Erna’s view of living in a High School Dorm for a week

  • SLEEPING QUARTERS – 25 women in one dorm room. WOW- the noise levels, the echos, the lack of privacy for anything, the conversations in the room till late into the night, the snoring, the intimacy of such a living space.

    uploading the 700 pictures from 5 cameras for viewing the next day

  • DAILY BATHING – Bathing out of a bucket every morning and the wazungus (the white tourists) had to learn this process.  First you go get your water (fortunately we had paid for hot water to be available in the mornings) from the kitchen and then go back to stand in line in front of the bathing stalls to wait for one to open up. By the way it was extremely chilly and cold so you are shivering in your night clothes or towel wrap while you wait. Then you somehow you get the water out of the bucket over your head. The wazungus borrowed cups from the kitchen to accomplish this but somehow the  girls had a different technique that worked for them.
  • HOT WATER – The students had never had that luxury given to them in a dorm type situation so they were actually eager to bath each morning.
  • WASHING – Then after you bath you keep the remaining water available to wash your clothes from the day before. You hang them to dry during the day so that you can have something clean to wear tomorrow.
  • These young people knew that they only had one hour to be bathed, dressed, cleaned and into the eating room. This all occurring at 5:30-6:00 in the morning each day. I could hardly get my butt out of bed while they were in high gear.

Pit Toliets and Bathing rooms

  • PIT TOLIETS- Now most of us have been camping before and we are used to using a pit sometimes but to use it day in and day out on a continuous basis is soemthing different. Not only do you need strong legs but you need perseverance to keep your clothes clean, maintain you aim, and keep yourself clean. What a challenge.
  • WATER SUPPLY – Several time we found the water tanks locked out. Water to stay clean and wash our hands was continuously a challenge at the lodging location. We were lucky that we had hand sanitizer.
  • FOOD – One of the most interesting diverse sets of comments were around food.  With 45 teenagers who can eat you out of house and home, I was worried about the food supply at each meal. Several times we did run out of one certain dish ( cabbage, lentils, anything with meat in it) and we would be left with whatever the starch was (ugali, rice, potatos).  I worried that these kids were not getting enough to eat. At the end of the week, almost every student universally said they had eaten better that week than any other time that they can remember. A couple of funny comments that were provided were, One young man, Alex said “ I have already forgotten my mother, I want to make this my new home” meaning he liked this location too much to leave. Another young woman – Rosemary (KE) said- In one week I have gained more weight than in the last year. Now my skirt is not fitting me.”  This humor gives insight to what these children have in their day to day lives back at home and school.

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2 Responses to Erna’s view of living in a High School Dorm for a week

  1. Carherine says:

    Great to see things from a different perspective. Take heart though, I am sure after several years of this routine, you will become a seasoned pro yourself! Thanks for sharing!

  2. gathii kanyi says:

    And on the men’s dorm things were not different. Boys’ stories were said till late in the night and our dorm captains Korir and Dennis had a rough time convincing them to give the ‘bosses’ (gathii and Prosper)time to sleep. A joke could be thrown to Gathii or Prosper from a dark corner and the whole dorm would burst in laughter; thats charles wahome for you. In the morning every man in the dorm would run out of it with nothing more than a towel wrapped around his waist to get hot water before the bathrooms would be taken over by another group that was hosted on the same compound.
    A nostalgic feeling! reminding me the time life was nothing more than dreaming of the person I would be when I grow up.

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