But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Life is good. I’m in a dream destination, hanging out with a variety of interesting and cool people and I’m learning a lot about a new country. In saying this, life can be very difficult when you are sick. It has now been ten days since I got a cold, and I have still not recovered. I don’t like complaining, especially when I am fortunate enough to be travelling overseas, but it has taken a toll this week. I have not been at 100% and it has affected my energy, especially when working at the school. A lot of people have been sick in Twiga House recently. Some have colds, and some have had to go to the hospital because of high fevers. It has definitely brought our moods down, which is not nice considering how fun this place is and how happy I have felt being here. I’m recovering very slowly, so I have no clue when the cold will go away, but I’m hoping it will be sometime this week.

I made a hard decision this week. I had been struggling with the transition from my first school (Miale) to my new temporary school (Jitihada). Miale had closed down for a week, so I got the chance to teach at Jitihada and experience a different type of placement. I really struggled at Jitihada this week because I felt as though I had only just adjusted to Miale School, and then I had to move and start adjusting to another. The teachers at Jitihada threw me into a class on Monday with no instruction, and I had to ask them for a textbook because I had no idea what subject they wanted me to teach. I immediately fell in love with the kids, which is not hard in this country, and because I was teaching class 3 (ages 7-8, I think) I found it wasn’t too difficult to teach the subjects. For a couple of days I observed one of the other volunteers to get an idea of how I could teach certain subjects, and it helped me gain a lot of perspective. James has his own class and he has a deep connection with his students, which is inspiring to see and made me realise how much I wanted to have that. I spent a few days contemplating about whether I should stay at Jitihada for the remainder of my stay, or go back to my placement at Miale when the school reopened again. Miale was great in the respect that I got to see a variety of classes and teach different subjects to different ages, but on the other hand at Jitihada I would stay with class 3 and grow a deep connection with my own class. After seeing how much I enjoyed making a connection with the kids in that class and started to learn their names, I decided that I wanted to stay at Jitihada for the remainder of my stay. I know it was the right decision because the kids make me smile every day and I really enjoyed seeing them develop. Friday was the best day because we spent the afternoon on the field playing games, skipping and running, and the kids were so interested in playing with me. I had a great time.

This week was another interesting week because I got my hair braided! A couple of us had been talking about getting our hair braided for a while, and we figured why not do it now that we are living in Africa? When else can you get something as cool or as authentic as that? We had a lady come to Twiga House on Thursday and she braided mine and Kendall’s hair. Kendall got box braids, which took over four hours to do. The stylist started at 11am and was still braiding until 3:30pm. Kendall’s braids were painful and heavy but she looks great and she is happy she got them. My braids took a half an hour to forty minutes to do and I got 5 braids. They weren’t that painful and I am so glad I got them. They turned out looking much better on me than I thought. The stylist used fake hair to make it longer and thicker and I am happy with the result. I have converted to African life! It’s awesome and I’m hoping to get it redone before I leave the country. When else can I get it?

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This weekend has been really relaxed, which is definitely what I needed. A couple of volunteers left today, so we went out for dinner last night at George’s (we love that fancy place) to celebrate. Today was a little more eventful because six of us went to the Snake Park in Arusha, which is a small zoo full of different types of rescued snakes, crocodiles, birds and turtles. We got to hold a snake and a turtle, which was very cool but very freaky. It was a nice, short tour and the weather was a bit rainy but not as bad as we thought it would be. At the end of the Snake Park tour, a member of the Maasai Tribe showed us around a small museum-like stage of a Maasai Village and told us some of their traditions. Maasai Tribe is much too old school and scary for my tastes, and I don’t want to go into detail but we were all shocked by the things he was telling us.

All in all, it has been a challenging but satisfying week, and I wish I could tell you about more exciting adventures, but I think those await for the next few weeks.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you soon.

Until next time,

Ailish

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