Sometimes I wake up in the morning, still groggy and forget I am in Africa. It’s already been 3 months. A short 3 months. And 1 month in Bondo. Now it’s October, and my momentary forgetfulness is replaced by homesickness. Now I am getting homesick.
My favorite month of my favorite season, fall. I haven’t had many moments of being homesick, but I may have found my weakness in October. A time of the baseball series end, changing leaves, my favorite seasonal foods, festivals, snuggly weather, and cozy clothes.
In Africa the summer comes when I yearn for fall, baseball games are watched in the early mornings when people sleep, my favorite foods can’t be found, and it’s too hot to snuggle or be considered cozy. Nothing about this October is familiar or comfortable. And I miss mine terribly. Only one more of these October’s after this one. My small eases of comfort come from care packages containing some fall favorites, like candy corn.
Don’t misunderstand my pining of home for me not wanting to be here. The opposite! I am so happy here. I feel with every day more comfortable, and at ease. I am beginning to create my new sense of self within this environment and it feels right. Like another layer within me, nestled below the surface as a second skin. This chameleon of self that is me is beginning to blend into my new environment. But it can’t replace home, and my strongest memories of home, my best memories occurred during the fall, during my normal October. These October’s are worlds apart but the same. Much like the person I came here as, and the person that will leave. At the root of it all, always the same. I will return to my October in 2015.
Amid the sentimental lust, new progressions have been made over the month! A month two recap: I finally got some furniture made, my kitchen hutch, and repurposed the bookshelf. My bed frame should be done within the week. Plans to build my own choo are in the works, and I am contemplating the building of a small table and chairs…maybe a loveseat for some sitting area in the house. More hanging shelves have been put up and they are so functional and easy!
I have refined a budget plans that gives me room to save, and indulge on culinary delights to satisfy the chef&foodie in me. I still need to figure out either how to make cheese or stop craving it! My typical week of food starts on Monday with most of my market shopping, and throughout the week I stock up on continuous staples, like avocados, tomatoes, and bananas. I discovered a multi-grain flour that consists of maize, millet, sorghum, and whole wheat. Hopefully it can be used as my new flour staple to keep my gluten intake low. Focused on becoming the healthiest & fittest of my life during my time here!!! I’m mostly eating vegetarian, as meat is much too expensive( and risky to get here). I am fine with that though, lots of high protein plant choices for my liking. My weekly food budget is 1800 ksh. If I spend less it goes to savings, which is what generally happens.
A typical shopping day(ksh)&staples: avocado 20, tomato 30, cabbage&greens 20 ea, onions 30, bananas 30, carrots 40, green peppers 20, pili pill 5, garlic 25, green grams 30, beans 30, eggs 130, flour 160, brown rice 185, apples 120
The fresh produce lasts up to a week, the dry goods last about a month. Then of course the pantry staples like spices, oil(I buy simsim oil from my NGO which is a tad pricier, but much healthier compared to veggie & supports the local farmers), honey, pb, etc..I am lucky to be close to Kisumu for anything odd I may be looking for, and for the most part Bondo has a good selection of goods in the supermarkets and during market days.
As for work..I started up a Young Farmers group. We have planted sunflower, pumpkin, two traditional greens, and the herb daniya. So far they are sprouting up well thanks to the rains, and the kids are very good about assigning someone to check on the plants during the week to assure they are watered. I have also helped press simsim oil, which is very hard, created the new label for the honey, met with more ministries for my CNA, and one particularly helpful gentleman whom is responsible for Nyakasumbi primary school. He is going to show me the orphanage next weekend. Busy, busy. And lots of projects for the future!
The only other news. A new puppy has been born on the compound. His mom is Wendy, and he is her first, and only pup for now. I named him Dodger because he was born during the playoff game the Dodgers were playing (go boys in blue!!) So he is now a Dodger dog. Get it? *insert aha moment and pause for laughter*
Although I cannot be physically present, I have been dutifully watching every game postseason for the Dodgers! Happy to report they have made to the NLCS. One step closer to the World Series. I’ll keep following my team wherever I may be in the world.
That is all for my monthly update, until month 4!
27 months of PC..24 to go..