Jenni, Jason, Jason’s parents, and Chelsea left on Sunday to return to the United States. To celebrate, Chelsea and I and some of the other volunteers organized a Daraja Halloween (a week late). The girls would all dress up in their craziest costumes, then go around to different classrooms “trick-or-treating.” Each classroom had a small treat (candy, or a hairtie, or a pen), and a carnival game to play. We worried that the girls might not have anything to wear to dress up in, since they only seem to have two or three outfits besides their uniforms, but they proved us drastically wrong. They might have few possessions, but their creativity made up for it by far. One girl came dressed in a dress made of flour bags, and one somehow had a Boy Scout uniform. They stuffed their stomachs and hips, which lead to some hilarious catwalks during the costume competition. Many wore masks that they had made for art at one point, and others had tall hats made of paper or tights stuffed with other articles of clothing. They ran around playing “Pin the Tail on the Cow/Pin the Beak on the Platypus,” bowling with a soccer ball for empty Coca Cola bottles, fishing with a paperclip hook in one of the tubs used for washing dishes, and a game that resembled darts. Can you guess which of the four was my booth?
For the shed update: today is the last day for brickmaking, then we should have enough to finish the entire thing. The girls will come join during sports, again, and with their spirit I have no doubt that we can make the 150 more that we need. The walls are about as tall as me, and five courses of bricks short of being completed. I am going away this weekend, so I am hoping that Nicholas and Karaoke can finish the roofing by the time I get back. The November rains have certainly arrived, so now we actually need to finish the roof soon so we can work inside while it’s raining. Everyone is still a little bit skeptical of the glass bottle windows, but hopefully when the plaster is on they will make more sense. The red clay soil on campus that we are using to build is so deeply engrained in the skin on my hands and feet that every time I wash my hands, even first thing in the morning, the water runs muddy-red.
From Saturday to Wednesday, I am taking off with the other volunteers to Mombasa, a city on the coast of Kenya. It’s one of the biggest ports in East Africa. Located on the Indian Ocean, the culture there is dramatically different from that of central and northern Kenya; the Arab influence is highly apparent. I don’t think I have ever spent much time somewhere with Arab influence, so I’m excited to experience that. Of course, I cannot wait to swim in the Indian Ocean. Apparently, there is one place where you can swim with enormous, but completely harmless, whale sharks! As always, I will take lots of pictures to show when I get back. Sending lots of love!