The Keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.” – Ralph Marston
13.07.2010 - 13.07.2010 75 °F
As many of you may know, I’m not an idle person. I can never sit still, I don’t mind napping but I don’t like it to turn into my routine and I like productivity – especially if I’m on a mission. I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to settle into my place here at Moi University and explore a bit, but as one week in Kenya began to turn into two weeks, I began getting antsy. Days spent reading at the library began to grow tiresome and meals were my main plans for the day but I didn’t want to express my restlessness 1.) because it wasn’t too bad yet and I didn’t want to make anyone worried and 2.) Because putting my impatience in writing formalized my disappointment. And I wasn’t necessarily disappointed – mostly anxious and impatient. But then I realized where I was – Kenya – and I began to realize that one of the main “cultural” characteristics in Kenya is to take things slow and become accustomed to people, places and things. I needed some inspiration so I opened up my travel journal from Karina and found this great quote I used about from Ralph Marston. And I realized that I already had faith in myself and “the direction I had chosen.” I’ve been planning this trip for a few years now and anticipated its arrival. Additionally, I realized that staying with Dr. Wanjiku over the weekend gave me the opportunity to experience a real Kenyan family and the schooling of their children. (Ill go into detail a little bit further down.) Of course the day I decided to embrace Marston’s philosophy as my own, things began to change.
Today is Tuesday, July 13th and it was ABSOLUTELY freezing when I woke up this morning around 7, bypassing my morning run due to the cold, and went to breakfast to find my lovely Indiana University (IU) friends about to start breakfast. After we ate and discussed our fun game of Telephone Pictionary from the night before, Dr. Wanjiku called saying she had some people she wanted me to meet today if I had my morning free. So I bypassed the library and eagerly went up to the administration office where I met the director for International studies and students (its all one office here ha) and she presented me with my name badge “Miss Wendi Bandi Institute for Gender Equity Research and Development (IGERD) and a Moi University pin and a Moi Univ. handsewn bag. She gave me access to use her facilities and the archives. Then, fifteen minutes later (after some delicious coffee, bananas and mandazi), Felix, a PhD student of IGERD, came in and offered for me to go with him on Thursday about 15 minutes from campus by Matatu to the PeaceLinks SNV Eldoret branch. PeaceLinks SNV is an Netherlands NGO that works in 21 different countries but is right by the campus. I have the contact information for Mary Njugana (South Rift Portfolio Coordinator; BA Social work) who works within my sector of gender equity and socio-economic development. Their team of economic development advisors cover a wide range of development inspiring fields such as tourism, microfinance and savings, resource marketing, agribusiness
Were also meeting with any of the peace organizations we come across on the way down the road as the Uganda Road has most of the NGOs in Eldoret along that drive. (Quick side note about Uganda Road – Its called Uganda Road when you’re traveling west toward Uganda, but if you are going back towards Nairobi (and Eldoret Town from campus) its called Nairobi Road). So this will be my first real scheduled trip outside of Moi University to a NGO facility!
I went to lunch and after went to meet with Mwalimu Leonora’s former professor, inspiration and driving force behind her strength while doing the tedious task of writing her dissertation, Professor Naomi Shitemi. (I’ve come to the conclusion that their relationship is quite similar to mine and Mwalimu’s. One of respect, encouragement, adoration and friendship.)Prof. Shitemi is the head of the Kiswahili department at Moi University and has already had a great impact on my Swahili skills. I met with her today and we spoke in Swahili, and surprisingly I wasn’t nervous speaking in front of her as she coached me through the conversation and explained phrases I was trying to use. After we discussed my research, Mwalimu Leonora’s family and the upcoming conference she is planning, she offered for me to meet her in Eldoret next Tuesday morning and meet her American Swahili tutoree from Bloomington, Indiana. That was exciting enough as Ill be able to sit in her class and participate, but she also offered to take me to SOS Eldoret school and some of the other schools in the area to get a real feel for the school systems, some which are more elite, expensive and efficiently run, while others are destitute and students don’t have access to necessary materials (ie desks, uniforms and writing utensils). I am really excited that I have this opportunity as it will allow me to really have a good insight about the reality of the school systems operating in Kenya.
To top it off, it turned out to be a gorgeous day with lots of sun, about 70 degrees, I found three new books for my research, and I got to go to an outdoor market today and get some vegetables, roasted corn for a snack, fruit and boxed mango and passionfruit juice from the super market . (Yes Mom, I know to wash all the vegetables thoroughly). So my trust in my path and in Mwalimu’s amazing contacts really proved to me today that I am meant to be here and I can’t wait to see what the next few meetings will bring.
Check out the other blog I posted about meeting Dr. Wanjiku’s family!