Archive - April, 2009

Thank You!!!

I’ve been working on scholarship applications for the past two months which is difficult to do half way around the world.  Therefore, I have some people I need to say thank you to.

I want to especially thank my mom and dad, Helen and Tom, who have worked tirelessly to proof, print everything off, and mail scholarships for me.   I could not ask for better parents and am very proud to be their son knowing that they will do pretty much anything to support me.

John Williams and Neill Morgan have also worked very hard to help me with references under crazy Robert time constraints.  I keep e-mailing them and they keep responding quickly with whatever I need.  Each time I receive something from them I get a boost of energy and confidence knowing that they (two of my biggest mentors) are taking the time out of their very busy schedules to continually help me.  So, thank you John and Neill!

I must also thank those who I have bothered less, but who have still helped me tremendously!  Rachel Baumann, Mary Carter, Cat, Mary-Elizabeth, Vince, and Greg.  Thank you for your help and the help I will continually ask for.

Thank you for all you have done and all you will continue to do!  You are great support!

Week: 31: Cosmas Returns and the Foxies

Cosmas Returns

Cosmas (last year roommate) returned to AEE out of the blue three weeks ago.  I had called him daily since returning from Isreal/Palestine in January but it went straight to the lady saying, “the mobile subscriber you are trying to reach is unavailable.”  He called a week before he showed up at AEE on someone else’s phone, when I asked him where his phone went he simply stated, “someone dropped it in the lake.”  I responded, “Well, I guess when you live on an island, the chances of that happening jump considerably.”  He left today back to the island, but it was great to see him and spend time together.

The most entertaining conversation with Cosmas occured during an explanation to him that it is not nice in my culture to call people fat.  He looked at me dumbfounded and said, “you mean it’s not good to tell American women they are fat?”  “Nope,” I said.  He replied, “OH NO!, I’ve told so many American women they are fat. When I meet a fat American women I usually say, “it is so nice to meet such a fat woman.”  Oh no…”  It is a compliment here to say, “you haven’t lost any weight” or “wow, you’ve put on weight!”  I would compare it to “you look nice today” in the States.  I wish you all could meet Cosmas to understand how sad he was about possibly upsetting American women and what an amazing person he is.

Cosmas’ Return:
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The Foxfires

The Kenya school year is set up with the calendar year and instead of a summer break (it’s summer here year round) they have April, August, and December off from school.  Therefore, all of the schools that I go to are closed for April.  We are going on a short weekend trip this weekend and then to Mombasa for a week and half next week.  There are now four Foxies: Steve, Sam, Bela, and Nicholas.

The 2009 Foxies:
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Usually there is an excess of girls, but this year there are none to be found and a plethora of boys.  It is interesting sleeping in a third of a Quonset Hut with five people without individual ceilings and one big round ceiling.  On account of the round ceiling, when someone uses the sink or toilet, on the other side of the Hut, it sounds like the sink or toilet is in your ear.  I use to be a light sleeper, but I think Kenya has fixed that right up.

They are all very cool guys and I get along well with them.  They are also 19 years old which makes for an interesting time.  I am like the Foxfire RA.  We had a heart-to-heart this week about cleaning up after yourself and times when it is alright to be loud and when we should be quiet.  Two days later, we’re doing well.

Entertaining Conversation

I finally got to sit down with the very busy head of the Foxfire program to discuss how things are going and upcoming events.  Here is the conversation we had:

Him: “I hear the Foxfires aren’t getting up at 6:30 to pray.”
Me: “They’re supposed to get up at 6:30 and pray?  Nobody told me.”
Him: “(laugh) Yes, sorry we need to talk more often.  They should get up at 6:30, pray together, excersise together, clean their rooms and themselves, and have breakfast before 8 AM devotion.
Me: “Interesting.  You want me to head this up?”
Him: “Yes.”

So, this morning at…7 AM…I got all the Foxies up, we went in the common room and prayed, then we stretched and jogged a mile (I’m terribly out of shape), and then came back to lie down because we couldn’t breathe until 8 AM devotion.  We leave tomorrow morning at 7 AM on our trips so we won’t have 7 AM work outs for two weeks, but when we get back…watch out for a really out of shape mzungu!

Week 30: Musings in the Number of Four

The Awkwardness of Newly Arrived Goods and Rachel

Rachel came bearing gifts (thanks Rachel) which I told her we do not have in Kenya.  However, when we went to the store while she was here this was not the case.  The first day, she found off brand Mac & Cheese and Shells called MagicTime from Florida (the Mac & Cheese is good, the Shells cheese is NOT Velveeta).  I looked at her and said, “that’s new.”  Later in the week, she found Skippy Peanut Butter from the States and once again I looked at her and said, “that’s new.”  This is when she started rolling her eyes at me.  Then as we were walking out, I decided to check the cereal aisle for Honey Bunches of Oats (HBO) because Rachel (other YAV) has been searching for them since we came to Kenya.  I have looked for HBO at every store I have gone to in the past seven months to no avail, but this day was different.  I went down the cereal aisle and there it was, two rows of HBO 15 boxes deep.  I got really excited and started calling the Gatundu girls to tell them I had found treasure.  They didn’t answer, so I checked my wallet and bought as many boxes of HBO as my wallet would allow.  Therefore, with Rachel comes food treasures…and doubt about what Kenya does and does not have.  I went to the store this week and the HBO is down to one row with five boxes.  My speculation is that a magical barge came full of goodies from the States recent, but now our treasures are selling out.

The First YAV Man Night

Friday night was Man Night.  It was glorious.  Shelvis, Henry, and I watched Obama on Leno, Michael Jackson music videos, and then Usher music videos, very manly!  We ordered lots of pizza and ate like Kings.

Michael Jackson can dance:

Kenya Pizza:
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Splash and YAV Dinner

Saturday morning, we went out to a big manly breakfast and then to the Nairobi water park (with some women), Splash.  They have two pretty good winding slides, the white slide and the black slide, and apparently no rules.  We were going down six people at a time which was a lot of fun.  I ended up climbing the stairs and going down the slide 12 times and after that was spent.  Shelvis and Henry went down 35 times!

That night the seven YAVs got together at Leslie’s for the first time in a month.  It was really nice for all of us to be together again and catch up.  The night ended in the way every YAV night ends with games: Concentration, Categories, and Big Booty.

Big Booty:
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Andy’s Pizza Party

Sunday, I went to church and felt my 12 slide trips.  I went home after church and took a nap.  That afternoon we went to a play about a Kenyan person with physical disabilities and what her life is like in Kenya.  It was very interesting to experience a play here and also to see how they presented people with physical disabilities.

Sunday night we went to Andy’s apartment for pizza.  Andy is a Lutheran missionary who works in Madagascar, but has had to leave since the problems there.  The conversation and Andy’s children, who are three and nine, was very entertaining.  Most of the night was spent getting shot with Spiderman’s web and sticking to the wall.  Yeah, it was as amazing as it sounds.

The Seven YAV’s:
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