Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sorry for the TYPOS and WEIRD sentence structures that follow. Accessing internet is very hard. I am typing as fast as humanly possible. Dial up takes about 30 minutes to connect. I can’t access the blog…so I am trying to pass it through chunk by chunk when possible, then ask friends or colleagues to post for me. I am journaling each night…so I will share with you when I can. 10:05pm Written in my bed under the mosquito netting. Lights on tonight! (I forgot to mention that I’m thankful that Knights sent flashlights, they came in handy when the power went out.) Thanks to 2 Tylenol pm I slept pretty soundly throughout the night. Stirred only by the baby. 4 weeks old trying to find her way. Once I got my body clock fully adjusted, I hope to take some of the night shifts. Play time this morning was fun. Chantal wants the kids to understand English, so I did my best. Counting went pretty well. The alphabet is a nightmare although Fabeola is great at copying the letters on the paper we sent. We used every precious inch of it not to waste anything. Conversations in the house are amusing. (I use the term conversation very loosely). The kids just can’t figure out why I don’t understand them and the adults try but with limited success. The international language game of speaking slower and louder to try to communicate is not even close to an option. We haven’t quite figured out our sign language either. Oh well. An adventure. I carry a little notepad around with me to say, hi, thank you etc. They cheer me on every time I get close to the proper pronunciation. Chantal came by around 11:30 to do errands with her sister-in-law who works at the home…they decided I should come along. They needed gas, supplies etc. They also bought some tacks so they could proudly display the cards John and Elisabeth made. The white woman was quite the hit. Each stop seemed to replicate the same pattern. Chantal would go to the shop and the other woman (Sieba) stayed with me for entertainment as I tried to coax people into letting me take their photos. Chantal said it would be‘no problem’. Her suggestion was to not ask for permission or they will beg for money. But I just didn’t feel comfortable with that approach. So I held my camera up and either got a “shaking finger for ‘no’ or a smile for yes. Of course there is always one ham in the group! They all loved seeing their picture on the digital screen. Everyone was entertained. I drew large groups of people wherever I went. They all were curious about he “muzungo”…the white person. Chantal laughed so hard at my antics. Each time the people would wave and give me a thumbs up whenever I left. They stared at me from inside the car as we drove around the downtown city streets. Eventually Chantal decided that I needed a traditional African dress for Easter. We stopped at a narrow stall of shops each filled with piles of soft, brightly colored fabrics. Vendor upon vendor. I pointed out that I liked the fabric that a fellow patron was wearing on her dress. She understood and apparently flattered, decided to walk thru all of the sellers trying to help find something that matched. But alas, we gave up trying to find a match for her color and pattern. Instead, we chose a simple brown and beige pattern. Tomorrow we are going somewhere to have someone make a dress. They say it as gift from the Home. How sweet? Later we returned to napping children. We said goodbye to Chantal @ 4. Back to the translation challenges. Too funny. People seem to know these people at the home as an occasional visitor comes by to say high and perhaps play with the children. The street workers outside the Home welcomed me back today saying “it’s good to see you again” (translated). I think they kinda like having their own personal moozoomgo pass by each day. Today I learned that people working @ building the street each make about $1/day. The “big bosses” make about $5/day. Their work is substantially harder than US construction as it is all by hand. And I really mean by hand. They use branches to pound the individual stones into place. The collection of stones then turn into pavement when covered with a dirt/sand. At the end of each day they all wash themselves from one bucket of water and go home clean. Amazing but true. More to follow

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