I know that many of you were probably aware of my feelings before/during/following the consolidation event, and most of you probably knew that I was hoping to come home. Please make note of this confession, because it’s a true rarity, I was wrong. Additionally, I’m glad I was wrong, making this even more unusual. Mark it down.
Things here have been phenomenal. Everything, from the kids to the teachers; the swamps of mud to the blistering heat, life at Nina is just the bee’s knees. I know I mentioned some of my recent accomplishments/triumphs in my last post, which are nearly always coupled with equally significant challenges, but allow me to continue rambling about these happenings at Nina. Nothing incredibly noteworthy, not exactly anything to write home about, I guess, but at least blogworthy, for future entertainment. So if you’re reading this hoping for some exciting news, I hereby dismiss you to resume your facebook stalking.
The cow project is moving at snail speed, which is slightly disappointing, but at least it’s moving. And it’s not corrupt. So I guess there’s no room for complaints. Regardless of the speed of construction, we are still hoping to have cups running over with milk when school resumes next term, May 6. In fact, we plan to purchase the cows within the next 2 weeks, since they don’t really require housing, that’s just an added bonus for the lucky cows chosen to accompany us here at Nina.
We just finished exams this week, marking the end of the term. I’m incredibly, ridiculously proud of my class 3 Calvin – who just came last year – for earning a 64% on his math exam! It’s the highest math score I’ve seen on an exam since I’ve been here. Plus (no pun intended), he was so far behind when he came to school here. I’ve been showing off that test to all the teachers here endlessly (I think they’re almost as sick of that test as they are of the new constitution). You would think he was my own child. Speaking of which, Alphonce, also in Class 3, said my name for the first time this week! I was so excited I traumatized the poor kid with a hug for a reward. While Calvin and I were digging in the garden, I heard someone clapping to get my attention. I just ignored it, as usual, since I was clearly preoccupied, and then I heard “Adhiambo!” and thought it must be one of the workers. But instead, I found little Alphonce behind me! He’s always so shy to talk to me, even though he talks with the other teachers and workers freely. I was thrilled! Another “mom” moment.
So, more about that garden, it’s now only awaiting a fence, to protect it from our monstrous chickens. We have planted collards, eggplant, okra, carrots, onions and green peppers. Hopefully some of the seeds will survive the army of chickens terrorizing the compound (or maybe just me) while we wait for the fence to be finished. The kids worked so hard digging it up and getting it ready. I spent all weekend picking the rocks out of the soil, which amounted to a pile of gravel big enough to help fill in the fence-post-holes. My kids were so willing to help, too, which was pretty amazing. Even during the hottest part of the day, they continued working without complaint. I actually never even had to ask anyone to help; they all just came and started working when they saw me picking out the rocks. I might even share some of the crops with them, ha. Funny thing is even though I’ve never heard of an American kid who would consider okra or collards to be a reward. Even though I’m just kidding, I know these kids would actually be excited about it! Karibu Kenya.
On Friday, I’m planning to visit a nearby school for the mentally handicapped with Mr. Ambalo. I’ve been pestering him about this for a while now, so I’m really excited that it will finally happen. Having worked with kids with learning disabilities back home, I’m curious to gain some insight about the education system and treatment options here. Next week, on Wednesday, I will be accompanying our kids to a nearby school for the deaf for regional sports competitions. All teachers will be going with 40 of our students for 3 days to support them and coach them while they compete for deaf Olympics. Those who win at Nyangoma will continue to Provincial Sports, which will be held on the 11th of April at Maseno, followed by Nationals in Nairobi. Last year, Nina hosted Provincial Sports, and winners of Nationals continued to compete in the Deaf Olympics in Canada. In fact, a girl named Beryl came to Nina for Provincial Sports actually won medals in Canada. Wish us luck!