Posted by: hilarycole | December 9, 2007

Be careful what you blog

If you’re just joining this thread, read my post from December 7th first.  Here’s some foreshadowing: it’s entitled Bad Car Karma.

Yesterday was my last day teaching the EMPOWER HIV/AIDS program – exam day.  We’d had to push it ahead to Saturday due to the afore-mentioned cancelled day for a busted timing belt on the car.  What I failed to realize was that our car is actually owned by a woman who loans it to ICODEI, except for those rare occasions when she needs it.  Yesterday was one of those rare occasions.

So after lecturing the class about “making good time” for exam day, I left in a taxi 45 minutes late for a two-hour drive.  We of course, had to stop for gas first, which I paid for and had to tell the attendant to add 400 shillings more gas after he charged me 2000 but filled it to 1600.  Happy I’d already learned the keep-your-eyes-open lesson.

Then we had to stop and pick up a cake for the graduates – a quick, organized stop but our driver, in his haste, drove over a boulder-like rock on the road, scraping and grinding every compartment on the uderside of the car.  We all cringed and just drove on. At this point, I was imagining my ever-efficient friend Cheryl in the situation, and that made me laugh.

As for the class, they did remarkably well, with a couple of 100 per-cent marks and many in the 90’s – and this is complicated immunology material.  But due to a whole other set of dramas the day before (broken generators and empty ink cartridges), their EMPOWER certificates weren’t ready.  My cohort John was attempting to do three things at once, including get the certificates to us before the end of the class, and ended up hitting a pedestrian newspaper salesman (on the arm with a rear-view mirror).  That of course resulted in a 2000-shilling payoff and a ride to the hospital, but much more importantly, another stress-related seizure for John. He’s thankfully doing fine again – just ate breakfast with him. (I’ve learned since the first episode that he actually has a seizure disorder and it’s not a direct consequence of his HIV.)

So there was lots of action, no certificates and a rushed exam day to avoid driving over bad roads in the coming rain, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in Kenya, it’s bring cake and everyone will be overjoyed.

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