From Mrs. Thompson’s third grade class at Southlawn Elementary School in Liberal KS (this is my mom’s class) 

Isaiah wants to know if you like it in Africa?That’s a question that a lot of people ask me, Isaiah.  I have been in Africa for 3 ½ months now and traveled from the West Coast to almost the East Coast.  There are a lot of things that are very different from what I am used to and I miss my family and friends in the USA a lot.  However, I do like Africa.  I am learning my way around and learning a new language, Swahili.  Yes, I would say that I do like it here in Africa. 

Ivan wonders what the weather is like there.Well, Ivan, West Africa was very hot and humid for me but it’s pretty nice weather here in Nariobi.  I am near the equator at the center of the earth’s latitude so the sun comes up almost everyday at about 7am and goes down about 7pm everyday all year round.  The weather has been in the 70’s and 80’s so far.  It can be a little windy, but not like Liberal.  Sometimes I wear a sweater or sweatshirt in the morning but right now I am usually wearing jeans and a short-sleeved shirt. 

Have you seen any Wild Animals is what Christian wants to know.I was very disappointed that the first time we saw monkeys I was on the other side of the car and I couldn’t see them.  That was in Senegal.  I haven’t been on safari yet, Christian but I have seen all sorts of animals all over in the city, the town, the countryside and a zoo.  Out in the ‘wild’ I have seen donkeys, goats, sheep, cebu (like in the Veggie Tales), I did finally see some monkeys, camels, giraffes and all sorts of lizards (they live inside the houses and I even found one in my suitcase!). Addendum:  I have since been on a one-day safari to Lake Nakuru, home of the thousands of flamingo.  I have indeed seen lots of wild animals but no big cats.  Here are some photos. 

What has been your favorite part of being in Africa so far wonders Iadara?That’s a hard question, Iadara.  I don’t know if I have a favorite part yet but I really am enjoying traveling and seeing so much more of the world.  I am meeting all sorts of people that are doing all sorts of different things.  I am learning a lot about Africa, international news, HIV/AIDS, different cultures and languages (I just finished two weeks of Swahili lessons, the second official language of Kenya).  I am also learning about myself and how much I can do that I didn’t think that I could.   

Lynea wants you to send some photos.  As of know they haven’t unblocked your blog, but we are waiting on that.I just sent Mom a link for a slide show (which is also on the sidebar here) about shopping in much of West Africa.  I was only in three different countries there and not everyone shops this way but many people all over Africa do shop like this.  What would you like to see pictures of Lynea?  I have taken between 1000-2000 pictures since I left Kansas so there are a lot to choose from that I can share with you. 

Shayanna wonders who your friends are.I have been moving around a lot so far but have been able to make friends in each place that I have visited.  I now have friends living in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and here in Kenya.  I met most of these people during my training and orientation.  I am making friends here and they come from Canada, USA, Germany and Kenya.  I have only been in Kenya for a month and a half now so I don’t know too many people outside of my office and school.  However, Amanda and Njoki live around the corner and that’s great!  Most of my really close real friends still live in the US. 

They all want to learn to say a few words in SwahiliSwahili is what we call the language in English but when you are speaking Swahili it is called Kiswahili.  The ‘I’ is always pronounced like a long ‘e.’  You say thank you like this: Asante (ah-sahn-tay).  ‘A’ always sounds like ‘ah’ and ‘e’ always sounds like ‘eh.’ ‘O’ sounds like ‘oh’ and ‘u’ sounds like ‘oo.’  You can say thank you very much by adding ‘sana’ at the end: Asante sana.  Your welcome is Karibu (care – eee – boo).  This also means welcome! 

This is how you count to 10:0-sifuri or sufuri1-moja2-mbili3-tatu4-nne5-tano6-sita7-saba8-nane9-tisa10-kumi 

These are the days of the week:Saturday: JumamosiSunday: JumapiliMonday: JumatatuTuesday: JumanneWednesday: JumatanoThursday: AlhamisiFriday: Ijumaa  

These are my two favorite phrases: 

Where is the bathroom? Donde esta el bano?  Just kidding, I was just testing you.  In Swahili you say it this way:Choo kiko wapi?  (not choooooo, but like choh) 

Please speak slower.Tafadhali sema pole pole  

Luis thinks it would be interesting know how you are doing there.Luis I am doing OK.  I miss my family and friends back home but am enjoying this adventure and I really like my job a lot.  I just moved into my own apartment and that is good.  I am learning a lot and getting to see new things in Kenya and even some words in another language, Kikuyu (key – koo – you).     

Alba wants to know if the city you are in is nice.I live in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.  It is a very big city, Alba, and has all the things that big cities have.  I have been to several different malls, the movies, ridden the buses and matatus (these are vans that hold about 14 people and take people around the city like a bus), and been to a couple of parks.  It can be kind of dangerous here after dark so I am careful about being out late but that’s OK because I have a lot to read and lots of emails to answer.  There is a lot of vehicle exhaust but there are also a lot of people that walk or ride their bikes everywhere because owning a car is really expensive here.  Nariobi has a lot of friendly people and is a really nice city; I am enjoying being here.