ARGH!!!! I had a whole page of brilliant writing, which I inadvertently deleted, never to return! It has been a long time since I did such a stunt and now I am reminding myself, save, save, save. RATS!!!
Since the form 3’s and 4’s are in exams, I’ve at last taught some classes, form 1’ and 2’s, something I love and have missed—except I forgot the down-side of standing on concrete for long periods, leaning over desks to give hints or advice, writing on blackboards (and erasing) I noticed my legs ached today as I walked down the road to my favorite newspaper vendor, finding the very last copy of The Daily Nation. I should know better than to wait until 4 pm!! The small shop, run by Buru is about 10 minutes down the road from Mji Wa Neema. Buru always greets his customers with a cheery smile. His shop is the local equivalent of 7-11, except since it’s his shop, he cares about his customers. It’s hard to see that the item sitting on the papers on the counter is a cow’s tail, a very useful tool for sweeping away the ever-present dust.
I had come home at noon, fully intending to do my laundry, shower, shampoo and clean my kitchen. Did I do that? No, I sat on my bed and tried to complete the exam the form 4’s are doing. UGH! Some of the questions are hard. I was about to give up on one, when I realized what I needed to do. Problem came right out. Yes! That’s what I like about math—thinking through a tough one.
On the way back from Buru’s I took my life in my hands to cross the road, where traffic is busier than I can ever remember. Naivasha is a booming town and the trucks, cars, matatus, piki-pikis along with the donkey carts and pedestrians make crossing the road an adventure. But I wanted to shop at the street market across from the church gates, to buy some tomatoes, onions, peppers and carrots for a stew I wanted to make. Then I thought about the wonderful papayas here (known as popo) so went further than I had intended, hoping to find one. None of the small vendors seemed to have any, but I wandered up to a permanent shop I remembered as having fruits not found in the make-shift platforms where the sellers bargain for their goods. Sure enough they had many and I chose a particularly delectable one (as I later discovered). As I was digging out my ksh 50 ($.50) I was aware that someone was standing next to me. It was Miriam, younger sister to Mary Sangok.
Mary and her 2 sisters have essentially raised themselves, as mom was not round. Miriam dropped out of high school (public day school right next to the church compound) but has now decided she would like to return. She’s a bright girl and very street-savvy. I hope she can stay to graduate. By that time Mary and sister Diana may be able to send her on to university.
Yesterday I interviewed 2 girls from East Pokot, bright girls who were brought to SFG by Fr. Kiriti when he was still the parish priest there in the Kositei mission. We will be using their words in a video being done for Kenya Help by Media Center on San Antonio Road in PA. Louise Pencavel, the videographer, also happens to be the mother of Alice, a favorite student of some years ago at Menlo Atherton.
They talked about the impact on their lives, things they now see need to change in their community (marrying off girls at ages 12-15), and the importance of educating girls from those very rural communities. This is Chapusi who wants to change the way women are treated in the Pokot culture. Being at SFG has greatly broadened her perspective and her sense of what is possible for her life. I just hope my camera picked up her voice, which is very quiet. She was wonderfully earnest and open about life for girls in Pokot.
You may recall that while Alison and I were visiting Fr. Kiriti, we went to the small high school in his parish. Education is a big priority for him, possibly because he feels so very fortunate to have had an older brother who paid his school fees to high school. He was 5th in a family of 10, which is not a good birth position for a bright kid. Everywhere he goes he gets to know the students, the teachers, tries to improve the school and asks all his supporters for help. He wants to begin a youth program in the parish to address the growing problem of unemployed young people who turn to drugs and who-knows-what-else out of despair for so few opportunities. He asked me whether I could help out with some textbooks and could I get them from the Catholic bookstore in Naivasha, which he likes to support. The principal had given him a prodigious wish list. No way could I pay for all those books, but I asked the principal to prioritize and off I went yesterday to see how many I could buy with the amount I thought I could afford. Most texts are between $7 and $8 (contrast that to texts over $100 in the US), but she wanted 6 – 12 for each class (forms 1 to 4) and 8 subjects. ARGH!!! But I ordered what I could—naturally getting more math books than any others. Somehow money for the rest will be found. Fr. Kiriti is very persuasive. This is the bookshop, run by James. Standing at the counter is Lucy, accountant for SFG who had been sent with an extensive shopping list of items needed for the science exam practicals.
As I write this, I am happy to report that in fact I finally did shower and shampoo. My laundry is dripping in my broom-closet size bathroom, the kitchen is clean and I made a yummy stew for my dinner. I don’t cook very often, but peanut butter sandwiches have begun to get old. It’s now 10:15 pm and I am nodding over my computer.