#10-2013 A Day of Talent,
I’m sitting in the SFG dining hall waiting for the annual talent show to reconvene after tea break. I’m always amazed at the abilities the students display, clever skits, songs, rap, dance recitations. How they memorize such long presentations in between taking 10 classes every day is a mystery to me. Maya has trained some girls in American style cheering. I’m eager to see how that goes.
At that point I stopped typing. It is now after 9 pm and as usual, I’ve had a full day. It began when I met Jane Doe in the “big market”, very much like a flea market. Here she is choosing a blanket. The market is like a maze of tiny stalls with a very narrow passageway, rocky and uneven. Women carry heavy bags filled with their goods on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I have a cute picture of a mom arranging her goods while baby is sitting in the middle of all of it, but I have to limit my pix or the document becomes too large to send.
Jane and I shopped a bit, but in the end I had to give her the money for what she needed and leave b/c the sellers take one look at my mzungu face and double the price. Also I had to get back home to shower and get up to SFG for Talent Day. The skits had everyone, including staff, rolling in the aisles, but Maya and I were clueless – it was almost all in Kiswahili. However, we could understand the singing and dancing. It seems that everyone sings beautifully and they learn to do traditional dances as small children. Everyone here dances at every opportunity. I’m told that people regularly dance in the 2nd mass, which I never attend b/c it’s in Kiswahili and is 2 hours long, vs. a bit more of an hour for 1st mass.
Maya’s cheer group was really good, but I am such a bozo with the camera, I couldn’t figure out the video until later. The camera was in video mode but didn’t really take movies nor stills. But later when she did her acrobatic routine I had figured it out. She was terrific, almost turning herself into a pretzel and brought down the house! I did get a video and I wish I knew how to post it. I’ll try to send it to Craig who is the KH techie. At the end of the event it was announced that Maya’s group (1 of 3) had won the event.
In the middle of things I was visited by Paul Nguluma, a 2009 graduate of Ndingi. When I first came in 2005 he had been sent home for non-payment of fees, but the math teacher told me about this very bright form 1 student. I didn’t meet him until the next year, after I’d found some sponsors and he had come back. For 2 summers he attended the tutoring sessions I used to offer, just like Kennedy had. He’s an orphan, last of 3 children, but is doing very well. He hopes to go to university eventually, but must wait until he can afford it.
I had been invited to attend a thanksgiving mass at the home of Joyce and Charles Muturia, celebrating the return of Charles from Iceland where he has studied for 2 years. I believe he works in the geothermal industry and was studying that process in Iceland, but not positive of it. In any event, both he and Joyce were so happy to have him back in Kenya that they wanted to mark the occasion. Fr. Kiriti had come from Kositei to lead the mass.
Joyce and Charles have a lovely home in the highlands above the road leading to Nairobi and not far from SFG. I wasn’t sure exactly how to get there, so he had to meet me on the road and drive in a circuitous route replete with the ever-present potholes and covered with dust. The mass was held in a large tent set up in an open area within their compound. It began late and in the beginning the tent was not full, but people continued to arrive as soon as they could after completing whatever it was they had to complete at the end of their day. I used to wonder why people were late all the time until I experienced for myself how hard it is to get someplace using matatus. Now I am impressed that anyone gets anyplace at all. We take our cars and transportation so for granted, but most people here don’t have them yet.
In time the tent was full, the mass over and some speeches given, extolling Joyce and Charles who are indeed a lovely and devoted couple. Joyce is a pharmacist and has just completed her masters degree as well. In Kenya, pharmacy is an undergraduate major, not a graduate school course.
As is almost always the case, a large and generous meal was provided. Many women had worked throughout the day to peal potatoes, prepare stew, chicken, salad, vegetables, chapattis and of course ugali without which no Kenyan meal was complete. The feast was topped by a beautiful and tasty cake decorated with Charles’ picture.
Not wanting to drive to his home in Mai Mahu in the late evening, Fr. Kiriti left as soon as the meal was over. He kindly went back to SFG to collect Maya who was coming home for the weekend. It was a very full day.