Kakamega-I know how to build a mud house =)

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November 10th 2009
Published: November 10th 2009
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Hello everyone! i first want to say how much i LOVE reading the comments everyone has left. it seriously makes my day. also, i don't think i have thanked everyone at SSMS yet for all of your wonderful donations. they are being put to such great use. you all are a blessing!

i can't believe it has been a week since i blogged. i hope i can remember everything =) ....

school has been going quite well. i feel like i'm getting the hang of things more each day. yesterday i started my letter writing lesson with the third grade class. they loved the letters i brought them from home. so to all of my students back at spencer elementary your letters are in the process of being written! i miss you all and you better be behaving for mr. morgan!

this past weekend the four of us IU teachers along with a couple other volunteers went to a nearby town, kakamega, to meet a past IU teacher who is back in Kenya. he is in the process of setting up an organization for "street boys" in kakamega. he is building a place for them to live and the organization will be set up so they are self sustained. so cool. everything is still in the process of being built so we got to go help! we got there and were immediated taught how to make the mud buildings. we worked on the bathroom and the chicken coop. first we had to make the mud by digging up dirt from the ground then mix in water. to mix, we actually had to stomp stomp stomp with our feet! (i felt like i was on that episode of i love lucy when she has to stomp in the grapes. of course this was much messier) then, you take the mud with your hands and slap it on as even as possible. you know you're doing it right when you leave a hand print in the mud. so when we were finished it was so cool to se OUR handprints in the walls. we all looked like we had just finished hog wrestling when we were done. mud cached from head to toe. we washed as good as we could in a nearby "stream." then we walked nearly 2 miles to the home of a man who the past IU teacher is working with in his organization. it was actually his parents' home and when we arrived their entire family was there waiting for us. they were so excited we were there! they made us an amazing dinner and we had such great conversation.

that night we went into kakamega rainforest and stayed in a hut in the middle of the forest. in the middle of the night i woke up to a bad stomach ache =( probably drank some bad water. but while i was awake i started hearing a really strange noise in the distance. it kept getting louder and closer and i finally realized it was monkeys! come to find out they were claiming their territiories everywhere. the sound was like a very deep howling noise. crazy cool.

we woke up at 4:30 in the morning for a 5 am sunrise hike! the 7 of us we left with our guide, David for a 3 hour adventure! It was so dark i tripped like every 2 seconds...surprise. this, along with little sleep made the hike to the top of the mountain quite hard for me. the last bit to the top of the mountain was the hardest. straight up and slippery! i was breathing soo hard. but we finally made it to the top in time to watch the sun come up over the horizon. it was amazing. we were at the highest point and could see over the whole forest! i could hear tons of monkeys in the distance and it was just so beautiful. after lots of pictures, david took us to a bat cave! i guess it used to be a gold mine by the British, but now it is owned by bats. it was hilarious! bats were flying all over our heads and everyone was screaming. david was laughing so hard at us! =) we finally started our journey back and the way down the mountain was nearly as hard as the way up. my gracefullness mixed with steep, slippery rocks did not go so well. but i did make it down with no broken bones so all is good. we got back to our huts around 8 to find monkeys literally everywhere! like every tree, and they were all different kinds! i got really close to a baby monkey that was in a low tree and i dont think its mom was too happy. =) they were so cute. we finally made it back to the farm on sunday and i don't remember the last time i was so exhausted. very physically hard weekend. but very worth it. =)

i don't think i've mentioned much about life on the farm...today i washed my clothes which i try to do about twice a week. this consists of filling 3 buckets from the well, 1 for washing and 2 for rinsing. and then putting them on the line to dry. to take showers you also must fill a bucket from the well then use a pitcher to pour the water on yourself. if you want a warm shower, you have to get up early in the morning for the water they heat over a fire. the food had been better than i expected, mostly lots of starchy stuff. one day last week, sidney and i helped the cooks prepare the dinner! we had to start at 4:00 and dinner isn't served until 7:30 or 8! I helped to cut up lettuce for the cabbage and then I got the job of rolling dough into cirlces for the chipati. it was so fun getting to know the cooks...they're hilarious and ejoyed giving me a hard time about my un-circular chipatis. i turned on my ipod speakers and we sang and danced while cooking. =) everything is done by hand and i just couldn't believe how hard they have to work for one meal. i'm sleeping in a hut with three other people and i wake each morning to a rooster. seriously. no alarm needed. we have tons of chickens, dogs, cats and cows that kind of just roam and think they own the place. one hen has his own (human) chair in the main hut where it lays an egg the same time every day. yesterday i was sitting right by it and forgot it was there. i just kind of rested my hand on the arm of the chair and it bit me! haha! we have a generator that is turned on when it gets dark so there is some light in the main hut. the main hut is out in the open and where all of the volunteers eat dinner and hang out in the evenings. i am currently in bungoma town where i come for supplies and to get on the internet. coming into town is always an adenture. you have to catch a crowded matatu (14 passenger van) where they like to cram at least 20 people + a chicken or 2. =) very entertaining.

well, i think that is all for now! hope all is well for everyone and i will write again soon!



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