From Mrs. Tennis’s third grade class at Southlawn Elementary School in Liberal KS 1. What kind of houses do they live in?It really depends on where you are in Africa as to what type of house people live in.  I have seen and/or been in homes made of cement, mud and thatch.  There are not as many wood houses though.  The house that I was living in with a Kenyan family is made of cement.  My apartment is also concrete, making it hard to hang things on the walls.  The houses that are made of mud usually need to be fixed once a year after the rainy season because the rain washes away part of the walls. 2.Do the kids get to go to school there?In Kenya, most of the children go to school.  There is a big challenge to educate people here.  School is in English, but most Kenyans speak at least two or three languages: English, Swahili and their local tribal language.  My host family is Kikuyu and that is their local tribal language.   3. If kids do go to school how long is their day and what type of classes do they have?Kids go to school about the same hours that you do but they have a different school calendar.   4. What type of vegetables, fruit, and meats, do they have?In Kenya, the veggies are a lot of potatoes, carrots, and cabbage.  I have also eaten arrow root, beet root, peas, maize (which is not like the corn you eat there in Liberal, it’s bigger and harder and not sweet) and a few other things that I’m not sure what they were.  There is fresh fruit everywhere!  In my host family’s yard there are pineapples, avocados, tree tomatoes, papaya, passion fruit and another fruit that I don’t know what it is and they don’t know what to call it in English.  The main meats are probably beef and goat and are both a bit tougher than I’m used to but still tastey.  It’s usually in some sort of stew, not like a steak or a hamburger (although you can get those things if you really want them). 5.What activities do kids do in their free time? I see a lot of kids helping their families at the house, the farm or the store.  They also play like you do.  The weather is really pretty nice here and I see kids playing outside a lot, they love soccer here but they call it football.  What you and I call football is usually called American football everywhere else in the world.  I also see children playing with toys fashioned out of wire, like trucks and cars.  Those are really cool. 6. Are you having fun?I am having fun, thank you for asking.  I am enjoying seeing new things, visiting with new people and learning a lot of new stuff like the culture, history and language.  7. What do you do over there to help the people?That is a terrific question.  What I do specifically in my job is to help people who come to visit prepare for their trip.  I help teach them about Kenya and the culture here so that they can better enjoy their visit.  Right now I am learning about how I can take care of my small part of the environment to leave a better place for the people who come after me.  The world is a fragile place and it is very important to help take care of what we have today so that it will be here tomorrow.  I also try to buy from local people for as much as I can.  That could be food or souvenirs.  I want to support people who are really trying to use the skills that they have to make a living.  That is very important to me.  I also want to help others know about these great things so that they can help, too.  I bet that you have heard it before but knowledge is power and I am trying to learn as much as I can so that I can help teach others how they can help, too. 8. Can you send us a picture of where you stay?Sure, I’ve attached a photo of the outside of my host family’s home and one of the bathrooms.  What do you think of that toilet?  We call it a squatty because that’s how you use it.  It’s like a toilet bowl in the ground.  I have to be honest and tell you that while I have used these kinds of toilets many times, I don’t use this one.  There is a western-style toilet and bathtub in the bathroom right next to this one.  That is what I use.   I will not live here the whole time I am in Kenya.  This is just for a month or so to learn more about Kenyan culture from real Kenyans.  Isn’t that a great idea? 9. What type of money do they have?Kenya uses the Kenyan Shilling, KSH.  65 KSH are worth about 1 USD.  I am actually getting ready to send some of the coins home so that you can see them in class.  It may be a month before they get there though so please be patient. 10. What type of materials do they build their houses with?I think that I answered this one up above.  It is very traditional, particularly in smaller villages that families live together for a very long time.  They don’t have things like Good Sam’s here, grandparents live with their children and grandchildren and sometimes even great grandchildren!  They may not all live inside the same house but they will live in the same compound.  A compound is where several houses are very close to one another and they are usually protected by a big fence of some kind.  11. How long is the rainy season?That depends on where you are in Africa.  Kenya has a short rainy season from Oct. through Dec.  The longer rainy season is March-June.  Those are the typical months but sometimes the rains come early and sometimes they come late.  They’ve had rain every month so far this year which is unusual.  12. How do they bathe do they have showers?It really depends on where people live.  If you live in the city you are likely to have a bathtub or a shower.  I live in a more rural area but we still have a western-style bathtub.  However, electricity is very, very expensive here.  So instead of using the hot water heater, I heat up a kettle of water and pour it into a basin that I have placed into the bathtub.  Then I add some cold water to make it warm and then sorta sponge bathe every night that way.  People who live in a village without a well may have to go a long time without a bath and only take one a week.  They may have to walk a long way to get water or even bathe in a lake or river where there are a lot of people around doing the same thing or watering their animals or doing their laundry.  13.Do they have electricity?Some places do.  It depends on where you are.  When I was in West Africa the power wasn’t always on even if we had it wired into the house.  The power is on most of the time here in the Nairobi area, but not everyone has power in the country, they don’t even how electricity coming out to their village.  It really depends on where you are whether or not you have electricity. 14. How do they cook their food?I don’t think that many people have an electric stove.  Most people, if they have a stove in their kitchen (if they have a kitchen inside their house) use a gas stove.  However, when you get to smaller villages people don’t even have a kitchen inside the house and they cook outside over an open flame in big pots.   15.Do they have the same plants as we have in the United States or do they have many different ones?Gosh, there are a lot of similar plants but since the equator goes through Kenya we have very different weather and can grow different plants here.  I don’t know a lot about plants so I don’t have a really good answer for this question. 

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