During our pre-service training we were told that we’d know we were really getting Kiswahili (the Swahili language—the official language of Kenya) when we started dreaming in it. Well it didn’t happen for me during training, but after three intensive days of studying with three other volunteers and a tutor, I had so much Kiswahili running through my head that I couldn’t sleep. And when I did manage to, I woke up with new sentences running through my head. The good news is that as of now, I am at the required level of language to get the PC off my back about it and will be able to start learning Kikuyu, the language spoken predominantly in my town. I just have to take the test one more time at training in April. Another result is that I’m having a more difficult time communicating in English, as may be evident in this post! Here are Daniel and Gavin studying hard.
And here I am, pretending I know what's going on.
I wasn’t sure what to expect for this language weekend, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well it went. Three other volunteers stayed in my house with me. They helped cook and washed dishes and gave me someone to talk to, so it was a welcome change from my usual solitary routine. I loved having someone else to wash dishes. And someone to make chai (tea) because for some reason I just can’t get the hang of making it; it never tastes as good as when someone else does it, so I gave up making it for myself. We had class as a group each morning with a language tutor (the same one I had for most of training, which was nice because he has a great style of teaching), then went to town for lunch, then we split into two groups (by level of language proficiency) and worked with our tutor separately. We went for walks in the evening which my town loved—instead of a one-mzungu parade they had a whole group! Most importantly, we made some pretty tasty food. Here is Pat cooking up some French toast.
As far as work goes, I’ve got some small projects lined up at the co-op that will help me see how I can be useful to the organization. I also have several books piling up to read and a house to clean (four people in a small space make it dirty a lot faster than one person!), so it looks like my schedule is pretty well filled for the next few weeks. I’m very happy to not be working two jobs and running around all the time, but I get antsy when there’s as little to do as there has been the past few weeks. I think one of the challenges of being a PC volunteer is finding a workable balance of too much and not enough activity. I guess that’s the trick any time, anywhere, and if I can learn it here, I’ll be doing well.
In other news, there’s a new kitten in the compound (well, she’s not exactly new, but she’s new to me). She strolls into the house occasionally looking for food and she’ll let me pet her, so I named her: chui. Ok, technically Jonathan named her, but either way, she has a name. Chui means leopard in Kiswahili.
Miss you all! Love me.