Monday, June 1, 2009

Long Weekend

The computer is blasting Swahili music right now. Bobo is pouring me a cup of hot milk from a plastic bag. It's for chai. He also brought some warm jam sandwiches and scrambled eggs. But that's unusual. Usually we have beef soup or coconut beans with chapati, or these sort of pastry pockets. Or else just the leftovers from whatever we cooked last night. We don’t usually pray before breakfast, but for other meals, especially when a lot of people are there, we give thanks for the food before we eat. I’ve had to catch myself a few times so I don’t start eating before we pray.

Okay, hold on, I’m just going to eat breakfast.

I’m back. Pretty quick right? It’s Bobo, he always bugs me to eat more. “Kula, bana.” I guess he thinks I starve in Canada. It reminds me of the stereotype of an Italian woman. Yesterday I saw a woman here with a t-shirt that said “I have an Italian attitude”. It made me smile.

Ok, but I’m sidetracking. I wanted to tell you about my weekend. I just woke up from my first decent sleep since the last time I wrote. It was a long weekend, for the 46th anniversary of Kenya's independence from Britain. They call it Madaraka Day.

It started with the final match for the Premier League. Barcelona won, for those of you who don't follow soccer. So the weekend started with a celebration by Barcelona fans. I don't really have a particular leaning it comes to the premier league, but I don't mind celebrating. Bobo had convinced me to rent a car for the night, cause he wanted us to go to a place that you can’t get to on the Matatu. I finally caved and spent the $30. A bunch of us piled in the car and then we spent the evening driving around to drop people here, pick up people, get this and that, and then we ended up at our usual place cause so many people had tagged along that we couldn’t afford to go to an expensive place. And by “we” I mean me. Now I’m sure I’ve done this before but I feel like I need to qualify that. People aren’t freeloaders the way you probably think they are. Socially, it’s accepted here that if you have money and you’re going out, you can treat other people. True, this does not promote good budgeting and saving. A lot of people don’t think about the future at all, actually. But it’s not like they’re taking advantage of me for my money. That’s all. People have treated me when I was short. And in truth, I do have the money to pay a five dollar cover for six people and buy them a couple beers. Beer here is about $2 to $4 depending on where you go. The only thing about that night was that renting a car was a complete waste.

Enough of that. Let me move on to Sunday night. I didn’t go out Saturday cause I was not feeling at all well. But Sunday night we had to celebrate Kenyan independence. I put on some makeup and a little dress I had brought with me. Everyone kept telling me how good I looked, and when we went dancing the guys were fighting each other over who got to dance with me. Maybe it’s juvenile, but I enjoyed the attention. Especially when there were so many beautiful African women there to occupy their attention. The girls in the bathroom even told me they were jealous. The thing is, I get attention from people just for being white, but I know it’s because they think of me as rich, as an opportunity for them or as representing a culture they admire. This was different because they’re my friends and I know they were dancing with me cause they thought I was attractive and not cozying up to me for a free drink or to steal my phone. Whatever, you would have enjoyed it too.

Yesterday I got my hair braided by a bunch of masai warrior hair dressers. It was strange. They were all decked out in red checked kangas, beaded jewelry, and rubber sandals; all but carrying spears as they combed and braided people’s hair. There was a newspaper clipping on the wall with a headline that said “Masai Warriors Break Taboos”. That’s for sure. But they were really good. It took them only 4 hours to cover me with rasta-style twists. And they are very tight. It hurts a lot actually.
All the little girls who hang out around here in Chuda thought it was so cool. When I got back from the salon they were all touching it and telling me I look “so smart”. They know enough English that I can converse with them, which is fun. They like to come and visit me sometimes and take pictures with my camera and practice their English.

Well that pretty much brings me up to date. I went to bed early last night cause I was so tired from the weekend.
Pictures are coming. We just need to get some software installed on the computer to upload them onto. Then I’ll get them online. It’s so much easier for me to do computer stuff thee days since we have a computer here, and I really want to share pictures with you all. More than that, I want to save them so I don’t lose them all like last time.

So we are supposed to present our sewage system proposal today. I will write soon and let you know how it goes.

Bye for now!


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