Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mom in Mombasa

This past week and a half has been full of new experiences for me.  Last week I got my first batch of new volunteers since becoming the coordinator for Olives, so it’s been all about getting people settled into their new lives as teachers.  It’s been extra special this time, because they aren’t just any batch of volunteers.  My mom and her friend have had the privilege of being a part of my inaugural class.

When I first started talking about coming to volunteer in Africa, my mom was interested in possibly coming out as well.  She was bummed that she couldn't make a visit work during my first time around, so when I decided to come back, she decided to make a trip as well.  She signed up to volunteer for 2 weeks on my project here in Mombasa.  She’s been a huge help at school, filling in and doing loads of odds and ends.  I think it’s been interesting for her to see my world in action and put faces to some of the names I’ve mentioned. 

I’ve been enjoying the chance to show her a bit of my life here in Mombasa.  I’m glad for her to see it, though I’m not sure if seeing it in person will make her feel better or worse about my living here.   It’s kind of a crazy place, commonly lacking in any Western notions of safety.  I think she’s enjoying her experience but I’m not sure she would want to stay for months.  Either way, I’m proud of her for coming out to see what I do and help out the kids.  Don’t know too many moms willing to do that. 

Aside from just figuring out the new bits of my job and showing my mom around, things for me are good.  I have so much to do before I leave, I can’t even believe it, so it’s a bit busy, but I’m finding balance between working and enjoying my last few months in Kenya.  I realized this weekend that four months from last Sunday I will be back in Nebraska eating turkey.  Well, hopefully, assuming all goes to plan.  I‘m not really counting down yet, but I am looking forward to spending the holidays with everyone at home.  I wish I could just bring my work back to Nebraska and have the best of both worlds.  Such is life, you can never have everything.  At least for this month I get to have a piece of home here with me.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Back in Action

I’ve been back in Mombasa for just over a week now and it feels good to be back to work.  Each day has flown by but I’m also having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it hasn’t even been two weeks yet.  Haven’t I just always been here?  It seems so natural, I’ve just picked up where I left off. 

There have been quite a few changes since I was here last.  For one thing, we’ve been through quite a lot of volunteers in the past 2 months and I’ve had a lot of new faces to get to know.  At school Michele has been very proactive in setting up programs to build on the reading and English levels of all the kids.  We now have a more focused reading time each day as well as daily phonics lessons with standards 1 and 2.  I’m really proud of all the work everyone’s been doing and I think, after this past week of trial by fire, I finally have a handle on all the new things going on.

As if that wasn’t enough to get used to, I’m now officially a volunteer staff member, so I’ve also been busy learning about what goes on behind the scenes and getting used to the fact that I’m in charge.  I think that last bit has been the trickiest.  It’s kind of strange not having to go through a superior when it comes to things at Olives.  It’s also rather convenient.  I can now officially do what I was essentially already doing before, without having to ask permission.

That’s pretty much it for me.  I’m missing everyone at home already, but I know the next few months will fly and I’ll be home before I know it.