Fatten Up Those Dogs
Well I've arrived at my site and moved all my things into my new house, which I discovered yesterday is not the one with electricity, running water and a kitchen. When I pulled into my town with half of Nakumatt strapped to
the top of the van, my colleague told me that they had switched me - unannounced - to a different "house." Now instead of the two bedroom luxury home I was expecting to stay in for two years in the Posh Corps (thanks, Ron), I'm now living under the stairs in Harry Potter's closet. I suppose it could be worse - I still have electricity, but no running water. The most disappointing part has been not having a kitchen. Maybe it's just me, but food and beds just don't mix, and now I'm sleeping next to my rice cooker and a bag of onions. I think my supervisor thinks I'm a little crazy because I raised a fuss about not having a kitchen (raising a fuss makes Kenyans very uncomfortable, I've learned) but I have no problem sharing a pit
latrine with the head teacher and his family of 17. I'm staying at a girl's secondary school, the one with the AIDS (awareness) club, which is on a really beautiful compound. The school has a bunch of cows, a couple herds of goats, beautiful chickens (calendar quality a la Extraordinary Chickens), sheep, the giant bull that eats mzungus, and a large tree nursery. There is also a small rainforest with monkeys on the compound, as well as a river where the girls do their wash. A woman showed up at my door this morning with a liter of milk fresh from her cow (yes, Mom, I boiled it for 5 minutes) and I'm working on getting a couple chickens and some broccoli seeds (if I can find them). I already like one of the neighbor girls, a daughter of the head teacher, even though she is - yes - a kid, maybe about
9 years old. The best part is that her name is Dorcas. It took all the willpower I had not to fall out of my chair laughing when she told me that, and what's even funnier is that it's a common girl's name around here...maybe even from the Bible? Anyway, I saw the Chinese guys paving the road into town again when I arrived yesterday. And in Kenya, where there are Chinese people, there are also skinny, urine-infused local kids screaming, "China! China! China! China!" at me. Fortunately I bought a 70 liter water storage tank that is also good for stuffing bratty kids into. My supervisor and I stopped by the dispensary yesterday and talked to the head nurse, who I'd met before. We had the classic conversation that I'm expecting to have exactly 730 more times (once a day for two years) before I leave this
"You are from Korea?"
"I'm from America. California."
"California is in North America or South America?"
"North America. The United States."
"Okay, so you are from North America."
"Let me ask you, let me ask you. In China, do people eat dogs?"
"Um, I don't know."
The dispensary guy was so genuinely curious and completely devoid of malicious intention that I humored him for awhile, which was well worth the patience. I learned that all the townspeople here heard that Chinese people love to eat dogs, so when they found out that a Chinese company was sending men to pave the road here, all the locals started fattening up their best dogs in hopes that the workers would pay a small fortune for the local dogs.