Friday, October 16, 2009

Hello from Kenya

I don’t even know where to start. Traveling approximately 10,000 miles alone was pretty terrifying. Everything went smoothly, thank God, but there were many times when I would start thinking “I must be insane.” I can easily say this is the best experience of my life, though, and I have only been here two weeks. I have made friends with some amazing people, and it will be very, very hard to leave them.

Everyone around here gets excited when they see a “musungu,” which is the Kikamba word for “white person.” I would have to say that trying to learn Kikamba and understand the accents of the people here has probably been the hardest part of this experience. But I’m starting to adjust and I know a few useful words that help me communicate with the younger girls at Suvia. Kamba is the name of the tribe of people in the area, and I was told that the Kamba tribe is one of the biggest. They speak Kikamba, and those who have gone to school speak English. Swahili is the national language. Since each tribe (there are 42 in Kenya) speaks it’s own mother tongue, everyone learns Swahili so they can communicate with each other.

The 26 girls at Suvia Children’s Home love to sing and dance. They are between the ages of 3 and 13. They are total orphans (both parents are gone). When I first arrived at Suvia, there were only 25 girls. The 26th, and also the oldest one, only arrived on October 12. It had been difficult remembering all of their names because their names are so different from what I’m used to. Which is frustrating because I’m usually very good at remembering names. There names are:
Kavula Kilonzi, Mutheu Mweu, Mueni Kanini, Muthoki Kioko, Nduku Katitu, Kaluki Mutinda, Katunge Nyelele, Mercy Mutio, Mercy Kanini, Mumo Ester, Nduku Kioko, Muthina Mumbua, Nthenya Munyao, Mercy Mukii, Syombua Munyao, Mwanza Mutheu, Mbula Mutua, Mwende Nduku, Mwende Ndumbuki, Ester Mutuku, Ester Dunge, Mutheu Muthina, Mutheu Kinyingi, Muthamba Muinde, Musyenya Mutinda, and Purity Katungwa
Can you blame me for not remembering all of those? I can’t say half of them the right way.

Here are some of he Kikamba words I have learned:
Nenga – give me
Mwaitu – mother
Eka – stop
Uka – come

Hopefully I will be able to write more later...



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