So yeah, I am really sorry...
I've been pretty bad about telling people what I'm up to these days, but to be honest, it's not all that exciting. Lets see:
-I got a garden: So yeah, it's a small plot, and I've planted green peppers, carrots, pumpkins and watermelon. I think I'm also going to put some zucchini and eggplant in there as well. So if I can only remember to keep watering it, and get the stupid dogs to stop walking all over my freshly planted seeds, I think I'll be having TONS of fresh veggies in a bit!
-pets: So I've been thinking for a while that I've been wanting a pet, it helps to have another living thing in the house with you, so at least you don't think you're going crazy talking to yourself... as though it's slightly less crazy talking to cats. So my landlady's cat is pregnant and about to have the kittens, and I think I'm going to take one of them. We'll see about names as soon as the thing's born!
-Work: Ok, so work's not been all that hot lately. Not that things are bad, I've actually gotten some new things started. One is an income-generating project (IGA) with my women's group-we're making bead necklaces out of magazine pages (they're pretty cool!), and we've even found some curio shop owners in Nanyuki and Meru who are interested in buying them (and the guy in Nanyuki has even offered *more* than a fair price for them!). The problem? Enthusiasm. When we started, I told the women that if they were not interested in doing this IGA, that they could tell me, I wouldn't be hurt, and we could move on to other IGA ideas that they were interested in. The thing is that in Kenyan culture, saving face is incredibly important, and also people really REALLY do NOT want to hurt other people's feelings. While most of the time I think that this is a really nice impulse, it often results in people telling me what they think I want to hear, which is not always an accurate reflection of the truth. So when I asked them if they were interested in the beaded necklaces, they assured me that they definitely were. Fast forward one month, and I'm having trouble getting people to show up for meetings and getting them to make the stupid things. But things always get off to slow starts around here, so we'll see how it goes. They finished 10 of them, and I'm hoping that we can get them to Nanyuki soon- if they see that the women who showed up and made necklaces are getting money for their efforts, the other members may see that the project is actually working. And maybe not. We shall see
-Languages: I have been losing my Kiswahili at a frightening speed, and Kimeru is still about as understandable as Greek at the moment, so I finally got my act together and hired a language tutor. To be honest I'm not as bothered about learning Kimeru as I am about becoming fluent (ok, conversant is more of a realistic goal!) in Kiswahili. So I've had a couple of language classes so far, and I'm actually getting some stuff I never got before! For instance, in Kiswahili, all nouns are divided into different noun classes. Each noun class has different rules for making words plural, and adjectives and verbs will change their prefixes depending on the noun class in question. Sounds complicated? Yeah, kinda. Most of the noun classes are pretty straightforward, but there is one that is insanely complicated- the Mahali class. This class only has one word in it- Mahali, which means "place". I never understood it, because there are so many agreements, but this lady was actually able to explain it in a way that I at least got the concept. Not that I'm actually able to use it correctly, but at least I get it. Kind of.
So yeah, I'm in Nairobi at the moment, and enjoying myself immensely. Lately I've been what PC people term a "site rat", meaning I almost never leave Meru. While it's good to be hanging out at site, being there for too long without a break isn't too good for your sanity. So a weekend away is pretty much exactly what I needed!