Wednesday, May 7, 2014

End of term and Holidays

Hello Everyone! Here is a picture update of March and April. Many Peace Corps meetings kept me very busy and traveling around, however seeing friends is always wonderful. Did a day trip to Hell's Gate, camping on Lake Nakuru. Had our closing ceremony at Menara Primary where parents and children celebrated their high test scores and goals for the next term. Once the Holiday hit I was off to Lamu with other Peace Corps friends to see Musini and experience all that Lamu has to offer. Now, I am back to the grind, beginning the term with the grand opening of the library I work from and the opening of the school for the new term. Students and teachers are both excited as well as myself! 
The view from our camping spot on Lake Nakuru

We saw tons of Antelope, zebra's and warthogs through our biking of Hell's Gate. 

One of the views we came to. SO stunning.

My Biking partner Rachel Rose. 
Our Closing Ceremony

Look at how cute they are! 

My Travel buddies :) Jordon, Erin and Lindsay. Jordon and Lindsay are the two who are now living in the same village, Eregi, that I lived in last year. 
Jay and Baraka were so excited and happy for their Seattle Sounders Jerseys! They told me to thank my cousin Mandy for them everyday that I was there. So THANK YOU Mandy. Now the whole of Musini's crew has a Seattle item :) 

Enjoying Shella beach for the afternoon. 

Erin and I enjoying the view and a cold beer! 

Grinding coconut like a pro, old school style!

Baby donkeys are just about the cutest animal EVER!

So many beautiful sunset on the boat, this picture doesn't even do it justice. 

Many more pictures to come! Missing everyone back home and hope all are well. xoxo

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Koru Update!

Finally here are some picture of my times since I arrived!

Decorating came first, love having my family and friends on my wall!!!

School Assembly. Over 400 students at Menara Primary

This is the view from my walk to Menara Primary once I walk up a hill. You can see Dr. Robert Ouko Primary School (DROPS) on the left, the library just to the right and then on the very top of the hill (if you can see a red roof) is Mama's House and where I also live. 

This is the office I work from at Menara. The safe on the left is where we keep the kindles

This is the Baby Class that I like to go to when I arrive, they will usually sing me a song to say hello :) 
walking to class 5 for a lesson

We were reviewing a story we read the other day and students really understood! I was so proud! 

This student named Branham was such a cheeky little boy. I gave an assignment from an English book in the kindle, and he went to the teachers manual that was also in the kindle and copied the answers!!!! At first while reading his answers I was so shocked at how well written they were, but I caught on!! So, now we deleted the teachers manual so the students won't be tempted. But I had to give him some creative kudos! 

Waiting on the side of the road for our matatu to Nakuru for a Birthday celebration!

We had lots of time...

This was my Birthday treat!!! SOOO YUMMY!!

One Wednesday afternoon there was no school so we decided to BBQ Outside. Chicken and chips! I cooked the chips...

Musini cooked the Chicken.

This is where I walk through to get from my house to Mama's house. Mama's house is behind me there. 

Thought my mom would like this picture :)

We spent a week trying to create the world! 

Finally finished. Musini was much better than me at geography! 

This is what most of my day looks like, since I do a lot of research for lessons to teach at Menera, online masters program and trying to stay in touch with family and friends. 

This is the DROPS school that is just down the hill from my house. Recently completed and managed by Mama Ouko, it is a beautiful school! 

Mama gave her words of wisdom at the opening ceremony. Doesn't she look fabulous!!! 

This is what I have been waking up to every morning for  about 2 weeks...RATS!!!

This is the whole I found just yesterday morning in the screen of my window! RATS NO MORE!!!! 

My girls play volleyball at sports and games this last week. 

My fellow teachers cheering them on

Other Menara students watching and cheering on our volleyball girls

Football match (unfortunately we lost...), but they played so well!

A few of my boys trying to get some shade while watching football.

Hope that you enjoyed my little tour! I'll try and upload some video's that I took another time. I miss everyone so much from home. Seeing everyone in December has really touched me and I think about how much I can't wait to see you all again every day! Hope all are healthy and happy! Sending all my love out to you guys! xoxo

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New years Resolution: Write More Blog Posts!!!

                Trips have come and gone and none of them nearly seemed long enough. Flew from Lamu (where I was having a Holiday and visiting my boyfriend) to Nairobi where I then boarded my plane for Amsterdam. Oh wow how unprepared I was for the Amsterdam winter chill. My first thought when I got off the plane was “its ok I have a pair of socks AND a Northface jacket and some laiso’s to wrap around me”… what I didn’t think about was how none of that was even close to keeping me warm and I truly looked like a homeless person. No shoes but a old pair of socks, second hand blue jeans, north face jacket (my one blessing that I had with me) and many bright colored small blankets (called laiso’s) wrapped around me.  Crawling into a corning and trying to sleep did not help the image either... However, I bought a bag of peanut M&M’s and watched Love Actually in total bliss because I knew that in only 12 hrs. my life would be just like its opening scene. Except it wasn’t at all… After getting off the plane that was kept at a below freezing degree and waiting like a zombie in hours of baggage claim, I walk out to finally see my parents waiting in their warm car outside Delta airlines…Instead I was slapped in the face with even more freezing air and no car that I recognized. Once again, shivering homeless girl wandering alone…After waiting for about 30 min. finally borrowed a phone from the second person I asked (first guy literally ran the other direction…I’m hoping its because he didn’t hear me??) and called all their phones which they were conveniently not answering. My big brother did tho! THANK YOU! And finally found my parents, who were waiting in a different part of the airport…isn’t that always the case?? But FINALLY I got my scene from Love Actually of hugs and smiles and a few tears by my mama (bless her heart).  My cousin Mandy and her little boy came to pick me up as well…wait…LITTLE?? He grew like 2 ft. since last I saw him. I left him as a child and he has grown into a little man. Nothing made me feel like I had been gone for 2 years except for kids. I remember growing up, adults would always comment “Oh wow, look how big you’ve gotten,” and I would roll my eyes and think, well of course! I now take all those eye rolls back and apologize, because I am still in awe of seeing some of those kids. I literally thought Alex Briehl was a different person when I walked into the their house…unbelievable. My little Miller cousins couldn’t be more adorable and pictures don’t do them justice because they both have the fullest and brightest personalities. Gracie with her ballerina leg pop and Will with his charm and laugh. They truly put two years into perspective for me.   
Now, I know I made you feel real sorry for me this past paragraph, however all that sympathy is about to end, when I now tell you how pampered and spoiled I was while staying at Mom and Dads. The comforts didn’t end. With my first dinner being filet mignon, bubble baths and ice cream every night, Christmas cookies for breakfast. I can’t believe the luxury, and yes, I INDULGED!!!   Christmas was so FUN, full of fun presents and Fondue meat and sauce!!!! With much help from my mom I got all my necessary errands done and found a Masters program that I will be starting next month for teaching.  I tried my hardest to get around to see all friends and family and I would like to think I did a good job, however, I know there are some that I didn’t get around to and that was very sad. I apologize, but all are still in my thoughts and I hope to see you next year!  All in all the trip seemed like a whirlwind, but was so nice. Many people while I was there asked what sort of culture shock I had, but honestly with only being there a month it was more vacation mode, BUT the things that shocked me were…
1)   As I said before, how much kids grew
2)   Iphones…everywhere…and I had to ask my parents how to use it…
3)   Body ideology…either overly unhealthy or overly worried about how your body isn’t perfect.
4)   Ginger beer!! Its just like Stony! YUM!
5)   So much stimulation!! And not from TV, but driving was hard for me, because I wanted to look around so much and there are just so many things to focus on!! Traffic lights, cars on every side of you, turn signals and road signs. 
6)   How little things actually changed…towns are the same, people the same. Everything that I love and don’t are still there and that is the most comforting thing to experience.

I’ve tried to explain many times to people that it’s because I have an amazing, comforting home and support system that allows me to be over here and enjoy it. I couldn’t do it without knowing that my home is always there for me to fall back on, and the unwavering support system. So Thank you, to my family and friends and most importantly my parents, who I miss so much already.

90 degrees, sitting on my veranda, trying to keep cool with thoughts of that winter chill!!! xxxxoooo

Friday, November 15, 2013

On to the next one!

Time is flying and I seem to not be able to grasp any moment that is going by even though I am trying so hard to do so. It is bitter sweet to be leaving my little village of Eregi, but I am so ready to begin the next journey! The past few weeks we have been wrapping up school and I have been packing up my home. I donated so many clothes, shoes and other accessories that I won't use to my darling students at Eregi Special and I now know how Oprah feels. "YOU get a t-shirt!! and YOU get a t-shirt!! and YOU and YOU!!!" Every kid got something, which was so nice. Jenfaith, Beatrice and I went through every item and matched it with a child we thought would be best to receive. It was amazing!
This is Kyla trying on a pair of toms that Mandy left behind when she came to visit me in Kenya :)  She now wears them every day. 

Some of my kids I made keep their outfits on so I could snap a picture of them all. They were all so excited to be getting new clothes! 

This week we have had a week break of school for the KCPE (the primary school education test in Kenya). They don't allow teachers in the school at that time, so Peace Corps and I decided to take advantage of the week to move my things to my new site and project.  On Wednesday, my APCD (basically my supervisor) arrived with a large Peace Corps vehicle to transport me (thank god!). The vehicle was packed to the brim!!! After about a 2 hr. drive into what seemed the middle of no where we arrived in a beautiful oasis! I am so happy and excited about what the next year is about to bring. Working with a new very motivated team of people on literacy in the community, running a library and reaching out to the rural schools nearby will be so exciting. Here are pictures of my new home and work.
Mama's Big house 

Rift Valley view from my veranda 

Karibu! to my new home 


The most exciting part of my new house a HOT SHOWER!!!!

Small Kitchenette 

Library just below mama's house

Reading a story with the kids together on the e-readers

Drawing pictures about the story we all just read. Very bright young kids I'm excited to get to know better and work with :)
 So, as you can see I am continuing to have a great time. Moving on to another project and community here. I am so happy to say that I will be coming back to America in only a few weeks for a 30 day vacation!! YAY! Mark the calendars for December 14th! I can't wait for home cooked dinners by papa Bradley, Christmas cookies, reading my the fire, starbucks coffee, the smell of my Gram and Grampa's house, hugs from all my family and so much more!! I love you and all as always sending warm wishes and thoughts to everyone xoxo