revealed that this strange substance is just stubborn soap (literally, signing “soap” and “refuse” with an angry face and a wagging finger at the lump of wax). After several minutes of experimenting with the new “soap,” they apparently approved it and it is now in the soap dish on top of both handwashing buckets.

It’s just been these little things that make my time here completely worthwhile. They are so awesome, it’s unlike any experience I’ve ever had before. Earlier today I went out to pick my clothes off of the line when it started to sprinkle. I snatched my first shirt and a kid was standing beside of me with his arms out. Not one to refuse child labour, I began throwing my clothes at him as I plucked them off the line. Other kids swarmed as the rain increased and began yanking my clothes of the line, too. Soon they all had something in their hands and lined up at my door to bring them into my house. These little things just turn me into such a sap.

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