The weekend began with a goal to get a chicken. While buying a chicken in Nairobi would have been logical, my new friends and I went on a little adventure to buy a chicken from Kangundo and to build a house for it to bring back to Nairobi.
My new friend Santiago from work also has a roommate named Santiago (referred to as “the hippie” due to his lack of hair washing…). Before moving to Nairobi, the hippie had worked in Kangundo, a small town outside of Nairobi, with blind and autistic children at a boarding school for the past year. The hippie had wanted to go to Kangundo to show us where he used to live and to get a chicken from one of his friends who lived on a farm with chickens, a cow, goats, a dog and two adorable puppies. The white one pictured below the family called Mzungu because that is the term for “white person” in Swahili.
Because I wasn’t very handy in building the chicken house, I enjoyed watching their son Max ride his little red bike and play with the bubbles we brought.
While most of the afternoon was spent working on the chicken house, unfortunately no one measured to see whether it would actually fit in the car once it was done…. Luckily, the hippie was able to ask the head teacher at his school to bring it to Nairobi later this week in his pick-up truck. Below are some pictures of the progress.
We wandered through the family’s property to stumble upon the rest of their relative’s houses. Unlike most Americans (or maybe just my family) who live all over the place, most Kenyans live with their extended families for their whole lives. For example, the family who was helping us build the chicken house lived right next door to the mom’s sister and her mom as well. It was nice to have the whole family together for a nice cup of afternoon chai.
Later that day, we walked up to the top of one of hills and watched the sunset behind a pile of clouds and an endless sky.
The school the hippie taught at was probably had about 200 boarding students and another 200 day students. What I found sad about this was that boarding school in a country like Kenya exists because a lot of times these children come from single mothers or families who can’t take care of them. The school year is split up into trimesters so that students are in school for 3 months and then they have a month to go “home” or somewhere where they may have family.
With this many mouths to feed, I was fascinated by the kitchen. The pots and pans and cooking machinery was bigger than anything I had ever seen before! For breakfast, the students got a bowl of porridge which is just ground maize, looks like wallpaper paste, and really doesn’t taste like anything at all. Sundays are special because they also get a slice of bread with their porridge; however, butter and jam for the bread is reserved just for staff so many of the kids crush up their bread into their porridge. Lunch everyday is githeri which is a corn and bean soupy mix. I have tried it a few times and while I don’t know if I would ever replace it with my daily pb&j, it’s at least got some flavor. Dinner is almost always a heaping full of rice with sukuma (sauteed spinach and onions) or cabbage. This usually comes with a few morsels of beef. It’s crazy to think that these students don’t have any ability to make any decisions in their lives, even when it comes to what they are served in the school cafeteria.
Going to Kangudo, reminded me much of my time when I was last here in Kenya with my family. From the splendor in the sunsets to the warmth of children smiling, I was again touched by the beauty of everyday life.