Back To School

Just reporting in from a whacky and wonderful weekend in Nairobi celebrating the birthdays of four VSOs in May.

On Thureday the door and windows in the dining hall were open. I know the air in the computer room gets stale over night. The dining hall has stood unopened like a bottle of milk, way past it sell-by-date. In the morning I met the deputy principal for the first time since last term, and some of the secretarial teachers. At lunch time, I saw a student; by tea-time I’d seen three or four. Like the birds in the Hitchcock film, or bycicles at the end of Market Street in San Francisco on the last friday in a month, you don’t see them arrive but when you look round, there are more of the there than you remember there being before.

On Friday we were visited by representatives of the African Virtual University (AVU). Looks like we’re going to be their first outreach centre. Watch this space.

In the afternoon I was spirited away to Nairobi in the AVU van. Spent the afternoon browsing books on education, dyslexia and (believe it or not) the AVU! Then met Shauna and Shelley for beer and gossip. Stayed at Shelley’s flat; cooked pasta and veggies and sat in the dark as the power was off, and talked until late.

Saturday was the birthday day. Had a kinda plan to use Shelley’s (electric) overn to bake a cake. Shelley went out to a lunch engagement; I was going to Nakumatt (huge supermarket) for the ingredients but not until after I’d taken advantage of the hot water in the flat, and the bath tub! Oh what luxury! To lie, to soak! My first (tub) bath in Kenya. As I lie there, listening to the soundtrack from The Commitments, I suddently became aware of a bottle of shaving foam and a disposable razor (now somewhat blunt) by the side of the bath! :doze:

Went to the supermarket but stopped off for a beer on the way in a bar we might use for the birthday do. Also went to another shopping arcade, read more about dyslexia in the bookshop there, and had just decided not to have lunch in the Java Cofee House there when I was hailed by Sasha: another VSO volunteer, who was taking her lunch in the cafe next door. So I had lunch there! To cut a long story short this place turns out to be run by Sasha’s friend who arranged to put on a great Birthday-party evening for us all, including a cake, so I could just take it easy and eat and talk with Sasha and Will (who joined us there too) and forget about baking.

The evening party was great. The food excelent and the company just wonderful! When we volunteers get together, we laugh beyond the call of duty.

This morning started slow: how many VSOs can you get in one hotel bed? Can you believe these are adults? Then I took a comfortable (supprisingly large) matatu to Tala in time for lunch with the men from USAID’s Leland project, who had come to visit th college.

Meeting the AVU and USAID people has made me very optimistic about my placement. Meeting up with the VOLS (there were about 14 of us in the restaurant laughing a lot!) has made me very happy about being out here, despite the sometimes scary news I get to hear from them. Meeting our students (a small possey just came in and asked if they could “browse for just one minute”) has reminded me of my optimism for teaching here. And so beginneth a new term here at Holy Rosary College.