Monday, June 8, 2009


So a lot has happened since I wrote last. I took my first bath since I have been in Keumbu on Saturday. This was a very interesting experience. The house I am staying at has no running water or electricity. Therefore our bathroom is a pit toilet, which is a hole in the ground that we hover over. It isn't too bad to go pee in, but a bit awkward when you have to poop. There are always a ton of flys, so you have to try and swat them away while your doing your business!

Any way, back to the bath. You shower in the same place that you go to the bathroom. I unfortunately asked Margart the house keeper to warm me some water right before a thunder and ligtening storm happened. This was a bit scary since the shower is a small metal shack. I had a 5 gallon bucket of water, a small pitcher, and a bowl. I stood next to the bucket and used the pitcher to get water all over myself. It surprisingly worked quite well. Before I got in the shower, I was admiring how tan I had gotten since I arrived. However, after looking at the black water in the bowl when I finished, I realized that I was still as white as ever, but just govered in dirt.

Yesterday we went to visit Mama and Pastors eldest daughter who is in a boarding school. There were 9 of us cramed into a small 5 person car for a 1.5 hour drive each way. The girls there were so excited to see us and kept stroking our hair and asking us to take the to America. As we began to leave, a huge rain storm started. The road we were on was all dirt and had huge pot holes in them. At one point, the road was washed out and it was basically a river flowing beneth us. The taxi we were in was not able to make it, so we all had to get out and push the car. It was raining so hard that we were instantly soaked. We were all still in our church clothes, so you can only imagine what 4 soaking wet white girls in skirts and flip flops looked like pushing this car on the road. We do have pictures and videos of it! The taxi continued on for a few houndred yards after it got unstuck, and so we had to chase after it.

A little later, there was a huge hill and the taxi again could not make it up. We got out and tried to push with all of our might, but we did no good. The taxi backed down the hill to try and take a run at it. We continued to walk up the hill, but had to jump into the ditch because the taxi came flying at us and was out of control. To make the story even better, Ashley was wearing flip flops and could hardly walk. She also had left her glasses in the car so she was pratically blind. We were covered in mud from the car sparying it up at us and from walking up the hill. This was the second bath that I have taken since here, however I think I ended up dirtier than I was before, but at least the sweat was washed away. The car bottomed out at least 30 times if not more. Each time, us white peopl flinched, afraid something would break, but the others acted like it was no big deal.

Teaching is going ok. I taught math for 80 mins and english for 40 mins this morning. It's hard cause the kids just stare at you blankly and you aren't sure if they understand what you are saying or not. They always say they do, but i'm not sure. The kids are really respectful and stand up everytime you enter the room. Also, if you are in the room before you, they ask permission to come in. When ever they answer a question, they always stand up. It's also difficult because I have no materials to help me teach with. There is only one text book per class, so the children can't read along with you. We are going to the book store after this to try and buy more. We would like each student to have one to take home and to follow along with in class. I believe this would greatly improve their education.

The children aren't like the ones in America, they truly want to learn and have a desire to do good in school. School is a huge privilege here. Most of the two hundred children that attend her are orphans. Many have never seen a world map, so I am going to try and see if I can find a laminated poster in town to take to them. They have no posters or visuals for these children. Many don't have backpacks, pens, pencils or paper. We are going to try and get these while in town today if we can find the store. Many of the childrens uniforms have huge holes and tears in them. These children are lucky to eat one meal a day.

Where we are staying, we get three meals a day, but we are getting really sick of them. Breakfast is one peice of bread and tea (not even toast, just bread). We bought some peanut butter to put on it to make it a little better for us. Lunch and dinner is either potatoe or bannana soup. Potatoe is pretty good, but I don't really care for the bannana. Plus there is only so much you can eat of these, and it gets old when you have the same thing twice a day. We occassionally will get fruits with dinner.

Now for a little back ground on the family I am living with. They have 3 of their own children, Daffine, David, and Daisey. They have also taken in several orphans. Mary was the first. Pastor first noticed her when she was four. She always came to school and was very skinny. She informed him that she was lucky if she ate oncce a day. Her parents died when she was 3 month old from AID's and she was taken in my relatives. They were abusive to her because they were afraid that she might as well be HIV positive. Pastor swears that if he hadn't of taken her in, she would have died soon. She has been tested 3 times and is HIV NEGATIVE!!! She is now doing great and loves school.

Next was Dalvine, who was dropped off at their door step. She is 6 now and also doing great. There is also Sharron who showed up one day with her luggage. She is 7 and loves to read. Then there is Lilian who Pastor took in when she was in class 4. She is now in class 6.

Finally, there is Peter who is 17. His parents died a few years ago of AID's. He was forced to drop out of school and move to the Great Rift Valley for work. However, because of the post election violence, had to move back to Keumbu. One day at church, he came up to pastor and asked if he could work on his farm in exchange for room and board. Mama and Pastor agreed. Shortly after, one of their volunteers asked Peter if he wanted to attend school. He had been out for 5 years, but really wanted to. He is now in, what we would consider, his freshman year of high school and hopes to become a journalist for the UN writing about the issues in Uganda and Somalia. That volunteer sponsors him and pays $400 USD per year for all of his school fees and uniforms. That $400 will really make a huge difference in his life.

Mama and Pastor would eventually like to take in more children, but right now don't have the finances for it. Their son David will be going off to secondary school soon and hopes to become a Pilot. He is one of the brightest kids I have ever met. I really hope that both of these boys fulfill their dreams. Right now they are looking for a sponsor for David because they want to send him to a national school since he is so smart. There are also many kids in the community who are out of school because their parents can't afford it.

I did my first load of laundry by hand this weekend. I washed a pair of shorts, and then Mama asked me if they were clean. I assured her that they were, and she asked to see them. Right after she dunked them in the water and said that we white people dont know how to do laundry. We are not allowed to do chores where we are staying, and they get offended if we try to help with laundry. I went back to my pile to wash my shirt, and found that it was missing because Margart was already washing it.

There is a lot of racism here, however it's not the way you would think. People here almost worship white people. When going through a police check, if they see a white person in the car, the police will let the car go by because they don't want to cause us any trouble. If it was a car full of black people, they would be pulled over and eiter arrested or forced to pay off the police officer even if they didn't do anything. People her pray that their children will be as "chocolate" as possible because the lighter the skin the better. When in the slums, people want to touch us because we are considered so good. I can't even explain how weird it is to be treated like this. They say that we are perfect and can't make mistakes. We try to insure them that this is very false.

Where I am staying is near where Obamas grandma lives. We have been asked so many time to tell him hi for people. They think that we know him personnally. On the way here, we passed an Obama Cafe. You see his picture everywhere, on signs, shirts, ect. They keep telling us that he is their president as well.

Love you all and hope you are all doing well!

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