Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm a Fan

I'm constantly amazed at God's creativity, especially among all the neat-o plants and animals here in Kenya.  Just about everyday I see something that is straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.  Did he live in my backyard to get those ideas for crazy trees? 

Anyway, here is one such plant, the fan palm.  The trunk is practically braided together.

The branches fan out from side to side.  It's flat!  And it's really tall! 

I'm a fan.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Report to Casualty

Everybody has a few stories that define the embarrassing and hilarious side of life.  These stories somehow come up over and over again, sometimes with the benefit of making someone else feel better about whatever embarrassing and stressful situation they are currently in.  I have my fair share of said stories.  How the dachshund I was pet-sitting ate the enormous parrot I was also pet-sitting.  How I gave myself a whopping black eye with a student's trombone three minutes before our Christmas concert started.  How I broke my wrist doing synchronized zip-lining for a Lake Olympics competition when I was a chaperon at a junior high camp.  And now, why I had to report to casualty and get my rabies vaccine.

I hope you read my previous post Monkeying Around.  If not, you should read it now, just so this post makes sense.  See, I was hanging out with some monkey friends and one bit my thumb.  Not hard, not viciously, just enough to draw a little blood and release the corn I was hoarding.  But it was still a monkey bite.

Richard and I have read and heard from very reliable sources that these monkeys are regularly vaccinated by volunteer vets.  No worries!  But we just thought we'd get a stamp of approval from our doctor.  We called up.  "Ummm...a monkey bit you?  Was it wild?  Maybe you should just check in with the hospital right across the street and see what they say."  Way to pass the buck.

So we drive literally across the street into the parking lot of Aga Khan Hospital.  It is a very nice hospital with a very good reputation.  We come in a back entrance and ask the information desk lady who we should see to tell us if I even need to be seen.  "I'm sending you to casualty.  Take two lefts and check in there."

Excuse me? CASUALTY?  But I'm not DEAD! This is way worse than I thought! I assumed casualty was the Kenyan word for morgue.  Turns out it's the emergency room.

We checked in, took a number, paid for the doctor's visit before we saw her ($13), went to Triage Room 1 where the nurse nearly laughed when I told her I was bitten by a monkey, waited a bit more and then was called back to see the doctor.  She had never been to visit the monkeys in City Park, and looked a little incredulous that any person in their right mind would choose to go near a monkey, vaccinated or not.  Then she declared that since the money had not been carrying his rabies vaccine papers with him at the time of the incident, I was to get my rabies vaccine and a tetanus booster (which by the way, was the most painful part of the whole process).

A nurse named Perpetual gave me my jabs, as they are called here, and told me I was brave.  I guess that's one upside to this whole monkey business.  I made a date with Perpetual to give me my next jab in the rabies series on Saturday, then I go back Wednesday and finally Wednesday week.

The good news is, I can go back and feed those monkeys till they are round has barrels if I want, because I've got immunity.

And if a monkey ever bites you, let me know.  I've got your back on making you feel better about it.

Monkeying Around

Yesterday, Richard and I went to City Park.  We heard through the grapevine that a group of vets take care of the monkeys there and that we could feed them.  We have seen pics of other care-free visitors doing this very same thing and and wanted to give it a whirl.  Who doesn't have a secret desire to hold a monkey?

The monkeys were everywhere, and adorable. 

See how this one is holding his own feet?

You could get up close and personal. 

They were very sweet and just a little pushy when they realized you had more corn in your hand than you were letting on.

They would jump on your back

and ride on your shoulder

and they were very well behaved.

This one, being such a well-behaved monkey, just nibbled my thumb to ask me to open my hand with the corn in it.  I obliged.  Unfortunately, I also bled just a little bit.  Enough to make us ask, so what does one do when one is bitten by a monkey in City Park?  Stay tuned for the answer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Traditional Fun

This is a video of Class 6 performing their own composition. The words are in Kiswahili and were originally a poem.  The class teacher, Mrs. Mugo, and the class made it into a song with all the parts.  Two of my piano students figured out their parts on the keyboard on their own and are accompanying the class.  Watch the two middle girls for good dancing and fun, and watch the boys because they are being so boyish about dancing.  I don't feel so badly about the way I jive anymore. This is the style of traditional Kenyan music, so enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Descriptive Writing

I started a unit on descriptive writing in class 5 last week by having each student trace their hand on a sheet of paper, or what we call a foolscap.

Then they each got a piece of candy.

The candy made us rack our brains for the right descriptive words

of how it sounded when it hit our desk, looked inside and out, felt in our hands and mouths, smelled, and finally tasted.  Some tasted better than others.

We wrote out our descriptions, using the five fingers as planning spaces for the five senses.

We worked hard.

It's amazing what a piece of candy can do for a class!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When Smiles are Words

Hey, Guys!  What are you doing?


Are you enjoying your new chairs?


Should we take these into the classroom and use them as our new desks?


Are you having fun?



At least I know they are happy, even if I don't know why.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sugar, Sugar

I am showing you this picture because:
A) Kenya is out of sugar.
B) This is all the sugar I have left in my house.
C) I am a confirmed sugar lover and baker and eater. Coffee is just an excuse.
D) All of the above.

Bonus points awarded to anyone who can appropriate a 2 kilo bag of sugar.