So last week was our first week of work at Kwacha Afrika, a community-based organization for local youth that provides education on HIV/AIDS, gender equality and youth skills building through theatre, workshop, discussion forums etc.  The Kenyan staff and volunteers are fabulous – everyone is super welcoming and uplifting to be around, and I know they appreciate us being here.  Our role at this point is still a little unclear, but there is lots of room for initiative!  Hours are quite long.  We usually start around 9:00 a.m. and theatre rehearsals go until 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.

We have a calendar with some structure that allows us to plan ahead during our downtime, and we are slowly getting more direction from Kwacha volunteers.  Of coure, I am the ultimate planner and list-maker, so the lack of structure is challenging for me (more so than the other Canadians!).  But I am trying hard to be flexible!

Successful highlights from last week include co-facilitating and two-day workshop on HIV/AIDS.  We led games, did condom demonstrations and dispelled common myths like HIV is transmitted through saliva – I was shocked at the number of youth who think you can get AIDS from kissing! 

Next week we’re co-facilitating a gender workshop and Girls Challenge Violence Day, so I’m really looking forward to that.

Last weekend we watched a girls’ football tournament.  Man, those girls play tough (mostly in barefeet).  The funniest part was when some cows randomly wondered into the field and started mooing loudly.  Animals roam randomly here, and sometime goats even force us off the walking path into the mud on our way to work!  I’m about ready to stone the rooster outside my bedroom window.

And guess what?  I’m in a Swahili play!  The play is about relationships and I play the Canadian wife of a Kenyan guy, much to the dismay of his racist father, who hates foreigners and thinks all white people look alike.  For the most part, I have one-line responses to the father’s crazy Swahili rants, but it’s still pretty cool.  The Kwacha volunteers said they picked me because I talk so much.  Can’t really argue with that!  The performance will take place at a theatre hall on June 9-10…I’m excited!

Right now it’s monsoon season.  This means it can be sunny one minute, then pooring buckets the next.  We have walked to work in the boiling sun and through raging rivers with torrential rains!  There are only two main streets (with streets names) in town, and the rest are all dirt/mud roads with no drainage systems.  I don’t really want to think about what’s in those rivers!

That’s it for now – once again the white girl has hogged the computer at the internet café!  Until the next time…

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