“I salivate until I get distracted”

After last week, I was sure that I had learned my lesson in patience. I had been warned beforehand by others that at KMET, I will have to get used to waiting: Waiting for a staff member to return to their office so I can ask them a question, waiting to leave to go to the field an hour after the scheduled time for departure, or just waiting for opportunity to arise where I can be helpful. Yesterday, I was slapped in the face with the fact that I still have much to learn in the realm of being patient.

The day started out with the weekly staff prayer and meeting, where they welcomed several students from the Harvard Summer School who will also be interning with KMET. And then, I was put in charge of orienting two of the students who will be working in my area. I gave them a tour and run down of the safe space project (working with the Sisterhood for Change Girls), and then we were left waiting. Our supervisor was busy interviewing potential community mentors until an afternoon field visit, so I figured maybe the education department might have a field visit or something in the morning that I and my fellow interns could be helpful with. Nothing going on there. So, we were left waiting again. Lunchtime came and went and we were still waiting (not very patiently at that point). The new interns were frustrated because it was not what they expected and that frustration rubbed off on me, making me feel useless.

The day took an unexpected turn when we went out on our field visit in the late afternoon to a school that we had visited last week to advocate for decision making and sexual assault awareness among students. Walking into the school, my frustration from waiting over-powered the amazing feeling I had last time after working with the students. But, that quickly changed, as the students were so excited to see us! Miss Jennifer, our supervisor, spoke so well as the kids asked questions about accepting free rides on the bus, accepting free chips, and how certain parents expect their kids to come home with money, but don’t want to know where that money came from.

Although these topics were very serious, Miss Jennifer handled them with grace and made the discussion enjoyable and funny for everyone. My favorite quote of the day is the title of this blog and from a young boy, when we were talking about hormones and boy-girl relationships, when he was asked “Do you get distracted by girls at school?” I am absolutely loving going to these schools and working with the kids and expect many more stories to come. Today proved that out of waiting, great things will come and definitely made my frustration earlier in the day well worth it!

On a side note, I am loving my home stay! I have a one-year old host brother whose favorite food is dirt, so I have to hide my shoes away from his sight!

Until next time!

Liz

Kisumu, Kenya

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