Landed at Jomo Kenyatta International at 7am with only 5 hours sleep and no phone. Nevertheless, Kaylie and I are ecstatic to be back to our home away from home. I was so happy to see Peter, Mary’s nephew. He picked me up the last time I came, except then I didn’t know who he was and I waited for over a half an hour, alone. This time we walked right out to see him and his big Kenyan smile!
Peter gave us the option of going home to rest or go straight to the Pangani Center. Only us two crazy “mzungus” would go right to work after traveling for more than 2 days, no sleep, and no shower! We just wanted to get back to see our friends as quickly as possible!
When we got there, Kaylie and I where greeted by Lucy, the security guard, and a huge mob of parents registering their children for the ﬁrst day of school. I was so happy so see all my teacher friends, but I was dying to see my girls. I ﬁnally got over to the Beauty School and 3 of my girls were sweeping and mopping. Monica, Helen, and Carol as excited to see me as Kenyans get. I was excited to see them as Americans get. That means I was jumping up and down and they all stared at me smiling! It was wonderful to be cleaning with them again!
I ﬁrst sat with Carol and caught up with her. I was ﬁlled with so much emotion when she told me that morning she had done a client and made 3 times the amount of the daily wage. That means she and her family will have more than enough food the eat tonight for dinner. That was worth skipping a nap because of jet lag! Slowly more and more students showed up to school. One of my favorites, Beatrice, came running in and plowed into me! She is always so full of joy. Back in June when I was teaching here, Beatrice told me she couldn’t understand my accent when I spoke. I thought that was so funny being that Californians have to most bland of English accents. Even speaking slower, she still didn’t understand me. So, I put on my best Swahili accent and said, “Okaa, eef I tok like dis do you undastond me now?” She replied, “Yeees, Teacha Dianna, I undastond you now!” Not much has changed. She still can’t understand a word of my Californian accent! Beatrice went on to tell me that she sees up to 5 clients in a day. That means she is making more money in one day than her husband makes in a week! She told me that the women in her community of Kiamaiko know where she got her training and they respect her.
I have missed these girls so much! I can’t wait to hear more stories of success.