I burst out laughing, "Barita, did you hear her?"
"Alexia just asked, 'Am I your little angel?'"
"Yes, of course you are" Barita told Alexia.
"Sometimes" I told her, joking.
This morning I taught the oldest kindergartners in KG3 about Halloween. They must have misheard me when I told them how to say "trick-or-treat" because each kid who came to the door to get their lollipop said "chickie chickie" to me.
I stayed afterward for my usual weekly volunteering at the kindergarten. The class was told to write the numbers 1-5 on five dashes in their notebooks and I went around and marked their work. Instead of going to PE today, all of the kindergartners met in KG2 to practice songs for the upcoming graduation and Christmas pageant. I sat on the side and clapped and danced along, not knowing any of the words to the Kiswahili songs.
On the way back from buying food for that afternoon's food drop, I noticed the post office had "University of Nairobi" painted along the top of the building's facade.
"Why does it say 'University of Nairobi' on the post office?"
"The university has a campus there. They rent classes in the office."
All I could think was how random it would be if Northeastern started offering classes in the post office on Mass Ave.
I went back to SOS to pick Alexia up and when I got to the classroom the kids started shouting "Gwen! Gwen!"
I laughed, "Hi! Did you have a good day?" After saying yes they continued to repeat my name.
Alexia's response? "They're playing with your head." Where does she come up with this stuff?
Later that night in reference to the Halloween photos I had shown her class, Alexia said, "Those pictures which you showed us, you looked like a grandmother." I was dressed as a witch.
This afternoon was our second food drop for the elderly women who work at the tree nursery in town. I expected them to be sitting at the bottom of the hill amid the trees when we arrived, but they weren't there. Turns out they'd relocated further down the road where it was warmer and drier. As soon as I got out of the car I was ambushed and hugged by the majority of the women.
And then the dancing started. I am one of the most uncoordinated people you'll ever meet, so their dance, which involved stepping forward with one foot while swinging both arms forward, far surpassed my skill level. One of the women realized how awkward I looked and decided the best cure was to push me in the center of the ring to dance on my own.
They brought over stools draped with cloth doilies for us. I felt like I was sitting on a throne and really would have preferred sitting on the grass with the other women.
Nothing here seems to start without a cup of tea and a prayer and today was no exception. Scattered behind the women were ten or so brightly colored thermoses. They brought over a bucket full of teacups and poured Dorcas and I cups of steaming hot milk. I was expecting the usual masala tea, but they had packets of instant coffee for us instead. Next came a platter of arrowroot, quite possibly one of the strangest foods I've ever eaten and I've tried some weird stuff (warthog, crocodile, and termites to name a few). The arrowroot is cut into chunks and boiled. It's like chewing on a block of starch. I finished the smallest piece on the tray, the size of my fist, and I was uncomfortably full. They brought the tray back over, piled with another six or seven pieces.
"They want us to finish" said Dorcas.
"Wait what?" I'd eaten one to be polite, but there was no way I was going to finish that tray. Besides, weren't we there to give them food.
She laughed and told them in Kiswahili that we couldn't finish it and they should pass it around to the other women. Still they insisted. Dorcas, realizing they weren't going to give up, asked them to wrap up the arrowroot in a bag for us. And then came a second round of coffee.
"Hapana hapana. Asante sana!" I said, meaning "No no. Thank you very much!" That's about all I knew how to say in Kiswahili in this situation.
Dorcas also refused a second cup. A couple of minutes later the leader of the group poured herself more while muttering in Kiswahili to Dorcas that it was the cup she had "refused to take."