i found a scorpion in my room last week. i had never actually seen a live scorpion so i stopped more out of fascination than fright when i first spotted it lying on the concrete floor of the room next to my shoe, unmoving. it remained motionless while i got my camera out to take pictures of it, and only once i tried trapping it with an envelope did it even flinch. it began to scurry aimlessly between the threatening envelope and the pile of dirty clothes on my floor - after it realized that i had it cornered its legs stopped moving and it curled its tail up to hover menacingly over its head. the paper provided a safe buffer between me and its attempted strikes as i finally managed to scoop it up. i took it to show mama, who promptly snatched the
envelope from my hands and set it on fire. "there are so many this time of year" she says nonchalantly.
two weekends ago i went to the shamba with the family (mama, baba, and vicky) to help them weed the 3 acre garden. most of the kenyans were out in their own shambas that saturday, and as soon as they spotted me with a hoe slung over my shoulder they would laugh and cry out in disbelief to my baba, asking 'does that mzungu really know how to weed?' the noontime sun baked us in the fields for three hours as we worked, and by the time we packed up to return home my sunburned skin was already beginning to ache. all of the work is done barefoot, and after two weeks the tops of my feet are still pink, even after blistering and peeling. it was a small price to pay for a rewarding cultural exchange (at least until melanoma sets in).
the following weekend all of the volunteers got together to celebrate thanksgiving - football in the morning and dinner in the afternoon. we rented the kitchen of a catholic center in order to cook, and cook we did. we feasted on turkey (slaughtered that morning), mashed potatoes, gravy, spaghetti, mac & cheese, dumplings, stuffing, green bean casserole, and at least ten different desserts. it more than made up for my dinner of ugali and cabbage on the actual thanksgiving day.
by the end of this week i will no longer be a trainee. i will be a peace corps volunteer.