Time just seems to fly. Its been like 2 weeks now since I updated my blog. Crazy. Ok so here goes, last time it took me like 2 hours to write everything so I think its just gonna be a melting pot from here on out as doing a run down of every day is tedious.
Ok so wow back to the 1st of Feb until the 13th (today)
Around the first of Feb I had a bit of an issue with the Malaria preventative mum and I take called Doxycycline. I took it before bed without water and it got stuck in my throat. It basically burned into the wall of my throat and made eating and drinking a bit of a mission for the next few days after, that was not pleasant. Learnt my lesson and now Im always taking it with water, my throat is good now thankfully. The heat has been really high over the past couple of weeks, mum and I both reckon it has risen significantly since we first arrived. Every day it is at least 36 degrees celcius in the shade up to as high as 40, it is signficantly hotter in the sun. Overnight it is usually around 28-31 degrees so not too cool either. Sheets basically get relegated to the end of the bed or floor. Mangoes have also finally become available which is great because I love them and they are cheap. In the rainy season there are too many to eat apparently so I think I might make mango juice as you can buy blenders here. On the 2nd mum and I went to the Lasu refugee camp which is South of Yei and very close to the border with one of the Congos, I think the one that used to be Zaire. So the camp is full of refugees from the nearby Congo who have fled the brutal LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). There are a several thousand people living here with limited medical resources and two schools (at least). We visited both these schools and in one joined in on a mathematics lesson, fortunately I could remember a bit of french I learned when I was younger, as the schools teach in French. We were the subject of much interest among the kids. As we were waiting to leave it started bucketing down with rain and also hail, the ground became white very quickly, something I never expected to see in Africa. Some of you mayh have read about this in our newsletter if you get it but rain is seen as a blessing and because we were there it was taken as we are a blessing which is quite cool. After leaving Lasu about 10 minutes down the road the ground was dusty and dry as ever.
Something else that has started up since I last did a blog entry is the football tournament I set up for the local kids. So far we have had many games and goals with much talent on display. My team won their first game by default but lost a friendly they played as a replacement. The tournament is entering the second round of matches and is running in a champions league format with only 16 teams rather than 32 and is scheduled to finish on the 3rd of March. On the subject of football I am playing today for the Across staff who are playing against the students from the Yei Teacher Training College at the nearby pitch (by nearby I mean literally outside the compound). This pitch is technically the best in the whole county and the national team have even trained there. However just about any pitch in the Wellington region is better. So that may tell you something about the grounds here. Slide tackles are almost non-existant unless you want to leave your skin on the ground, as I found out haha. I selected my team not long before our first match and have been running trainings for them early in the mornings before it is too hot.
Both this saturday just passed and the one previous to that I ran a bible study for the "youth" at the Moru church that Emmanuel goes to and preaches at. Turns out these youth are on average twice my age and one lady there on the saturday just passed was 62! I was encouraged by their response to what I taught as they were all older than me bar one. Teaching usually runs for 1-2 hours as what I speak is translated into Arabic....very slowly. Last week mum and I went to the early service at the local cathedral which started at about 7 am. Lots of singing etc. not too different from Anglican churches back home I believe. On Sundays mum and I also go to a bible study with a lot of other ex-pats which is really nice. I led the worship this weekend as I had some songsheets I brought with me from NZ which many of them knew.
The first game of the pre-season tournament started on the 7th and we had the kids from my team mark the field with ashes as paint does not last on the very dusty ground. However neither do ashes as they have almost completely gone by now. The FA was being a bit problematic about the tournament as they were wanting one of their refs to be paid to ref the tournament however we have no funds and eventually they agreed to simply open on the day after we wanted to begin. So because they wanted to delay the tournament two teams did not show up on the first day so that match has had to be rescheduled. However the 4:30 game went ahead which was good. Every day bar sunday we have had two games, except for this week where there is one game each day except for Wednesday with two because of the Across vs YTTC students tournament running in the early evening. The FLY Sports team which I coach has been improving vastly since their first game and Im hoping they can score several goals in their next game, should they do so though it is likely the opposing team will complain. This team we are scheduled to face played on Friday and lost 1-0. Upon losing their coach proceded to complain about the fact that Moses (my co-coach) and I referee and coach at the same time and that it is not fair, etc. so I told him that if he wants to pay the FA to referee the games then he is more than welcome to. It is frustrating that he can't just accept this tournament is for the kids and not for his pride. Another thing that really makes me angry is that fact that almost every single person in the area that watches the game laughs at one of the players in my team. He is very skinny and tall and not the most co-ordinated however he could be a very good player because of his character. His confidence has been shot to pieces for a very long time by everyone in the crowds' laughter and mocking. It really riles me because it doesn't matter how good you are, if you have that sort of treatment day in day out for who knows how long it gets to you. So I have been doing my best to encourage him and help him improve so that he can bury the ball in the net and shut up the people who have been laughing at him for so long. In fact I want it more than anything. If we lose I do not care so long as he scores a goal and gets a break from the tireless mocking. Some of my team were also laughing at him so I told them to quit it as they are betraying their team by doing so. I really admire his courage and determination to still keep playing despite the hardship. He has the character of a truly great individual. I have found that he is improving a lot and I think by the time I leave in December he will be able to have freedom.
Saturday just passed saw the arrival of a small fridge in my house (yippee!) which I bought locally, along with that I bought some milk and weetabix (yes they have a Kenyan made version of the Kiwi weetbix) which I was stoked about. I also set up my gas cooker along with the pipe, regulator and bottle so that I can now cook in my own house for the first time. Last night I cooked my first meal which turned out pretty good. Last night I also watched the Final of the African Cup of Nations between Zambia and Cote Divoire which Zambia emotionally won on penalties. The power here turns off at midnight so I only got to see until the 73rd minute of normal time, meaning I only found out the result this morning.
I think this leaves me pretty much up to date, it is nearly midday now lunch isnt until 1pm usually so I have some time to fill in. Some more general information...
Washing here builds up very fast because your clothes get very dusty plus I play football which means I go through about two sets of clothes everyday. I have to handwash this as well so its not like you just throw it in the washing machine.
Everything here takes time, walking to the long drop, collecting water from the borehole which is several hundred meters from my house for washing, getting drinking water from town, boiling water in the kettle to wash clothes and dishes, washing youself in a bathing room with a bucket and soap, etc. All this is pretty draining in itself plus adding the heat throughout the day and drastic change in food. Meat is not commonly eaten here as it is expensive and doesn't look particularly appetising to a Westerner at the very least in the state it is sold in with swarms of flies buzzing around the horse snouts, legs and who knows what else. I must say I miss chicken quite a lot here.
Thats all for now, if you want to ask questions about my day or about life here in Yei please do in the comments section or on Facebook :) Salaam.