Becoming African...

Emma_dunwoody Posted by Emma Dunwoody on Fri, 27 May 2011 | 5 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook


Over the past week I’ve been thinking about just how quickly we can adapt to change and new circumstances.We’ve now been away for just one month, but it feels like I could have been living in Nairobi for years! When we first arrived there were so many things that were surprising or confusing, now I wouldn’t look twice at those things. One day Kirsten and I even found ourselves complaining that we’d picked a matatu that was driving too slowly!

It has also become easy to block out the many stares we get wherever we go. Last week I was walking along by myself at the cathedral and I noticed a woman I didn’t know just standing staring at me. At first I thought there must be something wrong with my hair or my clothes and it was quite a while before I remembered that it was just because I’m a white girl. It’s become easy to forget that we stand out!

We’ve been having a great time so far and have made great friends around the cathedral. Our time in Kayole has mainly been spent in the primary school which we love. On Monday we took an art lesson with Class 5 (anyone who knows my artistic skills will know that I didn’t do a lot!) and then after lunch we helped Class 4 with their reading. On Wednesday we got the opportunity to join in with their games time. It was a lot of fun and I caused a lot of amusement with the girls around me when I kept getting my mouth and nose mixed up during ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’. It would have been easier if they hadn’t been singing it to the tune of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’!

We’ve been enjoying our free time too. Two weeks ago we spent Saturday getting our hair done in nearby Kiambu. I got mine braided, it took six and a half hours and used seven packets of extensions! But it has definitely been worth it so far. On Sundays we enjoy going to the youth service at All Saints. It is very lively and afterwards we usually spend a long time talking to other young people. Last Saturday we visited Aboertum Park which we really enjoyed. It is a very pretty forest park, very different from the busy city centre.

We’ve been doing our best to pick up other Kenyan skills. Last night Louise taught me how to make chapatis. Although I struggled to make them circular chapatis they definietly passed the taste test! Afterwards I was able to say “Louise ni mwalimu wangu” which means “Louise is my teacher”. We’re doing our best to pick up Swahili and to learn some new words every day. It’s proving difficult however and so far in conversations the best we can do is pick out a few words here and there! We have been given new names though. I now answer to Wanjiku, shortened to Shiku, or Akinyi.

We are really looking forward to the rest of our time here as we love All Saints Cathedral and all the people we have met. I’ve been really blessed in meeting so many brothers and sisters in Christ and have really been benefiting from spending time with them. I just hope time starts passing more slowly!


raymond blair and the blairs said Wed, 01 Jun 2011 05:06PM
Hello Emma Little Iona very pleased to see your photo even though she doesnt understand the blog. All glad to learn how well you are adapting! Trust you continue to know the Lord's blessing during the remainder of your time in Nairobi
Antony said Thu, 02 Jun 2011 08:26AM
It has been so good to have both of you coming over to kayole and be part of the community. you have done a lot and integrated well with us. the Kids have been happy and the madaraka day stay together was so much good. thank you for becoming Kenyan.
Bantu said Wed, 08 Jun 2011 06:19PM
I love this. And I like how you are so far getting long so well. Am so proud of you two. Probably you now need to join the praise and worship team. :) Too late though. You continue being a blessing to us. I thank God for you. xx
Sarah McCollum said Thu, 16 Jun 2011 09:43AM
Hey Emma I am so glad that you are enjoying yourself!!! Hopefully you don't enjoy it so much that you don't want to come home.Can't believe you sat for that long just to get your hair done I wouldn't have had the patience, you know me. Not long now until you get to see your mum, dad and Alison, bet your excited to see faces from home even though you are enjoying yourself.Well your last few weeks will just fly in so enjoy it and then back to Northern Ireland and Uni!!!!! Miss you!!!!!!
Sandra Brown said Tue, 05 Jul 2011 09:01AM
Hi there Emma, Greetings to you and all your team! Got myself a new laptop and can now communicate with (relative) ease! Been reading all your blogs in one foul swoop this am! School's out and even the sun came out - well, for 2 days anyway.Back to grey day today. Even so, managing to keep Richard going as head gardener. He thinks his exams went ok(except for German). We await "developments" in August. Won't be long now till you see mum & dad in Kajiado. Wonder if they'll recognise you!! This is my first ever blog and I think maybe they're not meant to be an essay, so I'll say cheerio and God bless Emma. Take care of your wee self and keep up the good work. Lots of love. xxx

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