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Mr. Dai Kato

So I have a friend here (yes, I am up to one now). His name is Dai Kato and he is working with JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency), which is in his own words an “imitation of Peace Corps,” but from Japan. Dai is great and is totally making this whole transition to a new site thing bearable.

Tonight I cooked for us, in reciprocation for Dai having cooked me a meal earlier this week. I wanted to cook a meat and stir fry, but turned into a meat and spaghetti when I realized I did not have enough ingredients to make a proper stir-fry sauce. Who knew it was more than just soy sauce. Not me!

The spaghetti was great, and the spaghetti sauce was a testament to the fact that Blue Band can in fact make everything in Africa taste better. Thanks mom for the good ‘ole carrots, onions and peppers combo.

The meat on the other hand was way spicy. So spicy in fact that it made a grown japanese man run from my house! Dai had to go get a cloth to wipe the sweat from his forehead! Yes. It was very spicy. Too much cumin and cayenne pepper. Now I know better for next time.

Dai, aside from knowing a little kiswahili and a little english, speaks the international language of “Volunteer.” With such a language we are able to swap photos, commiserate about the deficiencies and achievements of Kenyan Culture, and drink beer. It’s a good language, one forged over hardships and bonding, and wholly suited to getting the message across no matter the circumstances.

This was an odd post, but it what I felt like writing and how I felt like writing it. Im going to bed now. Goodnight all!

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Some quick thoughts before heading off to bed

1) There was a leopard in my front yard today. Apparently this is unusual. I did not see it because, well, leopards are good at hiding, but I was assured it was there. Mama’s don’t lie (often) in Kenya, and the Mama’s next door seemed awfully concerned about the leopard.

2) Have I mentioned that I have monkeys running around the NYS compound? There are as prolific as grey squirrels are back home. They are also grey. One of them left me a present my first morning in Mutungwe: a rotting banana on my front step.

3) Mr. Dai Kato, my Japanese neighbor is a really cool guy. He led me around Mombasa today, and then made me dinner and we talked about life in Kenya. It’s reassuring to know that volunteer perceptions of kenya can stay the same no matter what nationality you are, what program you are with or what language you speak.

4) After today Mombasa has gotten my thumbs up approval as my home town for the next two years. It has character, amenities, culture and language enough to keep me busy.

5) Getting lost in Mombasa’s Old Town is an interesting experience. As much as it’s a “Tourist Desitnation,” there are no tourists, and being the muzungu with the backpack and sunglasses certainly makes you stick out amongst a bunch of traditionally-garbed Muslim men and women

6) Going to the barbershop and getting your haircut by a local is the first sign that you have moved into a new town and mean to stay (at least that was it for me).

7) Kiswahili words that have integrated themselves into my everyday speech, replacing their english equivalents: sawa (ok), pole (sorry), assante sana (thank you very much), habari yako (how are you; lit: your news), kwa nini (why), lakini (but) na na (and).

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