What am I worried about these days? Well, let’s see:
- Language: I am likely to test as "Intermediate" in KSL on the 31st. I am regularly dreaming in sign language, but because training is in Loitokitok, where there is one deaf man in the whole town, our entire group is lagging compared to previous years. I hope that when I go to my final site sometime around Jan 6, there will be a supportive deaf community to help me out. I also know zero Swahili… basically only what’s on the inside cover of the Lonely Planet quick reference book.
- Secondary project: The Peace Corps recommends that in my down time, rather than sitting around doing nothing, I should pursue a "Secondary Project." Before coming here I anticipated that this might involve further development of the Adobe Flash sign language tutorials that I saw online, but…
I do not yet have access to original source files.
I am not sure what else might have been done already on this front.
…so when I go to Nairobi for the swearing-in, I am going to scour the Peace Corps office to see what I can find. There is an overall sense here that things got lost when everything shut down during the election violence, but there is another, most systemic, problem with "memory loss," that is, the lack of a structured year-by-year progress tracking for the overall deaf education project. I worry that any progress I make might be forgotten in a few years— how can I help this organization to make sure my own work builds effectively on progress already made? "Sustainability" is a key part of the Peace Corps’ mission! Ken, the Country Director, seems keenly aware of the problem and has already taken some steps in organizing some of what’s out there, and he also mentioned some initiatives that I hope I can be a part of.
- Connectivity: I’m getting pretty good at surfing the Internet on my phone, but I’m still seeking a better solution. The fact that I got Skype Video to work with ErinRose makes me want a better laptop solution, because the pay-by-the-megabyte model would be painful for video chatting (and it’s also the reason you never see high-res photos on my blog). There are now four mobile operators in Kenya and their data plans are shrouded in mystery and hearsay. Ultimately I will wait until I move to my site to determine which carrier(s) are even viable, but it’s nonetheless frustrating to try to do research in advance.
Here is your reward for reading this post, a picture I took when walking home today from town, thinking about all this stuff. You can see it raining on my home in the distance.
And here is a picture I took in Ohio not long before I left for Kenya, at the 102nd Annual Circleville Pumpkin Show. The goal is to grow the biggest pumpkin, but clearly this farmer had a secondary project of his own. Perhaps there is a lesson for me here somewhere?