I wrote the title of this post in Kiswahili, yes. Most literally it translates as, “The monkeys and I, we are knowing one another.” This post should be considered inevitable in any Peace Corps blogger’s Peace Corps career, and as such, I feel like I should cover the topic today.
Today, as I was walking back to my house, having forgotten my bag of tech toys (modem, hard drive, etc.), I walked by one of the big alpha-male monkeys, got within two feet of him and kept on walking. He didn’t run. Normally they run. Do I think he feels dominant? No, because he is not the only one who stays. The mothers stay, as do the adolescents and even the babies. The monkeys know me. I don’t hurt them like the students do. They hang out at my house. It’s a safe space.
Yesterday in town I was walking around, comparing textbook prices, trying to fill in some gaps in our computer lab library. Actually, what’s one big gap called? We don’t have any books… I would enter stores and inquire about computer textbooks (sadly, often directed to the next textbook shop). Upon finishing my inquiry, one shopkeeper asked, “Wewe ni mwenyegi?” (Are you a local; literally, indigenous one). “Aaya” (an affirmative). Was it a little bit of a lie? Yes. But it was certainly a confidence booster.
The third sign occurred last week. My students asked, “Will you extend your contract for one more year?”
I arrived in Kenya hoping. I’ve lived in Kenya frustrated. I guess only time will tell how I feel when I leave Kenya.