Monday, May 23, 2011

East Africa Day 7: Volleyball

photo: Daraja campus from the end of the driveway.

Today turned out to be a Day of Pumzeika (rest). I heard that Alice, the Gardener, might not be on campus today, so I stopped back at my banta after breakfast to pick up my Rough Guide to Kenya, which I am in the process of reading cover to cover. One of the cats followed me from my banda to the field behind the garden, where we sat with the cows for a while, until the sun became too strong.


Then the cat and I wandered over to the garden, where we happened upon a lot of birds in the compost bin.


We sat in the shade for a while, listening to the birds while I read my book.


Then I decided to do some photo journalism and snapped some photos of the birds in a tree above my head, and a nearby flowering tree with a beautiful trunk.


The cat and I parted ways when I went to help the kitchen serve the students their morning snack of cookies and hot chocolate. I then sat on the office porch steps in semi-sun to read, until lunch.

After lunch I changed into running shorts - the first time my knees have seen the African sun:) Went for a run down the Daraja driveway to where the driveway meets the main road that leads into Nanyuki. I believe it might be called the Doldol road? It was beautiful, and was nice to be off campus by foot. I then ran the perimeter of the Daraja campus fence, where I met some neighboring children and got to use my limited Swahili vocabulary:) It was absolutely beautiful - it will become my regular run.

After I re-entered the campus gates I ran back to my banda to grab my camera, and then walked down the driveway to snap some photos so that ya'll could see part of my running route.


After snapping the photos I watched from the sidelines as the Form 3 girls played a game of football, which was their gym class. The entire campus then had "sports" until dinner time. Half of the students played football and the other half played volleyball. I decided to "change things up" and went down to the volleyball court. When the students started doing drills I left the sidelines to help out, but wound up participating instead:) I didn't realize how much I missed volleyball. Funny how my head remembers all of the rules and how to play, but I can't say quite the same for my serve ... :) After drills the students scrimmaged again. I sat with some of the students on the sidelines and learned a little more Swahili. Leila was there, and she told me all about her primary schooling. She is Muslim. In her community only boys play sports - the girls stay at home. Beginning in kindergarten the students in her primary school began learning Swahili and English, in addition to their native tongues. (Since her mom is a member of one tribe - I forget which one - she spoke her mom's tounge. Since her dad is Somalian, she also speaks a little Somalian.) Then, since she is Muslim, she spent her weekends and Monday through Wednesday evenings at another school where she learned Arabic. She asked me which languages I speak ... ummmm ... :)

This morning I also had an interesting conversation with the Danish staff who run a program on campus for Danish students. They sublet their two buildings from Daraja, who leases from the Baraka School. Approximately twenty five Danish students come to campus (for not sure how long). The Danish staff started a Youth Forum where youth from Nanyuki take matatus (minivan/buses) from town to campus each Saturday for a month. The Danish students and the Nanyuki youth take classes together on how to start a business. It was also just fun to hear about their personal travel plans:)

I am LOVING Chapter Four: Western Kenya in my Rough Guide to Kenya book. Can't wait to get to the region, and in the meantime can't put the book down! Now I completely understand why Lehigh Professor Todd Watkins brought six Lehigh students to Kisumu in Western Kenya, near Lake Victoria, this week. Bummer that I could not meet up with them and see the microfinance project that the students were working on in the region.

So ... let the running schedule and the informal Swahili lessons begin! Here's your starter course:

Jambo = hello

Shaere = poem

Ushaere = poetry

Pumzeika = resting

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