Friday morning Alison and I spent a lot of time tutoring, but afternoon classes were canceled to allow preparation time for Saturday’s big event—TALENT SHOW!!!! Ta Dum!!!! (drum roll, please). We emerged from our little cocoon in the library, where we’ve been holed up these past weeks, to find students huddled in groups, in the labs, in classrooms, out on the green in front, all rehearsing their “items” (acts). Some of the female staff were sunning themselves outside the staff room, chatting and just relaxing. It was wonderful to see them let down their reserves and just be themselves.
This is Loise (librarian), Susan (matron), Belgon (lab tech) and Martha (math teacher)
Zita was here earlier, doing something to Belgon’s hair, which includes long extensions, but Zita was called away to help students do a computer search for something involved in TS.
Zita teaches English and taken on the project of teasing Margo, a vacant position since Janet left to have a child. If Janet is reading this, I wish to report that Zita is doing an excellent job!
Here is Zita with students in the library, second from left in back row.
Alison and I left school early, having a number of errands, including a Naivas run, which we do every 2-3 days. Everyone who walks in is subject to a search with hand-held metal detectors. Women are scanned by a woman and men by a man. But the “soldiers” know us by now and at best give us a cursory search and often waving us through. If a person is carrying a bag or package, it must be left with a package checker before the person is allowed to enter. We always bring our beautiful African fabric bags, which are empty, of course, so again, we are given a bye. But because I don’t want the privileged mzungu role, I always walk up to the lady, hold out my arms, we both grin at each other and she sort of scans me.
From time to time, we have been hearing a “funny noise” from the right front wheel area of the car. I took it to Mwangi, the mechanic, but of course it didn’t make the noise—it’s like going to the Dr for an earache, but it stops hurting about the time he (or she) is ready to see you. But by Friday, it was getting to be pretty noticeable so we set out again. Mwangi’s shop is somewhere on the backroads of NVA and I wasn’t at all sure how to get there. I thought I could figure it out, and ended up going over the WORST roads, worse than the Road From Hell (old road to Nakuru before it was fixed). Not only that, the road I thought was lead to his shop was actually being redone, so it was blocked off and I had to search on more pot-holey roads. ACH! When I finally found the place, it was full of cars and mechanics, none of whom was Mwangi and none of whom spoke much English. A very nice gentleman sitting in his car, waiting for new tires, interpreted for me and assured me “he is coming.” That can mean anything from 5 minutes to 2 hours. I was tired and really wanted to be home taking a nap and evidently my impatience showed, b/c he very kindly advise me to be patient. “He will come.” And he did, after about 10 minutes. He English isn’t any too hot either, but eventually we agreed that Friday afternoon at 5 pm was not an ideal time for him, particularly with about 6 cars around the front of his tiny shop, all in various stages of (dis)repair. He will come at 7:30 Monday morning and Alison will get her wish to ride in a matatu—to get to school that day. I had hoped I’d taken my last matatu ride. Long time readers will remember some of my adventures (as well as misadventures) such that several years ago I announced I’d “been there, done that” and was ready to drive to SFG. Haven’t been in a matatu since and happy about it. Will write in next post how it went.
We finally got back to the church gate and were just driving in when we saw Mr. Karanja ( the goat man) driving out. “Yay” I thought, “The goats have arrived.” We parked the car and opened the gate to Mji Wa Neema very carefully, so the goats wouldn’t escape, only to find, NO GOATS! RATS!
I find Julia. “Didn’t Mr Karanja bring the goats? They were supposed to be delivered today.” “No.” (I wish I could reproduce the way she says it—very characteristic). Call Karanja, “Hi Karanja, where are my goats?” “This evening. We’ll deliver them this evening.” (By then it’s at least 5:30). Hmmm, how late do goat deliveries occur here? But I’m too tired to pursue it any farther. We fix tuna sandwiches and I repair to my bed to rest and read emails.
About 8:30 I’m nodding over the computer when my phone rings. “Hi Margo, we’re here with the goats, but the gate to the home is closed.” “OK, I’ll be right out.” Grab my shoes, my “torch” and run out to open the gate. I see Karanja and his helper by an old matatu with the back end open, revealing 2 large bags that could have held 100 lbs of onions or potatoes each but actually held one terrified goat.. After dragging them over the rocks and the grate, the helper removed one bag, revealing a trussed-up wild-eyed goat with BIG HORNS. Soon the other one was also writhing on the ground, complaining (and rightfully so!) I ran to the house for scissors to cut the rope tying the feet together and finally the poor things could stand upright.
Fortunately Simon (remember him? Takes Tai Quan Doh) was home, having been sent here for school fees in a big mixup (the fees had been paid), as well as David Mungai, so they could help with putting the poor goats in very small pens for the night. One is very docile and went right in, but the other one (with the big horns) was having none of it. They tried head first. No Way!!! Then the tried lifting his back side and putting it in the pen—ooh watch those horns. But the boys are used to such things and finally the goats were in for the night.
Here are the boys struggling with Billy Goat Gruff (remember that fairy tale?) The docile one is on the right, just relieved to be out of the sack and legs free. Alison, Julia, Joseph, Lucas and I were all cheering them on and trying to shine the torches on the pieces of rope they were using to tie the pen doors shut. At last the goats were secured, the doors tied shut and we all went back to bed.
Next morning they were still penned, as Julia had to send the boys to the market for rope to tie them up. Alison and I had errands again, then headed for SFG for Talent Show.
TS is always fun, but it goes on and on—and on, on, on and more. The music is blaring in my ears (which contain my new hearing aids). I need the aids to hear the dialog for the skits and choral recitations, but OUCH!!! my ears hurt from about 500 decibels (well, maybe only 450!)
I’ll need more time and space than I have tonight, so will write about TS next time, but for now I’ll end with this. Lunch included watermelon for everyone. “Oh, boy! I’ll take all those rinds to the goats.”
In 2015 Fr. Mwangi’s goat that lived all summer at Mji Wa Neema loved anything I managed to scrounge for him, especially watermelon rinds. So I get a bag and pick them from everyone’s empty plates. Someone points out the girls have had watermelon too, so I get another sack and trot down to the dining hall, where I am quite the curiosity as I pick through the garbage, rescuing many rinds. Later as we drive in the church compound, we see the goats happily grazing just outside the MWN gate. All excited I toss a pile of rinds for each goat, not getting too close. Those horns are to be respected! Guess what?? Yep, the goat took one sniff and turned up their little noses. No watermelon rinds for them! Alas! I suspect they’ve never had anything but grass. So much for the “goats will eat anything” theory!