First off, you can all rest assured that I have not died of an eye infection, nor have I been held for ransom in any of the countries I listed in my vacation plans. Rather, my infection went away with some eye drops, and my vacation plans have changed so as to disclude DRC, so the latter is less likely to happen.
Last week was the annual Deaf Games competition. You may remember my frustrations with this event last year. This year was better, though. It was held at a different school where we never ran out of water, and I didn’t need to pack a big group of volunteers into my tiny house. Also, I’m more confident in my sign language, so I was able to roam around more and interact with students without embarrassment.
The games were held in Mtwapa, which is a seedy roadside town of clubs and prostitutes about a half hour north from Mombasa. The school is about a half hour walk from the road, though, so it’s in a more comfortable village setting, closer to the ocean.
So, without further ado, a photo tour of the games:
Here’s one of my vocational students chasing after the ball. My vocational boys played against the nearby secondary school boys.
Here’s a girl mimicking my camera use:
A boy enjoying the free water:
The scoreboard: Mombasa didn’t do so well at Track and Field. I used to run track, and I can relate to the feeling.
A thumbs-up from one of my class 3 art students:
One of the runners who fainted mid-race. It’s a painful thing to see a person faint while running. When it happened to one of my students, I ran and bought a bottled water, since they’re not normally given water in the first aid tent.
The “obstacle course” (three-legged race, water-pouring competition, and potato sack race):
This girl is one of the regulars who uses the computers in the evenings:
An ostrich. It’s a long story:
Here are students dipping their hands right into the water source. Many teachers and students got upset stomachs (AKA Crippling diarrhea) in the last few days of the competitions, no doubt due to poopy hands in the drinking water:
Here are the “micros:” students with Microcephaly. I think there were five at the host school who would hang out during the games. It’s a fascinating condition: all of their heads are small, but only some of the boys were verbal and had other bodies that were proportionate to their heads. Other boys could not communicate at all and would mostly just drool and get angry and scream at people who were not nice to them. They seem to be generally mistreated (I looked on as a headmaster from a visiting school shove one onto the ground hard) so the Micros seemed to latch on to me and the other volunteers, since we were nice to them. They would often sit alongside us, drool and smile.
Some of my school’s all-stars and my counterpart:
Pilau (rice and potato) dinner, a real treat! This boy is one of the adamant ones who normally comes to my house to insist I open the library at night:
My counterpart in the truly beautiful dorms where the male teachers slept:
Unloading the mattresses from the school bus in the background:
The ride to the games. Were the school that brought Pink Eye with us, which spread like a wildfire once we arrived. Notice the teacher in the foreground with the sunglasses, trying to keep the infection from spreading:
And on the of cute little students we left behind, who stayed and waited for her parents:
It was a good time in general, but mostly for the kids. I had good company with the other volunteers, but mostly the whole multi-day event consists of sitting around, which can be a bit boring. Imagine a four-day track meet as an observer and you might get the idea.
I was a little affected by seeing one of the Micros pushed over by one of the headmasters, and I must admit it did put my into a sour mood. It’s a different world here in so many ways, and that was a striking example of it.
I’ll probably be leaving home on Wednesday for my vacation. I’ll try to update a bit on the road, but stay tuned to see if that really happens. I also won’t put these photos or the others onto the Pics page until I get back. Happy Easter!