Not only is it the dry season, but several of our main roads are making the transformation from dirt tracks to real tarmac, so walking to class is like the opening of a bad spaghetti Western. Strolling through the dirt clouds, unable to make out anything but the shadowy outline of people approaching … bah. I hope it’s a bit more breathable on the Coast. I’d sell my soul for a neti pot right about now.

Life continues here hatua kwa hatua (step by step) as we make the final push to becoming “real” volunteers. Nothing is official until we Swear-In two weeks from today; the rug could – in theory – still be yanked out from under us at any time if we fail to achieve a certain degree of linguistic and cultural proficiency. Last week, we had tests on simple Kenyan tasks: washing laundry by hand, lighting a lantern, peeling vegetables. Because my Kiswahili teacher was my examiner, he made me narrate what I was doing in the local language as I went along. Passed with flying colors, though. No worries there. We also had a lengthy written exam about community assessment tools and crud like that, which was slightly more challenging … remember all those nightmares you had in college where you show up for an exam you’d completely forgotten you would have to take?

Yeah. I guess that happens in real life sometimes.

We also had to do a series of “round robins” in the language we’re learning. That is, we were put in potentially unsafe or annoying situations (filing a police report, dealing with pushy hawkers, riding public transportation, having a drink in a club) and made to practice our “safety conversational skills.” Sounds boring, but it was actually hilarious and awesome. After I finished my scenarios, I got to assist in harassing the other Kiswahili students. Good times.

But the big fear we’re all staring down is the dreaded “LPI,” or “Language Proficiency …. something.” Interview? Inquisition? I don’t recall, sadly. That’s next Wednesday. It’s the real make-or-break for whether or not we’ll be able to actually go to site.

If all that goes well (inshallah) we’ll be packing to go to Nairobi. It feels like everything has shifted into fifth gear since the Fourth of July (which was a fun time – all the volunteers pitched in and had a potluck/slumber party at a place with cabins on the slopes of Kili). I’m not entirely sure what to think about it all.

For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting pictures … I haven’t taken any. Bite me. Hopefully when I get to Nairobi (and maybe maybe will have FREE WIRELESS) I will try to upload some that I take in the next week or so.

This entry is slightly scattered, but I’m sorry. I’m distracted, stressed, and busy. And also happy. So far. So good.