Monday, 16 September 2013

Settling in

I'm really surprised how quickly I'm settling into the whole teaching-in-a-remote-part-of-Kenya thing.

You know the routine, right?

Alarm goes off. Climb out of the mosquito net. Check the floor and shoes for scorpions and other toxic treasures. Wash in a bowl. Wolf down some cereals. Proceed across the (always) windy, semi-desert for a little under half an hour, pass a few wandering Rendille warriors along the way and the occasional camel...and you're THERE. Primary school. Settle down in the small rectangular staff room and shake hands with anyone who's there already.

Here's the structure: eight forty-minute lessons a day for each class. Each teacher teaches only two or three subjects and they rotate around the different classes. Various tea/chai breaks. One daily mid-morning devotion for teachers, led by the school pastor. ALL the teachers have a school dinner (something very ricey or maizey) brought to them and they generally all eat it.

I'm really pleased with how the lessons are going: the children seem appreciative; there are very few discipline issues; and you pretty much teach from a textbook, so it's supremely straightforward. To the amusement of the children, I really struggle to work out what they are trying to tell me, as they speak English with a heavy Rendille accent. I keep myself amused by watching the small birds flutter around the classroom - they are in every lesson!!

One really cool thing is that I only teach about 5 lessons a day, so the rest of the time is good for chatting, marking and preparation. The staff are SUPER chilled out and are nearly all Kenyan and male. There's tons of banter. I only teach English and RE - LOTS of English and RE. I like it!!

Jesus also lived in a land of scorpions for his whole life. I love the way that he talks about scorpions in the book of Luke chapter 11:
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”



Sunday, 15 September 2013

Just photos.

One of my classes: 7 East.

The staff room 
Two of my colleagues.  
Front of the church. 
My room. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Arrival and survival

I've been in Kenya since last Wednesday and I think that my brain is wondering what on earth is going on. After a couple of days in the whirlwind that is Nairobi, I boarded a Cessna to the middle of the desert, from where I am now writing. 
About to board the Cessna from Nairobi to Korr.

                                  The bad news? I've seen far more creepy crawlies than I imagined was possible in such a short space of time. When I chose to call my blog "sunsets and scorpions" I was cool with seeing sunsets every night. NOT cool with seeing scorpions every night. People keep telling me: "They're very poisonous." Not fatal, just insanely painful. Comforting. 

Allow me to give you an example of one of my creepy evenings (I am definitely an English coward). I was walking back from the other short-term missionaries' house after dinner when the fun began: the torchlight revealed a menacing looking camel spider, which the guard and I stepped over; back in my compound there was a little black scorpion scuttling away in the shadows; but the icing on the cake has to be my attempt to then visit the toilet - I lifted the lid and a huge BAT flew out and over me! I ran out of the outdoor convenience, and laughed, "Whatever next?" Gathering myself, I stepped once more into the breach. My sonic friend returned, hanging upside down over my right shoulder and watched as I completed my evening task. There was a cockroach under the seat just to add to the menu. They tell me that: "You are never alone in Korr." True, so true.   

The good news? The Christians here are ace! I was wondering how it would be, trying to get on with a bunch of American missionaries - all I can say is: so far, so good. There have been lots of laughs and I'm looking forward to discussing the day with them over dinner each night. 

As well as this, the Rendille guys from the local church have been amazing. They have treated me as one of their own and are really looking out for me. After telling my bat story, and asking: "Is this normal?" two of the guys wanted to check out my accommodation and before I could say "nocturnal animal" they were sweeping my floor, carpets and inspecting the toilet. They promise to follow this up tomorrow. I'm sure that they have better things to do, but these men live out the words of Jesus: 

"By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13v35)

There's nothing quite like travelling to a totally different culture and seeing the love of Jesus working through the hands of a couple of Rendille men. They made a big difference to my day. It challenges me to live like Jesus would, to love others like he would, and to make a big difference to someone's day.