Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rural Week Post 2: The Family, The Home, and The Routine

The Family: I had three wonderful host siblings who were all great fun, despite the huge language barrier. Both of my host parents, Hellen and Victor, were business people (self employed). Beyond the immediate family, there were a few uncles, and Victor’s dad’s place (his dad is a teacher, and is living near a school further away). Beyond the humans in the family, there was a cat with two kittens (I’m pretty sure the cat didn’t have a name), two dogs. Now, I know you probably won’t believe this but they also had two dogs: Liza and (drum roll please…) Al-Shabaab! Or as my brother Adrian would always say “Al-Sabaab! Al-Sabaab!” In fact, on the very last day Adrian decided to ride Al-Shabaab around the yard like a boda-boda (motorcycle). I walked outside to find Adrian clenching the dog’s ears yelling “Vroom! Vroom! Al-Sabaab! Vroom!” Needless to say, I got quite the laugh out of witenessing this.

The Home: A beautiful home on a hill, with a beautiful yard, and lots of animals! They had a large living room, with two bedrooms, and a small storage room. They cooked in a shed outside where their chickens were kept! And what should not be surprising is the pit latrine I used all week. Good thing I did plenty of squats and wall-sits throughout my High School career ;) Nothing surprising happened with the pit latrine, until the very last night. As I was there, I noticed something move in the hole. I shined my flashlight down and to my surprise there were BATS! In the hole. Needless to say I quickly finished my business, and got out of there. My worst nightmare were those bats flying up through the hole and filling the latrine with me trapped inside. Being caught with your pants down has a whole new meaning.

The Routine: while each day was slightly different I had a fairly established routine. I would wake with the sun around 6:30 everyday, throw some clothes on, then go with Victor to tend to the animals. That’s right- Farmhand Wyatt! I would trek through the fields, to get to the animal pen and help get the sheep out then get the cows. Now, this wasn’t as easy as it sounded. The sheep were stubborn (frequently having to pull them by their rope) and having to direct the cows was no easy task. A little tap with a stick was all that was need to get them moving.

After we got the animals tied up to graze for the day, we returned home to enjoy a nice breakfast of chai (a very milky tea – hopefully I can learn to make it and bring some with me back home!) and either chapati or mandazi’s. After a nice long breakfast, Victor would head out to work and I would prepare for my day of surveying. I would conduct my research during the afternoon, then return to play with my host siblings until a late dinner and visiting with Victor and Hellen. I was usually asleep by ten, and we would start over the next day!

The routine was nice, and allowed me plenty of time to journal my thoughts and feelings – some of the most valuable pages of my journal.

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