Today was the first day of the third and final term of the school year. Out of 160 students, not many were here yet. To be precise, I think 5 kids showed up. This is relatively normal, as first week is really the “ramp up” week. We had a teachers’ meeting (which I rustily interpreted for the two deaf teachers) and then I ran some errands around town.
As I walked around I reflected on what I want to do differently this term. Most significantly, I want to make a real effort to de-prioritize my own projects in favor of putting my weight behind other people’s ideas. I’ve been here long enough to get a sense of which people I respect, so instead of working in my cave (AKA my house) on projects that I’ve concocted in isolation, I want to be an enabler for other people’s projects: people who have been here much longer than me, and whose ideas I trust. The person I want to help the most is my counterpart. He’s the youngest teacher on staff, and he’s Deaf—a product of the school he’s now teaching at. He’s also a volunteer’s success story—a previous volunteer tutored him heavily here when he was a child. He’s proven himself to be smart and reliable, and he has ideas for the community here. We’re going to start small, and I’m going to help with the filming of the school’s video/print yearbook once more kids return from break, maybe next week.
I also want to put as much time as possible into the Nairobi project. I’m in research mode right now, trying to get my hands on all previous similar efforts. Anyone know where I can get a copy of this?
Anyhow, by changing my approach I think I can not only do some good for others, but I can help myself out a bit, too. Developing workbooks for the class and picking software for after school computer time is fun, but because my peers (the other teachers, etc.) aren’t a part of that process, I think it makes them wonder what I do all day. Working on more visible projects would improve my standing and, as a result, probably my own morale.
On an unrelated note, last weekend I got together with some other volunteers in Malindi and Watamu, which is an area about two hours up the coast. Here we are bickering over the bill at the fancy Italian restaurant, where I has prosciutto and melon and olives as an appetizer!
And here’s the Malindi airport.
And, in no particular order, here are some random pictures that you may enjoy. I figured you should catch up before classes start again.
Busted socket in my house (second one I’ve had to replace— why does this happen?!?!)
Another Nairobi slum view from the train:
Mombasa views from the bus:
I know monkey pictures are always a hit, so I’ll finish this post with one. I took this picture from my front door. There were four of these in my tree the other morning!