Mzungu!

No visitors last night, neither at my dor nor down my chimney. Unless you cound the small ants who crawled over my copy of The Guardian Weekly while I completed one clue from the cryptic crossword (of which, alone, I feel more proud than of completing all bar two words in the quick one).

This morning was assembly at 7.45 again. This time I was not introduced to the girls, that being done already on monday. There are two assemblies per week. When this one was over, Sister P. told me she didn’t expect me to be attending them yet, while I’m still adjusting to Kenyan time.

I left for Tala to collect my photographs and to try again to open a bank account. The VSO office had lead me to believe it might be tricky but they did it quite simply and told me that my opening cheque would be cleared from next saturday. I have applied for an ATM card too. It will cost me KES 100 to withdraw cash over the counter in Tala and KES 20 from an ATM. There are no ATMs in Tala but there are in Nairobi, which is just as well as they will charge me KES 600 to get my cash over the counter in any branch other than the Tala one. VSO recommended Barclays bank but Tala is small and ther is only KCB: the Kenya Commercial Bank.

The lady in the photo studio was very friendly today. Repeat visits are a good thing it seems. The man in the bank also, he remembred my name ( “Charles”, lots of people here find that much easier to pronounce and remember than Mark, officials see my passport or other documentation with my full name in and choose that name to call me by.).

After the bank I went to the market, which is close by. In fact I went into a few hardware shops and
supermarkets. I bought some Kale — sliced by the market stallholder while she talked to me in excelent English about how her daughter is sponsored by an Australian via Christian Aid — and a hand-madewood and-old-tyres squee-jee to clean the water out of my shower with. The kale cost KES 5 for a bunch, and the mop, 150. Then I walked back — I didnt want to spend too long in the market as I didnt feel totally safe with my passport and volunteer ID card, even though they were in side my trousers in the money belt thing I bought at Heathrow.

On the way back to college I passed the Mother Teresa Nursary School where the children — all bedecked in little blue uniforms — lined up by the road and chanted “Mu-zung-gu-mu-zung-gu…” until I waved at them. Made me smile!

[to all those to whom it applies, have a great time at LLX]

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