Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Working with the hospital maintenance

After five weeks of working with the maintenance men at the hospital I am well versed in the schedule of each day and I have worked with one man, Tosha (Swahili for “enough”), the entire time and we have become quite close.
Each morning of the week, begins at 8 with chapel, which lasts until around 845. The chapel services in the mornings are in Kikuyu (the local tribal dialect), except on Wednesday which is in English, so I don’t go into work each day until 830. After chapel, Tosha and I go over what our work for the day will entail. This is usually about two to three projects including tasks indoors (floors, doors, and windows), building furniture or cabinets, or working on the occasional roof leak. Usually by the time we figure out what we will be doing for the day and go to look at it, it is a quarter to 10 which means that we head back to the shop for tea time. Tea time lasts from about 950 to 1030, we drink either Kenyan chai or hot chocolate and the guys eat a variety of different pastries. After tea, we go to work and are hard at it until about 1 when we break for lunch (this took a little getting used to because my stomach likes food around 12). Lunch lasts until 2 and we have a short afternoon of work that usually stops around 430 even though they can’t leave work until 5. Because the work periods are broken up and abbreviated and we have to walk every where we work, getting two tasks done, regardless the difficulty, is a full day.
One trait about the Kenyans that hinders how much work they get done, and is different from that of the U.S., is that they value relationships and talking with people more than they do getting things done. I have learned that a job always has time to be finished but if you see a friend or an acquaintance along the path and you do not stop to chat for 5 to 15 minutes, then you might offend them. Whereas, in the U.S. if we see somebody we know but we have something to get to we simply say “hello” or ask “How are you?” and we only slow down long enough to get a rushed reply. Another thing about relationships is that because I am new and they do not often interact with muzungo (white man), they have all sorts of questions for me. Their questions vary from how I live my in America, or what work is like in America, to “Now this professional wrestling, the WWF, is it real? Do you know the Undertaker?”. Sometimes their questions are really quite absurd but because they have had no one ask before I get a good chuckle and answer the best I can. Because we can get in rather long conversations about America (like when I spent nearly 3hrs convincing them that not all Americans are rich, and that there are poor people in America) some days we do more talking and figuring one another out than we actually do working.
This experience working with the maintenance men has been a fascinating one for me and I learning many lessons but spiritual and practical. These people and this trip won’t be something I will soon forget. I thank God for bringing me to Africa because I have learned so much about myself and the people here and am seeing God in ways that I never could in the comfort America.
One last note. The hospital maintenance staff consists of around 30 men who are carpenters, masons, electricians, welders, and grounds keepers. They are quite capable of doing almost anything and I will write more about how work is done another time.

Two and a half weeks to go and Jodi and I ask that you pray for spiritual strength while we remain here and for safety as we travel about Kenya.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Party!!!

It's 145 in the morning and this place is getting crazy in anticipation for Super Bowl 44!!! The snacks are great and honestly it might be the best Super Bowl party that I have ever attended!!.......

Actually, I can't lie to you guys. Really it's just me. Sitting up all by my self. Snacks aren't really that great... bowl of rice crispies and a hand full of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Kenyans don't care about this game and right now I believe I'm going to be watching it with one other person, a die hard Colts fan who is a doctor here at the hospital that I have never met....... In all actuality this is the loneliest Super Bowl I have ever been apart of. I wouldn't even be able to watch the game if the boarding school 100yds from our house didn't have dish tv and I'm still not entirely sure that its going to be on (fingers are crossed). The only real anticipation I have is in telling the doctor that our fabulous President Obama picked her Colts so in all likely hood they will probably loose the game... haha twisted pleasures :)

Hope your celebrations are delightful.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Weekend Adventures Pt.3

"...on the top of a mountain"- Ron Burgundy?

Well it wasn't a mountain, it was actually a volcano, but from where we live it looks like one picturesque mountain. This last Saturday Jodi had Tracey(one of our roommates) and I getting up before the sun, at 530 in the morning, to set out for Mt. Longonot. This dormant volcano lies only 20km to the east of our house and stands alone in the Rift Valley beneath us at meager height of 2777m. We arrived at the trail head around 7, paid our lucrative fee of $20, and headed up. It was a relatively easy hike to the rim because the main approach is on the side on the mountain that a gradual incline. It took us about an hour to reach the rim and this included the several photo opportunities the girls took due to the "beautiful" sunrise (if you've seen one in the mountains you've seen them all). The point of the rim we reached first was almost the lowest and the highest was directly across from us. With a little rest it was onward again to reach the summit of the volcano rim. This part of the hike took a bit longer because it was steeper and we had scramble up few sections. But by 930 we were at the top and because the sun was not yet beating down on us we were able to sit up there and enjoy the view for a while. From up there we were able to see as far as the eye can see in every direction in the Rift Valley. There was only one lonely tree at the top which provided some shade and which we used to hang our camera in order to get a photo of the three of us at the top. We started to head down the other side as the sun began to shine harder on us and little dots of other hikers began to appear on the rim. By 12 we had arrived back at the trail head and were glad that we had started so soon as the sun was shinning and the temperature was in the 90s. The 9km hike made for a good morning adventure and my bed made for an even better afternoon nap.

Note to all readers (mainly Nick):
Pictures cannot be posted at this time due to extremely slow internet connectivity. But we have plenty of the whole trip that we will share when we arrive home. Also, everything here, as you all doubt know, is in kilometers and meters enjoy converting the numbers with us :)