Sunday, February 10, 2013

Back to Kindergarten

This past Saturday I did something I have gotten quite used to the past few months – I packed my bags and moved on. I have lost count any times I have packed and unpacked since I moved out of my place in Edmonton in June. Sometimes it was for a quick trip, other times it was for longer like when I was  living on the road for two months. This time, I sent some of my stuff ahead to Tenwek – I will be reunited with it in May. The remaining two bags and I moved to Tigoni. Tigoni is my home for the next few months as I learn Swahili. I am staying in a house that is combined with the language school – my bedroom is directly above my classroom – so I have no excuse to be late in the morning, although my fellow students have sometimes arrived at school while I am still finishing breakfast.

I am enjoying my classes and I often feel like I am in Kindergarten, although I am missing out on centers. In the first few days my class (which is only four people) spent time learning the alphabet and the sounds of each letter – “i”  sounds like “ee ” so a Kenyan would spell tea - ti. The “e” is a great sound for a Canadian to make as it is the “eh” we are so well known for. So I have learned the alphabet and yesterday my homework was to memorize how to count to 10. Today we learned a counting song, just like kindergarten.  As language learning is difficult, especially at first when you are trying to turn that part of your brain on, I only have classes in the morning the first week or two. I have spent  the afternoons studying  and occasionally taking a nap – just like kindergarten.

A highlight of everyone’s kindergarten experience is a field trip and Wednesday that was done. We piled in a few cars, some of the students drove and we had no seat-belts – which would have never happened in kindergarten. We went a few kilometers down the road to a tea farm. Here we received an introduction to the tea industry from a third generation tea farmer. Her grandfather was one of the first to start growing tea in Kenya. It was interesting to hear the history, this was followed by a walk through the woods and an amazing four course lunch.
A silvery winged horn bill (I think that's what it was called)

Beautiful Tea Fields

So that has been my week, I pray I will progress out of kindergarten and learn Swahili  quickly – so I better end here and study my flashcards.

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