Unfortunately I’m not very good at doing rest. It feels wrong so I tend to carry on being busy. I’ve been debating which Kenyan language to learn and have decided that I am going to try very hard to learn Kiswahili. It's widely spoken across East Africa and according to my research today is widely used in High School. Kenya is a complicated country linguistically. The British did a great job of carving up Africa, (along with their European counterparts), in the Scramble for Africa in the nineteenth century and happily drew straightish lines across any number of tribal divisions. This does little to foster national unity in many African countries, (including Kenya). Anyway, I digress. Based on evidence from an admittedly small sample of our staff, I have been advised that learning Kiswahili would be better than learning Luo, our local language. In an ideal world I guess learning both would be preferable but I’m not sure my ageing brain cells could take in two new languages at the same time. I know that the teachers in our school would like the children to improve in Kiswahili so I’m going to step up to the challenge of being a good role model. I’m sure it will cause much amusement to start with, (a bit like talking French in France) but I am determined to try. Apart from anything else I think it is a very beautiful language. So, Inawezekana? (Is it possible?) – Bila yashaka (Of course).
I love the early evening in Kenya – from about 5.30 to 7.00 p.m. It’s usually fairly cool and the sun sets beautifully, lighting up the whole sky. The sky seems a lot bigger in Kosele. It’s a lovely time to sit and pass time with the children after they have had supper. There’s always a football match going on and someone to talk to. The kids love reading the newspaper so I sat with a few of them and we read the Sunday Standard. They couldn’t believe one of the pictures on the second page, which showed a European lady seeming to kiss a lion that she had brought to her animal sanctuary some years ago.
There’s nothing like a warm shower to finish off the day so I had nothing like a warm shower but still felt really good after it. Water for the showers comes from the roof harvest system so when it rains the showers are full of lovely cold rainwater. We had yet more rain today so the showers are full, (and so is the 1,000 litre water tank I wrote about previously). Our showers are outdoors and open to the big African sky. The stars often look spectacular. I hadn’t seen the Milky Way before I came to Kenya!
We have an even earlier start than usual tomorrow as we have to travel to Kisumu for the self sufficient school workshop in Kisumu, (about an hour and a half away). I’m hoping that everyone will come back fired up with enthusiasm for making our place as self sufficient as possible.
I hope our staff and children will not mind my new catch phrase too much – Unasemaje kwa Kiswahili, (how do you say this in Kiswahili), and that I won’t have to resort to Unazungumza Kiingereza? (Do you speak English), this time next year