Unasomo haditha yangu kwo Kenya

Howdy readers. That’s not a typical Kenyan greeting, but we’re not typical Kenyans. Actually, we are not Kenyan at all, as we are reminded on every street corner by a rousing chorus of “Muzungu! Muzungu! How are you-ni?” Translation: “White person! White person! Stereotypical American greeting with a Swahili flare- the ni at the end”. When you enter the home of a Kenyan, they typically say “Karibuni” indicating that you are welcome in that place. Just “welcome” is “Karibu”, which sounds a lot like “Caribou”. The same applies to other words. If you are talking about school as a thing, it’s “schule”. If you are talking about school as a place, it’s “schuleni”.

At least we are welcome.

In a way, I feel at home here anyway. This is my second time in Kenya after studying abroad here last fall semester. That time I was in Nairobi, the capital and largest city in Kenya. Kisumu, where we are now, comes in at third largest, wrapped snuggly around the corner of Lake Victoria that belongs to Kenya. It’s not all that different. Here it is still urban, but you can easily walk from one end of the busy section to the other. After that, it is mostly dirt roads with maduka (shops) along side.

I’m also lucky enough to be living about two minutes from KMET, the organization we are working with. The front of my house faces towards KMET, the back faces the Obunga slum. In my house, however, are some of the coolest people I’ve met in Kenya. My host-mom, Joy, is bubbly and bright. Her daughter, Wendy, is 12 and, while quiet, is really sweet. Ludi and I went to visit her at school today and got to sit in on one of her religion classes. The boy, Kim, is nicknamed Junior. He is 8 years old and is always hanging out with his friend Victor. Joy’s close friend, Rosett, also lives in the house. It is an impressive number of people for a four room house. There is one kitchen, one living room about the size of a first year dorm, and two bedrooms, one of which they gave me. The bathroom is a hole in ground and the shower is a bucket in a shed. Nothing is more reviving than a cold bucket shower in the morning. Try it sometime.

KMET itself is pretty fantastic. The people there are super friendly and interesting. I will most likely be working with their nutrition and food security programs, since that is what I sort of do at school anyway with the Campus Kitchen. I’m anxious to start, but things move pole pole (slowly) in Kenya. If you’re in a rush, you will be disappointed and probably late.

Karibu rafiki yangu kwa Heston 2012! 😀

#YOHO (for you Mauricio)

~Emily Miano (which is, surprisingly, a Kenyan last name. And here I was think I was Italian)

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