OVPs: Khalil’s Siku ya Elimu kwa Jamii

Khalil coordinated a 3-day community health program called “Siku ya Elimu kwa Jamii” (Family Education Day). Each day we went to a different village and raised awareness on challenges facing the community such as: HIV/AIDS and VCT testing, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and Malaria. Of course I taught about malaria prevention, net care and repair and malaria treatment.

The event was a complete success. We reached 515 community members, 226 people were tested for HIV and over 250 nets were distributed.

Congrats Khalil on such an amazing event and thanks for letting me teach.

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To Dry Your Fish, Hang it on the Fence

My family has suffered a lost. Similar to American funeral traditions the family is coming together to support each other and celebrate the life that has passed on and food is very much apart of both the support and the celebration.

Today I bought four beautiful fish for our family dinner.

Water and oil don’t mix so before you fry the fish you have to dry out the water. I have seen this drying process happen in several ways but never hung on the fence.

This picture came out crazy against the ominous sky. I think it may be my favorite photo of my whole service.

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My Visit to America

I went to America in June a week or so after my 1 year anniversary of living in Kenya. It was a much needed homecation. I flew into DC and that moment of readjustment some volunteers talk about was not necessary, as soon as I saw my friends it was almost as if I had never left. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

I think I’ve said this before but my friends are AMAZING. My friends, the dynasty, threw an elaborate cocktail party in Rochee’s perfectly decorated apartment catered by a professional chef to celebrate my visit.  The menu? Crab deviled eggs. Lobster mac n cheese. Cornbread muffins with a collard green filling. Chicken and waffles. I could go on but that really doesn’t seem fair. I’m obsessed with upscale soul food and I love when someone is able to add a new take on a classic. Kudos to the chef. Double kudos to my friends.

The timing of my visit was perfect. I was able to meet up with my H.O.P.E. family to scout venues for our 3rd anniversary event. Missing H.O.P.E. events comes in 3rd place for cause of sadness right after missing family and friends. It was so nice to jump in and be a part of a major accomplishment for our organization.

Of course I went back and visited all my friends at my pre-PC job Banner & Witcoff. Oh man, it was like old times. I was so fortunate to have an amazing supervisor and so many friends during my 4 years at the firm…I mean they have to be awesome to make intellectual property fun.

DC was just the start of my journey, I spent the majority of my time at home in Oakland, CA. My mission was to see family and friends, help get my brother prepared to start community college, and eat all my favorite foods. I think I would claim victory for all three categories.

Jetlag hit me in CA. I was tired and so appreciative of everyone who understood and let me rest a bit, unfortunately that cost me a few visits with some family and friends.

I went skating with my cousin wearing matching outfits, and by skating I mean I put on skates and hung on the sideline while she grooved around the rink. She convinced a couple of really nice guys to skate slowly with me while I held on to their arms for dear life. I had a blast.

I returned to DC for my last hoorah before returning to Kenya. I did a lot in a relatively short period of time. Visiting home was refreshing and it made me excited about continuing my work. I took pride in telling people about the work I did in Kenya. I took pride in truly believing that I am doing something that I think will make the world a better place. And it was home that made me realize that Kenya has changed me for the better.

DC: Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party: warm greetings

DC: Cocktail Party, The Dynasty

DC Cocktail Party: The Dynasty

DC: Cocktail Party, crab deviled eggs  cornbread and collard green muffin

DC Cocktail Party: crab deviled eggs and cornbread and collard green muffin

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DC Cocktail Party: chicken and waffles

DC Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

CA: skate night

CA: skate night

CA: theme park

CA: theme park

My Christmas Wish for Everyone

DSC08993Peace in the midst of discomfort. Acceptance of where you are in location and in mind. A nice warm slice of something spiced with cinnamon. To love and be loved freely. A moment away from the luxurious things that have become the new meaning of Christmas. The view in someone else’s shoes without judgment. Silence followed by a burst of laughter.

Make the most of this season and the people you’re surrounded by or the (often overlooked) joy of solitude.

-Tee

Cooking Fish with Mama

I live on a family compound. Mama and Baba live in the main house. I have my own house and my 2 little brothers have their own house all within the family compound. My family has been incredibly accepting of me and I feel completely at home.

Mama is the best cook in Kenya. Although my biological family might not believe that I cook because I refuse to cook while I’m in CA my friends can attest that I do and I love it and if I live in this compound with the best cook in Kenya and not come book a significantly better cook then I did something wrong.

Whenever I get the chance I cook with Mama.

Here we are making fish and together we went through the whole process of removing the scales, removing the intestines, cleaning it and cooking it. It was delicious.

Here are photos of Me, Mama, and a neighbor that comes to help Mama do things around the house.

Note: Baba was our photographer 🙂

Bananas…A Small Token

My home stay family was AWESOME, they went above and beyond to make me feel included in the family. During the 10 weeks we got very close. Around week 3, on a Saturday morning I went outside to find my Baba digging a hole.

Baba: Nambaso

Me: Good morning Baba, What are you doing?

Baba: I want you to plant something for us to remember you by when you leave.

Me: Awww, Baba…ok

Dedication

I like being independent. I like being able to say that I do things for myself. I’m probably guilty of giving myself too much credit for what I have achieved so far.

It is very important that I start this journey confessing that I have done no part of this myself. Every step and every achievement is due to an extremely loving cohort: my family, friends, the dynasty, my coworkers, my group members, PC staff, and soon to be the people of Kenya.

For all you have given me I dedicate this first post to you, it is filled with my sincere gratitude and love.

I’m grateful to be embarking on this journey with you.

-T