I know I know. Another week without wild animals. Where are the giraffes, Gulotta! This is now our second week in a row without exploring for animals, but next weekend might be our most sublime trip yet.
We often hear about negative attributes about Kenya, and I’ve written about some throughout the blog. Government corruption, an enormous income gap, growing slums, street rioting, lack of administrative accountability, chaos on the road, poor infrastructure, sexism and unequal treatment of women, tribal racism/violence, street boys, all of this paints a picture of Kenya as unmanageable and destined for sustained third world status.
But Kenya is still in its self-governing, democratic infancy. In 1963, Kenya gained its independence from Britain and enacted their first ever constitution. Kenya has been a free, sovereign nation for only 50 years. Hmmm…where was America 50 years after implementing the constitution in 1789? Woman had no rights, we were murdering Native Americans, and black people were 3/5th’s of a human being. At least we weren’t in a civil war….oh wait, that started 12 years later.
Kenya’s original constitution also was not very democratic. A single party system allowed presidents to rule as dictators, as “President” Moi did from 1978-2002, rigging elections and ruling through propaganda and often fear. After the Cold War, Kenya’s people began pushing for more freedom and more democratic elections. The single party system was abolished in 1992, and Kenya hosted their first competitive presidential election, which, unfortunately Moi rigged and won easily. In the elections of 2007, the loser allegedly responded by transforming youths into mercenaries and murdering competing clans (he is now the current president). Finally, in 2010, only three years ago, Kenya enacted a new constitution that includes term limits and three branches of government.
One could say that Kenyan democracy is only three years old! Kenya is an adolescent nation with an infant democracy, and they still are one of the most stable and prosperous nations in Africa. Remember this when considering the negatives above. America is still battling similar problems. As Kenyans often say to us, “We are just learning. We are just growing up.” I agree, and I have high hopes for the future.
Notes from the week:
One factor missing from the shelter is women. There are no female teachers or volunteers. The teachers recognize this as a problem. The boys would benefit from learning from a woman’s perspective, learn how to respect woman, and some of the little boys are especially craving a mother figure. Thus, the boys do not have a lot of experience around women.
It was really cute how the boys responded to Camille. During my first couple days, the boys were polite, but also not hesitant to shake my hand and talk. They joked around, asked me questions, and I told them about my best friend, Rhianna.
The boys were super shy around Camille. It was adorable. I don’t think any of them said two words to her. My cool, tough, teenage boys just looked at her with a sheepish smiles. It was great, and I can’t wait to joke with them about it tomorrow. Camille is pretty intimidating. And pretty!
|The boys recently made this sign|
|One of my classrooms. I am terrible about breaking chalk. David, who sits in the front row, made an incredible lunging dive to save a piece of chalk last week. I asked him if he used The Force. He didn't know what that meant.|
|I allow no decorations in my classroom. No smiling or eye contact either. Legalism at its best.|
|Where the boys sleep. They built the blue lockers.|
|Our rabbits. They, um, are not pets, but serve another purpose (protein).|
|Gardening. Mostly growing cabbage|
“Oh my goodness!” is a favorite expression of Kenyan women. I had an extreme “oh my goodness” moment this weekend. Last Friday night, the three residents, Dan, Alyce, Jill, and I were rocking the Naivasha seen, hitting all the clubs. Actually, we drove to a restaurant with huge couch cushions, lounged and ate chicken curry. We were having a nice, uneventful drive home, talking about differences between the east and west coast… ladeedaadeedaa… HIPPO! A massive, shadowy mass arose from the curb and engulfed the road. I slammed on my brakes, and we stopped 10 feet shy of being face-to-face with a hippo. Below is a picture.
Just kidding, we didn’t have time to take a picture. I had to jump out the car with my nun chucks to beat it away. I will never forget that hippo.
- And now for the answer to last week’s trivia quiz: it took us three hours to get our Visas. Congratulations to Bill Gulotta for guessing the closest time! Serena Gilani was a near second. Bill Gulotta, expect your prize in one month. Thank you to my 8 guessers!
|Eric loves playing music at school. What's that, a request?|
|Already impressing the ladies|
|Back to Delemere to chase marabou storks|
|Wait, is Mommy a stork?|
|There was an eclipse!|
|Check out the small dot in the shadow. Science.|
I see you reading the blog! Daddy is very thankful. See you next week!