Monday, May 23, 2011

East Africa Day 4: Shadowing a Student

I brushed my teeth after writing last night's post. Habits are hard to break – I rinsed my mouth out with water directly from the tap. Fortunately I immediately realized what I'd done so I rinsed my mouth out with purified water and took two Tums for good measure, made and hung up a boldy lettered “do not drink the water” sign for my bathroom mirror, and then went to sleep to “see what happened.” Fortunately absolutely nothing! :)

Since I was shadowing Leila today and her day starts before sunrise, I was up in the dark getting ready for the students' morning workout on the football field. I pulled on some socks and tried to stick my left foot into a trail runner … but there was something squishy in the toe. I didn't take the time to look, but I had no doubt it was one of the frogs that likes to share my banda with me at night. (The frogs and I are both lucky that I love frogs.) I checked my road runners before inserting my feet:) After the morning workout I headed back to my banda before breakfast to escort the frog out of my shoe, while Leila prepared for the day.



After breakfast Leila and I attended a very long day of classes with her section (called “Grey”) of Form 3. There are thirteen students in the Grey section, and twenty five students in all of Form 3. We went from Swahili (you can imagine how much I comprehended in that class) to English (literature/language), to a snack/break, then Math, Business Studies, Religious Education (Daraja is non-denominational, but Religion is on the standardized national exam that the students have to take when they graduate from secondary school), and then finally to lunch!


Then it was Chemistry for two periods (each period is 45 minutes long), followed by Geography class. We then had a WISH (Women of Integrity, Strength and Hope) class for Form 3 students, where the students discussed the importance of Taking Care of the Elderly in their communities after they graduate from Daraja.

Just before dinner I joined the Football Team for another practice – this time I helped Wa, Peter, and Andy coach - got to dust off my very rusty soccer skills:) We ended practice with a scrimmage in preparation for an upcoming match with a nearby school. The Daraja students are good!

After dinner I attended Study Hall with Leila for a little bit, before cutting out early to finally take a shower and type up this blog post while listening to some John Mayer:) Regarding the shower situation – each banda has its own solar panel and water tank – the water in my tank is hot by 10am. I start following my own personal schedule that Andy made up for me, starting tomorrow. If you want to know where I am at any given moment of the day, this week …


Also, here are two photos of the “Welcome” card that one of the students handed to me when she first greeted me on the night that I arrived on campus – I only just photographed the card.


If you have any specific questions for me then please leave a comment below and I'll respond in a following post.


  1. know I love you...but were you not paying attention to the Voyage of the Mimi documentaries from elementary school? (I sure hope you watched them)...the # 1 lesson (and probably the ONLY thing I remember) is to bang the heels of your shoes on the ground to get any "unwelcome" critters the documentaries case it was a scorpion. A frog is hopefully much less dangerous! Glad your having a blast!

  2. Irene, you are too cute. I do not remember that tip, though I do remember watching the videos - in 6th grade, with Mr. Downton, I think:) Thanks so much for following the blog! Please tell PJ, Lili and your mom that I said hi! :)


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