The Story of 3 Wazungus in Kenya

2 Commentsby   |  07.06.11  |  Kenya

This past Friday was such a blessing; first, Bonnie was well enough to teach, and second, Sam’s Place hired 3 new teachers! Before, they had two that were responsible for teaching 5 different class levels. Once we came, we each had a class, but it’s a little difficult to teach when you aren’t trained to be a teacher and also don’t know enough sign to communicate efficiently with the deaf! The staff met all day Friday, assigning teachers to classes and reconstructing the school time schedule. Savannah, Bonnie, and I are still working with our same classes, but now we divide the subjects with a real teacher, so there’s less stress for everyone. Although Friday made us excited for the upcoming week, it also brought sadness. The youngest student here, a girl named Caroline, is the only child at Sam’s Place that has a living parent. She is 6 years old and was brought here by an incompetent mother who assured the Sam’s Place administration that her daughter was deaf. As the months have gone by, the director at Sam’s Place has recognized that Caroline is in fact not deaf. Although she has trouble focusing and will often not respond to sound, she has proven that she can repeat words and mimic sounds, showing signs of autism. It is very obvious that Caroline has a problem beyond Sam’s Place’s ability to help. On Friday, Simeone asked Caroline’s mother to visit Sam’s Place and he informed her that Sam’s Place was not the appropriate location for Caroline. Caroline has a special place in all of our hearts, and although we hate to see her leave, we know that Sam’s Place is looking for a situation that would put Caroline’s best interests first.

Savannah woke up sick on Saturday and thus had to stay back while Bonnie and I accompanied Simeone to Homa Bay (on Lake Victoria). Simeone and Naome are the absolute best hosts anyone could ever ask for. They are constantly encouraging us to experience the culture and visit new places. While at Home Bay, we watched men fish, while women cleaned and gutted what was caught. Simeone convinced a group of fishermen to take us out on the fishing boat, however, the boat’s are situated in the water so we all had to be carried…even Simeone! After our experience at Homa Bay, we went to Kisii to visit Nancy. She prepared us a feast (knowing how much we love her cooking) and then took a long walk until we were literally at the top of a hill that overlooked all of Kisii. As we walked, we would look over our shoulders and realize that children were following us. By the end of our walk, we had accumulated probably 25 neighbor kids who kept whispering “wazungus, wazungus,” which literally means “white people”.

An elder from Naome’s home church called Simeone earlier this week and asked him if he would bring the “visitors” to their church on Sunday. So after we had church with the children, we drove an hour and a half to Naome’s church. Simeone, Savannah, Bonnie, and I walked in first and were led to the front row of the left side of the church. Naomi and Nancy sat on the right side. It wasn’t until about half way through service that we realized that everyone on our side was male! Later, Naomi assured us that it really didn’t matter (even though husbands and wives weren’t even sitting together…) Simeone preached to the congregation about how often we forget to invite Jesus into every aspect of our lives. We remember when his presence is necessary but in the conversations and decisions we make daily, he’s often forgotten. It was such an encouraging and refreshing sermon and it made our mission team really recognize that we must always try to be as Christ-like as possible, in every situation. After church, one of the elders had us over for lunch and sodas (Bonnie and I are obsessed with the soda Krest Bitter Lemon). While we ate, they asked us so many questions about America. One thing I’ve come to realize is that Kenyans love hearing about the differences between Kenya and America. They asked about our buildings, our customs, our church services, any and everything there was to possibly ask! Speaking of which, a couple of days ago, one of the deaf groundsmen at Sam’s Place (most of the workers at Sam’s Place are deaf) asked me to tell (sign) stories about America to the children. After I explained the typical differences like food, landscape, priorities, etc., he began to ask me to tell specific stories…like the 2 towers incident and African slavery. Let’s just say that was an interesting signing experience. Fortunately, my sign has progressed so much the past month. Before I had to make due with gestures, but now I know enough sign to communicate and teach correctly and quickly.

Monday was the new teachers’ official first day and it was SO great! Shadrack (Jennas’ husband) is my fellow teacher and he’s not only fluent in sign, he’s the only teacher that isn’t deaf! I have learned so much more sign since working with him because he speaks while he signs. After class, we found a long rope and played a good 3 hours of intense jump rope. At times their were 7 kids jump roping! Elphas, Violet, and Irene (the 3 oldest children here) are amazing at jump rope, spinning and doing hand games all at once. It’s incredible! We also taught them arm wrestling, thumb wars, and limbo (one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed because they would bend their backs about 5 meters before they even reached the rope). Once it gets dark, we move into the family room, a large room with games and books. Kilion, probably the most intelligent child here, is amazing at checkers. We didn’t have a real set, so we’ve been playing with a set he made from cardboard. Earlier that day I was looking through the teachers cabinet for scissors and I came across a wooden checkers board! So that night we played checkers and read (mainly looked at pictures because most of the children can’t read) with the kids.

Tuesday was similar to Monday, expect that I decided to wash my clothes and literally right after I hung them out to dry, it started raining. So unfortunate. I put them back out this (Wednesday) morning at 7, and by 10 they were dry! It pays being so close to the equator. Well, that’s all for now but I’ll be sure to keep you all posted (and no mom we havn’t taken any more walks to Rongo)!!

2 Comments

  1. Affiliate Marketer
    2:54 pm, 07.31.21

    Nice Post. Thanks for sharing.

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