Introductions!

2 06 2012

By Saira Butt

6/01/2012 (Independence Day in Kenya!)

I’ll be honest: I’m not great at coming up of good ideas to write blog posts about, so I think I’m just going to introduce a few of the women we’ve gotten to know these past two weeks, who have made our trip great already.

Judy, our cook and the woman who takes care of us. We go to her for all of our needs, including toilet paper, drinking water, mops, and electricity, and she handles it all with a mild, ‘Not a problem.’ She’s also a fantastic cook, which keeps us going for seconds and thirds and even fourths at every meal (no exaggeration there). Last Sunday, she taught us how to make chapatis and lentils.

Elizabeth, despite being deaf and mute, is very social and welcoming with us. She tends to catch us at our most interesting moments, like when we’re in crisis mode, dumping buckets of water on our hut’s threshold because of a major ant invasion. As a result, she laughs at us a lot. Earlier this week, she spent a good hour teaching us some words in sign language. She’d spell a word, letter by letter, by pointing to a poster with the alphabet, and then make the sign. We’ve learned how to sign good, bad, problem, no problem, man, woman, girl, boy, and some others I’ve already forgotten. I was really impressed because she could spell a ton of English words perfectly, even though she can’t even speak in her own language (Luo). She often likes to check up on us while we’re working, sitting next to us and pointing out spelling mistakes in names as we input data on our computers.

Tina, as Sarah and Kelly may already have mentioned, is our translator and personal guide to life in Kunya. She does various administrative things for Mama na Dada as well, and she is the mother of 3 children, one of whom goes to the daycare at Mama na Dada. She’s fairly new to Mama na Dada, having come here in February, but she’s already very familiar with the community. She goes with us everywhere, introducing us and our intentions and fending off swarms of children. And you can say whatever you want about African time, but this woman is always on top of her business. She’s been extremely welcoming to us and answers all of our questions about cultural propriety. We talked to Mama Joyce (the head of Mama na Dada) about some of the issues the community faces and how we can get more involved. When we mentioned our conversation to Tina, it was great to hear that she had been thinking about them and was very open to working with us in addressing them. I really admire her sense of duty, as shown by her willingness to go beyond her listed job, in addition to her efficiency and dedication to helping us in our project.
I\m really looking forward to spending more time with these strong, admirable women who have already made our experience so valuable.

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