Today was … interesting. The typical spastic blends of rollercoastery ups and downs. I went in without expectations, which is generally a good thing in this line of work. I learned how to get to work, I think. I’m still not 100% if that location is my full-time post or if I’ll just be spending time there when I’m not accompanying my counterpart/supervisor-type person on field missions. Not am I entirely sure what those field missions will *entail* precisely. My job description seemed a sort of vague amalgamation of community empowerment and practical taskwork. I’ll be meeting with him tomorrow to talk more about his objectives and mine. The Peace Corps has given me structure of community needs assessment tasks to be completed within my first three months (or is it six weeks? I ought to confirm that), and he has ideas about why I’m here as well. Hopefully, we can meet somewhere in the middle.

There are also secondary projects to be considered, but I’m officially kicking THAT can down the road until at least 3 months in. Per policy, actually.

I learned my way around the dispensary where I may be working, met some of the staff, and tried not to horrifically frustrate the nurses who gave me simple assistant tasks to do. Record-keeping, sorting pharmaceuticals, that sort of thing. Doctor scrawl: it’s universal (maybe my first secondary project can be to get all healthcare workers into remedial penmanship classes? First Kenya, tomorrow the world?) I took tea with the senior health officials of the establishment, which was most enlightening. I shocked the pants off of a couple of patients by greeting them in Swahili, then regretted it when I began getting complicated questions about medical stuff. On a more positive note, I’m now ace at saying “I’m sorry, I can’t help you, but the nurse who can will be back soon if you could please wait a few minutes.”

At lunch time, my other supervisor/counterpart – let’s call her Lily (not her real name), because I’m sick of doing this descriptive thing – said I looked like I needed a rest and gave me the rest of the day to do so. I first ventured into town to get my bearings. I walked the kilometer-ish from my house to the beach (HA!) and sat on a rock for a bit watching the waves before I was approached by some random dude. He’s a Kenyan bartender, and it turns out he knows one of the other volunteers in my area. Fancy that. Word travels. First he asked me about Obama, which was expected, and then he asked me about Bill Clinton, which was less so. I kept it factual but neutral (as best I could). Definitely a “goal two” experience, as we say in the Peace Corps. It was a pleasant and nicely un-sleazy conversation.

When I finally made it back home, I kind of collapsed onto my mattress and napped. It’s hot, I’m tired, and I wish my shower actually had colder water. I couldn’t rest for long. My landlord dropped in a little while ago to see how things are coming along. When he entered, I was sitting on a jerry can with my feet in a bucket of water reading my preferred news source, The Daily Nation. “Too hot?” he asked, not unkindly. “Kidogo,” I responded with a chuckle. A little.

“These things take time. You’ll settle in.” He glanced around, smiling. “Maybe even … someday you’ll settle in so much you have furniture!”

At this, we both couldn’t help but laugh, which is all that is to be done about any day, in the end.

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