#3-2013 The New Priest, The Soccer Game and Saturday with Maya June 15
Friday morning I had an appointment with Fr. Peter Mwangi to discuss connecting him with Fr. Jose Shaji of St. Denis Parish in Menlo Park. There had been much discussion of establishing “twinning” relationship between St. Denis and St Francis Xavier in the past, but nothing had been settled. Yet St. Denis has been a generous supporter of the renovation project for Archbishop Ndingi Secondary School for Boys, male counterpart to SFG. They have also supported 2 boys from Sudan at Ndingi and have contributed to SFG. They have been most generous.
I had met Fr. Peter only briefly last summer, so I wanted to connect with him anyway. This seemed a good opportunity. We talked a length about St. Denis and other matters. He had no idea about all the St. Denis has done, but now that he knows, he’s hoping to establish that relationship. Ndingi is so needful and the renovation will be wonderful when complete, but this isn’t even a remodel, in time it will be a scrape. Most of the buildings can’t be rehabbed. Fr. Peter is very unlike Fr. Kiriti. He seems to be a quiet, more contemplative person, kind but one who moves cautiously. I suspect that the Naivasha community has had some adjustment, but I think they are getting used to his ways.
SFG and the Form 4A’s were next on my agenda. As it turned out, Christopher Murimi, the class teacher had them all set up to present solutions to questions from a recent exam. I was really impressed with their solutions and presentations. The girls were capable and confident, but that didn’t prevent my adding a word or 2 of my own. I have high hopes for the national exams next November, with math teachers Christopher and Pauline (Form 4B), both of whom are dedicated and hardworking.
I’ve also taught the form 3A’s and it looks to me like they need all the help they can get. It’s going to take a major infusion of energy to get them revved up. Pauline teaches one of those sections too—not sure yet who the other teacher is, but the 3 of us will need to pow-wow majorly to come up with a plan for them. Yet if there are no challenges, this whole business can be kind of boring!
Maya is currently in form 3A. I could see she was as amazed as I regarding what they didn’t know. I am enlisting her help too, not only to tutor them, but also to encourage them. She has been in that place of not liking math and has overcome much to be #1 in her math class this last semester. Am I proud of her for that? You can bet your boots I am! And so is she. (later update—she taught several problems during study time, so she is already at it.)
That morning when I arrived William, my next door desk neighbor invited me to accompany our soccer team to a game at Naivasha Girls (NG), a very prestigious government high school, with many times more students than we have. He said Maya wanted to go and b/c they were limited in transport space that was a problem. “OK, I’m happy to drive and can take 4 people.” Our girls have no cleats, just “rubber shoes”, while the NG team had very nice ones. I guess I’ll have to address that issue in time.
It had begun as a beautiful day, but clouded over in the afternoon. While we waited for the matatu, which was operating on African time, it began to rain. Because the road from the highway to SFG is dirt, rutted and narrow, the matatu couldn’t (wouldn’t?) come down, so the girls had to tromp through the mud and rain up to the highway. The rain had abated by the time we arrived at NG’s beautiful, large campus but as the game got underway it began in earnest. Our girls got a drubbing (5-0) and a drenching. By the time the game was over they were muddy, wet, discouraged, tired and hungry. Again the matatus were late and we were a sad lot indeed.
The 2 teachers, William and Josephat, had sort of promised a stop for food on the way home, but as they thronged to a sausage stand, I learned that some had no money. I can’t think of a better way to spend a bit. They were mightily bucked up by that small treat. Nonetheless they were pretty bedraggled when they arrived back at SFG. Because it was late and getting dark, I scooted out of there right away. Josephat lives near the church where I stay, so at least I didn’t have to drive alone in the dark. It was fine, but even Fr. Kiriti likes to be home, behind the locked gate before dark.
As I’ve said, Maya is managing well, but she is longing for American food. Parents are not allowed to bring food to their children nor take them out of the compound, except for illness for family crisis. Only the principal has the authority for those exceptions. So I pleaded my case and Ruth agreed. Back at Margo’s house (MH) she showered, put on her “other” clothes and make-up (she looks cuter without it) and we sat down to her favorite lunch, Granny style grilled cheese sandwich. Cheese is a bit pricey here, but the cheddar I bought we nice and sharp. We both enjoyed our little treat.
After a slow start, we went to some shoe shops to find something to replace the flip flops the gremlins have stolen. The slow start was occasioned by a thorough search of MH. ACH! Where could I have put them when I brought them back down from school!!!! She found a pair she liked in the 3rd shop, possibly her record for efficiency, and then we headed for the supermarket, where Maya got stuck at the earring stand, run by a cute young girl, who evidently rents the space. She makes many of the earrings she sells and Maya was in her glory. She found a number of earrings she liked and a gift or 2 for home. Back up the hill to home, we walked across the road to the outdoor street market where she spent her time taking pix of cute little kids, most of whom stare at us with solemn faces. Some smile shyly and want to shake hands.
We bought tomatoes, onions, garlic, greens and a slice of watermelon all except for the last to be turned into pasta sauce. Too late I realized I’d failed to buy tomato paste at the market, so it was a bit odd, but she loved the pasta. We idled over dinner, chatting, when I suddenly realized it was 7:30 and already dark. ARGH! Tried to call Esther or Peter at SFG for permission to keep her overnight, but couldn’t raise either, so had to take her back. I found Julia in the kitchen and asked permission to take some of the boys along so we wouldn’t be alone. “I want 3 of the biggest, strongest, meanest, toughest kids. Who wants to go?” Four very sweet boys immediately volunteered for body guard duty and off we went. By then it was raining and the oncoming lights reflected on the windshield. It was an “adventurous” ride, but I got her there, turned around and got home safely. I was glad to have the boys for company. For them it was a treat to get to ride in a car.
I fell into bed and was happily moving toward dreamland when that nagging noise of a mosquito began. ARGH! It was inside the net. RATS!!! I turned on the light and batted at him, finally succeeding, but by then thoroughly awake. I do love it here!!!