Jan/Feb 2012 – First Report by Hannah Ziegler

Hannah Ziegler

Now I’ve been in Kenya for nearly a month – time passes so quickly! – and I still feel as if it was only last week that I’d been shaking with the cold on Munich airport.

I’ve already settled in very well, having been straightaway welcomed most cordially! The kids are all real cute, and fascinated by the board-games I brought along. Above all “Memory” has taken their fancy – and that goes for every age-group. I believe that, never in my whole life, have I played so much Memory as in the last few weeks.

What is more, they’re all (although – or perhaps just because – there have been so many volunteers in the home before me) very interested in German culture – how we live, what school is like or what animals there are (kangaroos?). but the decisive question is why I eat no meat – incomprehensible to all.

The great interest in Germany is certainly also due to the fact that Mathew, the eldest son of the fosterparents, spent 15 months as an au-pair and as a volunteer in Germany and returned only about a week ago – what a joyous reunion! Everyone had been excited for days in advance: the whole centre was tidied and cleaned in every nook and cranny and, of course, a “welcome home” sign was designed. On the very day, we all eagerly awaited the moment when he finally arrived. Two girls even requested permission from their school’s headmaster to go home during the lunch-break in order to meet their brother…

I’ll certainly never forget the Sunday when a few people of the parish came with food and clothes and then, as usual, stayed for lunch, helped in sorting rice and sweet-corn and afterwards played traditional games with the children. One of the men was wearing a T-shirt with the Bavarian flag and the word “Oberbayern” written on it – but he didn’t know that this is a German region. When I told him that this is where I come from everyone was electrified and I had to tell them all about Germany.

What I found rather bizarre, however, was the sight, one morning, of a man sorting through an enormous heap of clothes that was lying outside. I’m well aware, of course, that bartering (e.g. work in return for food and clothes for the family) is the order of the day, but I was still somewhat surprised: on this occasion, the women in charge had picked out the clothes that could still be used and swapped the rest for a few buckets, a thermos-flask and a few glasses.

For two weeks now, the water capacity has been extremely limited – in other words, there is no more water flowing from the tank (cause unknown). That’s why, several times a day, a donkey-drawn cart drops in with barrels of water – unimaginable in Germany but here a daily necessity.
Last Sunday I baked “cookies” with the kids – but under aggravating circumstances: the measuring-cup I had brought along had disappeared without a trace and the only working oven was a microwave with a baking function. On the whole, however, the baking action was a complete success: great fun for all and the biscuits really turned out rather well. And to go with it, there was the rest of the elderflower squash we had made the week before – delicious!

I am particularly happy to announce that Veronica, one of the girls that have just complete the primary school (after grade 8), has just received confirmation of a full scholarship for the high-school. Congratulations!

Best wishes from sunny and warm Kenya!

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