Thursday, February 10, 2011

a long overdue post

It is becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of my blog posting. I made a New Years Resolution to blog more often, to that I directly blame the fact that I have not blogged in 2011. In all reality, I think I have slighted on my blogging due to my increasing comfort in my new home. It was easier to blog when I was still shocked that milk was kept in cabinets, or that chickens run around neighborhoods or consistently not understanding Kiswahili. Those small aspects of Kenya have become normal to me, I am much more accustomed to Kenyan customs, Kiswahili, the heat and Kenya at large. Thanks to these things I find myself less often shocked in a way that I need to stop and write a blog, my life is becoming normal and in my “normal” life I never wrote blogs. Despite finding my life a lot more normal than I did several months ago, I still recognize the lessons I learn each day and upon daily reflection realize what I am learning through my work in Kenya.

On Tuesday the other YAVs and I went to Gatina Primary School together to begin a compost area for the school. About a week ago, Phyllis, Michael, Ben and I went to the local coffeehouses to see what they were doing with the leftover coffee grounds. All of the managers told us thy threw them away so we asked if they would donate their trash to our compost. We picked up the coffee grounds on Monday and brought them to the school on Tuesday.

We spent the morning of Tuesday explaining to the standard 7’s (7th grade) what composting was and how they could use it. It took awhile to explain that their “taka taka” (trash) could help make fertile soil. I worked with a group of four boys to paint a sign that they could hang above the compost pile explaining what it was.

Originally, we had intended to paint the sign beforehand and then use the morning to teach about compost and to fill the compost pile. Instead, Kathryn and I explained the composting process to the four boys and then gave them the paint to make the sign however they wanted. The results were awesome, the boys did a great job and were very creative. They totally understood the concept and were excited to bring in their mango peels, banana peels, ashes etc.

It was a great day to spend with the students at Gatina and I was thrilled that they understood the composting process so well and were excited to use that soil to plant their sukuma wiki.

Composting is something I learned about a few years ago while I was working @ Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake. I realize most people don’t compost and have no reason to, since we do not grow our own food. However, composting is a great way to recycle our resources and to use all the things we are given. All too often, we throw out a bad apple or all but the juice of a lemon etc. The rest of these things can be used in some way. Rather than over-consuming and wasting resources, see if there is a local garden or compost place to put your unused resources. I know that just the coffee grounds we snagged from Java and Dorman’s will make a great contribution to the compost at Gatina Primary School.