Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Founder's Day Celebration (Photos!)

So, please see previous blog post for actual text. This post contains only photos relating to the Founder's Day Celebration (and Scout Moot dry run).

The pictures here include pictures of me and other scouts at a child orphanage where we painted the walls, windows, gates, etc.

As well as pictures at Paxtu (Lord Baden-Powell's former home) and Lord BP's grave.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Founder's Day Celebration

“Be Prepared... the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.” ~Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Scouting Movement Worldwide

Every year, Scouts from around the globe gather around in Kenya to pay tribute to the founders of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guide movements (collectively, the Scouting movement).

This year, 2010, was no exception to that. In fact, this year, the Kenya Scouts Association is celebrating 100 years of Scouting in Kenya. In addition to the celebration of 100 years, Kenya is also going to be hosting the 13th World Scout Moot ( later this year.

With great anticipation of hosting scouts from around the world, this year's Founderee camp also included a dry-run of the Moot and the events for Rover Scouts (18-25). During the event, which I attended with 10 Rover Scouts from my school, I had the chance to experience several wonderful opportunities. Among the events that I took part in, a group of scouts and myself went to a child orphanage in Nyeri and repainted the walls, doors, and gates of the facility. On top of the service project, we also went to Paxtu - where Lord Baden Powell lived, and we also went to his final resting place.

After traveling to Lord Baden-Powell's grave, we travelled to a nearby coffee farm and learned about how Kenyan coffee is grown. From the farm, where the generous hosts provided us with water and sugar cane, we hiked up to the coffee factory where the coffee is sorted, processed, packaged, and shipped.

From here, we hiked up a small hill nearby up to 2200 meters above sea level where we could see the terrain for miles and miles around. We could see the Aberdare mountains in the distance, as well as Tumu-Tumu Hill and, had it not been for the clouds, we would have seen Mt. Kenya also.

At any rate, after the hiking and travelling, we ended up finishing the night with a camp fire (yes a giant camp fire) at which various scout units had songs, dramas, and we even had a pep talk from the former speaker of Kenya's parliament.

If that was not enough for one weekend, the following day, thousands of scouts (there was 4,000 camped plus 500 at our camp - and many others who travelled that day) showed up to celebrate the continuance of the Scouting Movement in Kenya and around the world. Among the guests were the Chief Scout Executives from Togo, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya, Kenya's current Vice President, one of Kenya's Ministers, as well as the thousands of Scouts themselves from various countries.

I continue to be grateful for the opportunities I've been able to have and I am very happy and proud to say that I am continuing my involvement in Scouting while I am a volunteer in Kenya.

[Related pictures coming soon]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lucky the Giraffe

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.” ~Pablo Picasso

So it's been a while since my last update with the Solar Eclipse pictures.
It seems to me that time continues to fly faster and faster as time passes.
This term (Jan-March) I am teaching several classes on top of what I've been teaching in the past:
I am teaching 5 computer applications classes (MS Office mostly), 2 Psychology classes (development and personality theories), and 1 HIV/AIDS class. The latter three classes are for Community Development courses (certificate and diploma; diploma here is the equivalent of an Associate's Degree in the US).

On top of the usual teaching, I continue to try to be an inspiration to the youth in my community to volunteer. As part of my assistance to the G-Youth Project, last month or so I had a chance to visit one of the villages on the outskirts of town and see what a 'bulla' is like (pronounced boura). On the visit, we met some of the local youth and explained about the aim of the project and the reason we were there (more info soon).

On the way back from the bulla I saw my first giraffe in Kenya. That's right, after about 13 or 14 months (not that it really matters how many...) I saw a giraffe for the first time. As we were driving back from the bulla towards town, we drove past the Giraffe Sanctuary (we drove past it on the way to the bulla also) and on the way back there was a giraffe just standing next to the road. It was a very neat sight. The following day, Rachel (the other PCV in town), and I were invited t0 join some of the G-Youth staff on a trip to see the giraffes the following morning (see picture on the left, more pics on Facebook).

Also during the last few months I've heard some statements I want to share with others:
When we went to the bulla, we asked the youth some questions and one of the questions asked was regarding illness. One youth told me he once had measles (I could be wrong on the illness itself, my memory is not the greatest) and that he was cured after a ceremony in which a sheep was slaughtered and he was wrapped in the sheep skin.

Another time, an mzee (elder) greeted me as I was walking and said "We used to pray together at this mosque. What happened? Why do you no longer pray with us?" My response "I have not prayed at this mosque before. Perhaps you are thinking of another person" Mzee: "Yes, you might be right". Then we proceeded to exchange work info and the mzee invited me to join them at this mosque (The main mosque in town) for prayers.

On several occasions, elders and locals have made comments about my skin color such as "You've been living here so long your skin color is becoming like ours!" or "How long have you been living here? Your skin color is becoming darker, one day you will look just like us."