Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Work Life

I am working at Makindu Children's Center from 8 to 5 six days per week. The center supports 400 orphans and vulnerable children. The center has a nursery school for 15 currently, the balance are im primary and secondary schools in the district. Lunch is prepared 6 days, if the child is within an hour walking distance they come for lunch everyday. This insures one healthy meal everyday except Sunday. The children are in the care of a guardian. Due mostly to HIV/AIDS the children have no parents. Their lunch meal varies little everyday but is very nutritious. Sukumawiki everyday (kale,spinach, tomato,onion) then either corn and beans or rice and beans or ugali and beans (ugali - maize flour the consistency of thick mashed potatoes) sometimes we have fruit grown here - bananas or mango.

My typical day . . . up by 5:30 or 6 a.m., heat water for a bucket bath (I have a single burner paraffin jiko for cooking) bathe, dress, make chair (tea with diluted milk) or coffee (a luxury) and cereal with a banana; sweep house and fron "patio" and dirt yard - NO grass here, few trees and bushes (none) then wash breakfast dishes, clean outhouse then walk 20 to 30 minutes to the center for work. I eat lunch at the center. I'm currently focusing on learning Kiswahili, Kikamba and planning income generating projects for the guardians including dairy goat raising for milk, cheese (new to them) and yogurt ( almost non existent here) also poultry raising for eggs and meat, cotton for seed oil - focus needs to be on projects not rain dependent. I start for home sometime after 5 p.m., sometimes I stop for a cup of chai and talk with the cafe staff or stop by the Sikh Temple to rest and study in their shady oasis a cool spot - it is VERY hot here in the p.m. I'm always home by dark - a PC rule!! I prepare dinner, sometimes it is just fruit as lunch is very filling and I usually don't eat until 1:30 or 2 p.m.; sometimes I'll buy veggies on the way home and fix rice with them. If I can find raw peanuts (another luxury) I eat a few of those for protein. Without refrigeration your fruit and vegetables only last a day or two so you have to buy everyday at the market but that is pretty easy - the stands are everywhere. I study and write then go to bed. On Sunday, I try to attend the early "youth" service at church at 8 a.m. then return to home to wash clothes, that usually takes a couple of hours - all by hand of course. Then I take a walk to get some exercise - no mountains or hills here to climb - flat and desert! I am starting a garbage clean up project this weekend in my neighborhood - our compound is very clean but outside the gate is a bad scene. I am going to pick up the plastic, trash, dead batteries, etc. that are all around - they are supposed to go into a pit and be burned - yes, everything!!!! You name it, it goes in the pit for burning. Goats eat the fruit and vegtable scraps, in fact they roam free and eat about everything with a hint of green. I hope the project is successful and send a good message. Some people are really good about trash others not so. The African people are very clean - they are ALWAYS cleaning either themselves or something so the trash thing puzzles me. More later . . . just in case I lose you again.

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