Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Week, In Point Form.

-My volunteer social work placement at Lea Toto is going well. I asked my boss to give me some criticism so I could make more constructive use of my time, and she said be flexible--so now not only do I do the social work stuff, but also pharmacy stuff too and trips to town/wherever to get quotes for things clients need, etc.

-That also being said, the social worker I shadow thinks I do already make myself flexible, which is nice to hear. I walked all the way to Lea Toto to Soweto Primary (by myself!). It took a while. Then when I got there they offered me a job teaching. Ha! And also got to do some other social worker stuff on my own, which was great.

-I took a picture of myself intending to post it so that my family and friends could see a recent photo of me. Then I decided It looked ridiculous, since I was making the 'I don't know what face to make' face in it. I'll try harder this week...

-After typing this whole post I realized I wouldn't be that motivated. Here is what I look like after 3 months in Kenya, flaws and all. I decided to allow myself to black and white this (I always think it looks nicer...even if I am making this face.)

-I got my hair cut. I realized that the heat here + hair half way down my back was just not ok anymore. It is shoulder length now and is subsequently healthier and easier to manage. (The hairdresser triple checked to make sure I was sure I wanted it done--haha.)

-In relation to the last point, I got my hair cut by a woman from Texas in this suburb of Nairobi known for having a large expatriate was both wonderful and strange to be around people of my culture. Pro: Similar senses of humour, being able to connect with someone from home. Nice smelling products on my hair. Cons: Culture shock. Seeing people pay huge amounts for temporary things like nail painting and having their hair curled. Myself paying foreigner prices for foreigner services. (Since so many foreigners here make a hefty paycheque, you can't exactly find a cheap haircut here.) But it had to be done.

-I lost my hearing in my right ear. Panicked a little at first, but then I just went to the clinic, and they referred me the hospital to see some sort of ear specialist. Now, after a couple days of drops, I am still without a functioning right ear.

-Ran out of water today. Finally cracked and am paying someone to do my laundry so that I don't become a dirty person this week. I solved my previous dilemma of what to pay this person by paying more than what she might normally get from others, for less laundry. I worked it out and it will be a pretty solid wage for the time it will take, etc. This had been weighing heavily on my mind.

-Have been trying to broaden my horizons and learn more about the particular group of people I work with. Did you know that HIV isn't contracted via kissing and is not airborne? Also, it dies outside of its host body rather quickly--so sharing a waterbottle or shaking hands really won't be that harmful in regards to HIV transmission. It should also be noted that you do not get sick or die specifically because of the HIV virus infection--the virus attacks your immune system, so you die of things like pneumonia, TB, or other opportunistic infections because your body is lacking the antibodies to fight them off. That being said, if you properly adhere to anti-retrovirals (the drugs you take for HIV) you can live a long and happy life provided you have proper nutrition and care. HIV does not have to be the death sentence that society has made it out to be.

-An HIV test can give you results in under 15 minutes and doesn't have to require blood being drawn, just the prick of a finger. Its easy, and looks almost similar to a pregnancy test strip. I've heard a place in the West End of Vancouver can do this for you, and there is likely a place in Victoria that offers the same services. Check out Island Sexual Health.

-Made my best investment yet in a plug in that repels mosquitoes. I have yet to be bitten this week.

-I really am loving Kenya and feel at home here, and my future goals are divided. Do I want to live in Vancouver, working in the Downtown East Side, or do I want to live in Nairobi, working for an NGO or at a place like the UN? Hmm.

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