Jamii (Family)

pict 1Hard to believe that we’ve been here in Kisumu for over three weeks! Time is really flying by! At this point, I feel like we’ve all really settled in. We confidently know our way around Kisumu, how to acquire transportation when needed, and are slowly getting better at bargaining (props to Rashida for getting a soccer ball down from 1200 to 400 shillings this afternoon). As I arrived home this evening, I greeted the neighbors and children who are now accustomed to seeing the Mzungu in their neighborhood every day.

I love how at ease I feel in my home stay now. As I arrived home this evening, I couldn’t have been more excited to see my baby host brother, Mike, who is so stubborn and restless, but a joy to be around. Emmaculate and Wycliffe (my wonderful host mom and dad, who are young enough to be my older sister brother) were eager to know how my day was. Wycliffe commented that I walk like a local now, and then tested me on whether I know the area now, and I think I aced the test! I sat in the kitchen peeling potatoes as Emmaculate, Karen (Mike’s nanny and my roomate) and I chatted and laughed about life. Every day, we learn so much from eachother. Wycliffe works for a local phone company so I have learned so much about the best phone models here in Kenya. Mexican soap operas are really popular here and we watch the same one over dinner every night. I laugh at myself when I am as caught up as everyone else at the super dramatic plot twists that end every episode. By the way, Kenyan food is so good! I think I’m the only one of the Kenya Hestons who actually enjoys ugali (the dough that is eaten with most meals).pic2

It was funny because this past Monday (similar to Mary), I was bed-ridden with a stomach infection from food of some kind. On Tuesday, when I was feeling much better, the motorcycle drivers who hang out in my neighborhood asked me where I was the day before. I also feel such a sense of family and community within the KMET office. The past few weeks have been emotional due to some tragedy regarding staff members, but everyone is really there for one another. It’s so easy to laugh with my fellow staff members and friends and I really appreciate how welcoming they have been to us over the last few weeks! I am also thoroughly enjoying getting to know the girls from the Sisterhood for Change program. We (Rashida and I) are running mentoring sessions with them and as we have opened up about ourselves with them, they have done the same in return!

I could write on and on, but I’ll stop there for this evening!

Thanks for reading!

Kisumu, Kenya