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The nursery school kids at one of my schools take advantage of a rare break in the rain to build sandcastles in the schoolyard.

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Hey ladies and gents,

Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately. Things have been a little intense here – the end of the term is coming, the rainy season is almost upon us, and I’m up to my eyeballs in things to think about. Also: taxes. (FYI, watch this blog around tax day, and I’ll finally break the silence about specific projects.) I’m currently working on a trio of posts for next week in honor of World Water Day, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, feast your eyes upon a handful of pictures of adorable Kenyan children.

I volunteered to take some snapshots at one of my schools’ Sports Day festivities, but these little monsters kept trying to drag my attention away from the volleyball team so I’d take their picture instead.

Their mom is a colleague of mine at that school and was thoroughly amused by their antics as well.

I wonder if she’ll still be amused when I lock her kids up into my luggage and take them home with me because they’re so gosh darn cute?

(I’m kidding, I’m kidding.)

(Probably.)

Photos taken last week at my Dabaso child health outreach. This was the cutest herd of little girls in the Southern hemisphere. I had a hard time getting a good picture because every time I pointed the camera at them, they all froze up and started giggling nervously.


Check out the one hamming it up for the camera, bottom right.

They were playing a game called … well. When I was their age, my West Virginian gym teacher called it “Chinese Jumprope,” but there’s probably something un-PC about that. But it involves taking a loop of twine, pulling it taut between two girls, then hopping in and out of the narrow space in the middle. If you look carefully, you can see their rope in the picture – it’s red/orange.

Not only were they nearly all perfect at it, leaping deftly in and out of a loop well above their knees without a bobble or flaw, but they did it in calf-length skirts. I have never been, and will never be, that coordinated. It made me want to trip over something nonexistent and fall on my face just watching them.

Have I mentioned that I get paid to live here?

My coworker has a 19-month-old daughter whom she brings to the clinic with her sometimes. I didn’t recognize her the other morning because she didn’t start screaming and trying to hide as soon as I walked in the room (“It is because of your white skin,” her mother once explained to me matter-of-factly, “You are so pale it is like a monster.”) Instead, she confidently yelled “HI!” and reached for my hair. Apparently, she has appointed herself as my new best friend. Any time her mother set her down, she would come running for my desk, giggling all the way. I could always tell she was coming because her shoes had squeakers implanted in them like those from a dog toy. As I heard the telltale squeaking getting closer, I’d brace for impact.

She wanted to share everything with me. Snack time? She tore up her potato wedge and offered me half. Tea time? She took a few bites of her slice of bread, then held out the rest to me. ”Shika shika shika,” she insisted over and over again. Take it. Take it. Take it. When I ignored her, she made a frustrated little squeal and hurled it at the side of my face. It hit me in the eye.

I laughed.

In the above picture, she has given up trying to feed me her bread, and is instead settling for an osmosis approach by crumbling bits of it up and dropping it on top of my head while I try to carry on a semi-serious conversation with our lab technician. Forgive the terrible lighting. I was using Mac Photobooth.

Pre-Peace Corps Megan would have lost her will to live rather quickly, but the constant presence of small screamy children has done a lot towards desensitizing me. Her squeaky shoes crack me up. Each time she’d show up at my desk, I’d ask her for her foot, squeak the shoe a couple of times, and we’d both dissolve into maniacal giggling. Of course … it helps that I was only there for the morning that day. 8 hours of that and I might have reverted back to Please Get It Away From Me Before I Drop It Out a Window mode.

This is bougainvillea. It blooms in a variety of shades – deep red and bright fuschia to pale pink and, occasionally, a sherbet-like orange. It’s gorgeous and it’s everywhere.

I’m not sure what kind of flower this is, exactly. The area along the Kenyan coast is SUPER-rocky, with ancient coral protruding from the ground everywhere (and giving spazzes like yours truly ample opportunity to trip over stuff every time they leave the house.) This flower almost gives the illusion of growing out of the rock itself; you find it everywhere you find old coral. It’s a pale pinkish-purple with a deep purple center and it’s just lovely.

The water is actually turned on (for once.) I’m getting ready to leave on vacation. Sounds like a perfect storm … for LAUNDRY DAY.

DUNDUNDUNNNNNN

I used to hate laundry day because I hated folding. Now I hate laundry day because it entails spending all morning bent over a bucket scrubbing dirt out of your clothes by hand until your knuckles bleed, then continuing the getting-yourself-soaking-wet process by carrying them out to and hanging them on a line while they’re still dripping so that they dry without wrinkles. And THEN the folding. Although I really have no right to complain – at least I don’t have to haul my own water, and at the end of it all I smell slightly less than usual.


My three-bucket system: one for soaping, one for rinsing, one for rinsing better.


Everyone in my apartment place has to share limited line space, so some of this is my neighbor’s. Her items include loose-fitting trousers and a tasteful African dress in a traditional print. Mine include pajama pants that say “I [Heart] NY” all over them and a hot pink bra. Oops. Also: that red leso is my “door” when I’m at home because it allows a little more airflow and takes the internal temperature of my house from eleven million degrees to a much more pleasant eight million degrees. One of the best parts about laundry day is how any breeze coming through the front of the house smells like clean, wet clothing. It really is the little things that make a difference.

EGADS! It’s been a month since I updated, and for this I apologize. Pole sana y’all. Computer troubles, you understand. But I’m back, and I have all sorts of goodies for you rattling around in my head. I can’t promise I’ll update terribly regularly (the next few weeks are going to be complicated) but I’ll start you off with a Friday Featured Foto to dull the anticipation. Enjoy.

View of my town. Or, at least, the pleasantly shady part, which is maybe 2% of it. Much of the rest of it lacks these lovely canopy trees and is instead covered by scrubby tropical brush. It’s *hot* when you don’t have shade. Flippin equatorial sun …

Below is the road to my house, right around dusk.

My collection, courtesy of the US Government.

“To possess another language is to possess a second soul.”
— John le Carré

I’ve been slacking on the friday foto. I’m sorry. Last week I was in transit for medical and this week … well, I’ve been busy with secondary projects so I haven’t had a chance to go out and take a new batch of photos. Maybe I’ll do that this weekend.

In the meantime, you’ll have to make due with more idyllic scenes of the beach near where I live. Traditionally, fishing is one of the main forms of employment/food production in my region. Even today, it’s the number two economic activity, behind working in tourism or tourist-related industries. This is a local fisherman preparing to take his boat out.

Kenyan Flag

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The opinions expressed on this blog do not represent those of the Peace Corps, the United States government, or any other organization. The author is solely responsible for all content on this blog.
Yours truly