Wednesday, June 15
After collecting Magdalene’s sisters from school and taking them to Mji Wa Neema, I knew I had to move back here. Most of the kids will be coming home, either this weekend or before the funeral and I want to be here with them. At first I thought it would be here for a week, so I packed up what I thought I might need and headed off. Just as I left the house, it began to rain, lightly at first, then steadily—not the giraffe’s and elephants of a real African rain, just cats and dogs. Since there was nothing to eat in my little house, I had to stop at the Naivas, the wonderful supermarket here. It’s like the old Target or Brentwood, where you could buy anything and everything, food, of course, cookware, school supplies, and upstairs, clothing (including shoes), appliances—-stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, microwaves ( you name it) toys, linen. It’s truly one-stop-shopping and it does a land office business all day, every day.
In addition to all that, I had to get a new gas canister for cooking, but—OH NO!—they don’t take the particular gas canister I brought back (although I could swear it’s the same one I bought at the Naivas last summer). The staff were so kind and helpful. They pointed me across the road to the shop I’d never known, that sells propane gas. The canister is really heavy (even empty) and a very nice man carried it across for me. By that time the elephants and giraffes were falling thick and fast. Wow! What a rain. I made it just in time. The shop lady was just leaving, in fact a very helpful young man called her from her car. Transaction accomplished and the young man carried the full canister back to my car. ARGH! What a night!
By then it was dark and I missed the turn into the church. The electricity had gone out, so there were no street lights, only the glare of the headlights, most of which were blinding me with their high beams. Not sure why they do that. Maybe they’re just not aware. But finally I pulled up to the gate of the children’s home, got my suitcase and groceries out, stumbling through the gate and the mud to my little house. I was soaking wet and very tired.
Unpacking what I needed and finding Julia to help me put my bed together took over an hour. My mattresses (yes I have 2) were on end to keep off the dust. It took some doing to right them and the installation of the bed net was another ordeal. My bed has a frame (like a testor bed), but the wood used was not smoothed, so trying to slide a net over it is like trying to put a nylon stocking on a log. But at last the bed was together and I fell on it. Didn’t even get inside, just lay on top with my wonderful faux fur coverlet and was asleep before I knew it.
In the morning I felt a calm serenity that told me one thing. Now I was home!
Of course, being home means I have internet connectivity problems, the refrigerator isn’t working (the man was so come at 2, but never showed), there’s no place to put anything and naturally I’d left some necessities at the rental house. Oh well, that’s the proof I’m here.
Monday June 20
I’ve moved back to Mji Wa Neema permanently. Now I’m happy. That other place just wasn’t me.
I have my modem working so internet when I want it, though slow, the refrigerator now works and I have almost everything back here. The repair man came Saturday. He determined the problem was the timer that controls the defrosting mechanism. Consequently the freezer hadn’t defrosted for months! The freezer compartment was totally iced, and the drain lines all clogged. What a mess1 He began putting pots of hot water inside, but that was taking a long time. He mentioned he was supposed to report to Panda Flower Farms, so I sent him on his way, figuring waiting for ice to melt was right up there with watching paint dry. Four or 5 hours later he was back. By that time my kitchen was awash in yucky water. As soon as I swept it out, more had run out of the refer. By about 6 pm he announced that the ice was gone. He expertly removed the offending part, installed the replacement, cleaned up the refer (but not the very muddy floor) and was ready for the next job, which was to repair the shower in the other room (Judy’s) in anticipation of arrival on Friday of Alison Staab—math teacher and member of the Kenya Help board. She will be here for 3 weeks and already I’m figuring out how the 2 of us can support the math teachers. He was able to repair the heating mechanism without having to replace it, saving me many shillings. Fr. K had encouraged me to buy a new refrigerator to the tune of $700 to $1100. The repair was $35. I’m a happy lady and I’m so glad to know Joseph, who made all this happen—a gentle young man, very willing, who stayed until 8 pm to get things fixed. And he fixed the outside light by my door, making navigating a very narrow sidewalk a bit less hazardous.
On Sunday afternoon, I just couldn’t stand having no emails arriving nor going out. I knew there was wifi in the rectory, so headed down that way. The priests were all there relaxing after many masses. They were so nice, welcoming me, giving me a comfortable seat and the wifi password. I had 41 emails on my KH account and 114 in my junk email, ads, political stuff, petitions etc. As you can imagine, it took awhile to work through the 41. The 114 just went off to trash in the flick of a mouse. A number of friends and blog-readers had written, wondering whether I am OK. I am and now even better, with my modem.
Earlier in the day I felt like my house was a 3-ring circus. People just kept coming to see me. I had told many that I wasn’t accepting company until next weekend, after Magdalene is safely put to rest, but still they came. That’s really part of the fun, but…..
Today I was up early to get to school, arriving shortly after 8, only to learn this is the week of mid-term exams and there is no teaching going on!!! ARGH!!!! However, I found my old desk in the staff room and began marking the exams I had been given by Fr. Nguluia. He is the new parish priest and a math teacher, as well as a very nice guy. I hate marking papers, but it was good b/c I could see where the weaknesses are—and there are some glaring ones. I’m still not finished, but I made a big dent in it. Since the girls will finish mid-terms on Thursday and go home for a 4-day break on Friday, there is no big rush. I’ve showed him my graphing calculator and he really drooled over it. So before I left school I grabbed 4 from the stock given to SFG by Texas Instruments some years ago, and took them home to replace the batteries and make sure they were working. He gets one and the others are for new math teachers. Now all I need do is find time for a workshop to show them some of the incredibly clever features.
Later this afternoon Julia came in, asking for pictures of Magdalene for the burial program. Since I have some 10,000 pix on the computer, you can see that it’s a very long job to scroll through them. However we found quite a few, from which she selected 12 to take to the planning committee for their choice. We ran across a video of girls dancing, with Magdalene front and center, really shaking her bootie. She was a great singer, dancer and all round performer. She loved the stage.
Now I am sitting in my bed, ready to sleep. I’m not including pix. Too tired.