Breaking the Routine

1 06 2012

5/31/12

By Kelly Schuering
It’s crazy how settled in we all feel here already! Even though no day is the same, we are still very much in a routine. Breakfast is at 7:30. We typically enter data or prepare what we need for the day after washing the dishes and before starting the day’s main tasks between 9 or 10. Main tasks this week have been collecting heights or weights or doing cognitive testing. Lunch is at 1. This week we have typically done cognitive testing after lunch with the daycare kids. Work officially ends around 4 or so and Sarah and I have been doing the Insanity workout videos from 5-6ish. After getting cleaned up, we have tea and play gin (we’ve started a summer long score book) until dinner sometime between 7 and 7:30. We then relax in our hut until bedtime, which for me is normally around 10.

However, it is the breaks in this routine that have been the most rewarding for me. A few highlights of the week:

• Learning to cook chapatti and lentils with Judy on Sunday afternoon: We had so much fun getting to know Judy (the hospitality person who is our cook and go to with all problems) better and learning to cook some of our favorite foods. It definitely took some patience with us on her part, but we did it even though it took some time. It turned out well. Although, I have to concede, her chapatti is better.

• Bonding with Elizabeth: Elizabeth is another woman who helps with cooking and cleaning at Mama na Dada. She is deaf and so communicating with her can be a challenge, especially with the language barrier. On Sunday afternoon, she taught us some basic sign language and we had a great time deciphering the words she was spelling out with the sign language alphabet that is posted in several places around the compound. She also wrote us about her kids on another afternoon. She has brightened my time her with her constant smile and laughter and it was great getting to better communicate with her.

• Exploring on a run with Saira: Saira and I went for a run yesterday (I needed a day off of insanity) and decided to venture beyond the known trail. We followed a path through a field and ended up on another well-worn path with incredible lake views. We decided to run towards the lake and came upon a shore where a group of women were doing laundry, collecting water, and bathing. Even if slightly stereotypical, it was definitely picturesque. I’m not a runner by any means, but I’m definitely looking forward to future runs for the opportunity to further explore.

• Learning more about Mama na Dada from Joyce and Tina: Mama Joyce came back unexpectedly and we were able to learn about all of Mama na Dada’s smaller projects from her this morning. We learned about a mentorship program that was working to empower girls that we are going to look into getting going again. We also talked to Tina about how they select children to join the daycare and receive free lunch each day. Sadly, for some of the kids, it is the main if not only meal of the day. We also discussed women’s traditional roles here and potential ways to further empower them. I feel like I have a much better idea of the organization’s vision and paths they’re pursuing to get there after these enlightening conversations.

Tomorrow shall bring an even bigger break to our routine, a two-day trip to Kisumu! We’ll be staying with Dr. Tina and I’m very excited to get to spend more time with her. We have plans to attend her choir concert, go on an early morning boat ride and go to the impala park. I can’t wait!

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