Bugs and Bonding

Third term has officially begun, and I’m sitting in my big comfy chair with a fire crackling across the room, watching the fog roll lazily past the window and listening to the nightly sounds of the drizzle pattering on the roof and the soft patter of locusts flinging themselves against the porch window. It’s quiet in the dorm, because it’s a weekend and not yet ten o’clock, and teenage girls seem to be impervious to unfavorable weather conditions when free time is there to be had. (I remember being the same way, although, in my memory, I’m wearing pants and not shorts when out on cold rainy nights.)

Already, it’s the second weekend of term, though it feels like we’ve been here longer. Each time the girls return from Break, we settle into a rhythm faster than the term before. This term has started off quite well. The freshmen girls were gone the first weekend for a Sunday School retreat, so things were quiet in Kedong Middle East—only five sophomores and myself remained. The sophomores asked if we could have a little gathering of our own. They wanted to hang out ‘just us’ in the dorm, and they wanted guacamole. That seemed easy enough to do, and so we built a fire, made guacamole and chocolate sauce and brought out some chips and fruit. We sat for a while and just talked—not about anything particularly important, but it was a sweet time of fellowship all the same. Afterwards, we watched A Knight’s Tale, which was new to four of the girls, and they loved it. Emotions were running high as the movie reached its climax and William was arrested and the fate of him and his friends was uncertain—as Imani put it, “I am so emotionally invested in this movie!” It was a lot of fun, and when the freshmen returned the next day, I heard from their teachers that several of them had had some significant “God-moments” at the retreat, which, as a proud kind-of-mom, I was happy to hear. So it was a good weekend for everyone all around.

There have been a few changes to the dorm since last term. Most significant of which was the addition of Jasmine to our group. She’s not new, but has been in England for most of the year, but she has slid into place as if she’s always been with us. I’ve also got a new group of children in my Computer class, who, thus far, have been infinitely better-behaved than the last group. Hopefully, that trend will continue—I’m looking forward to ending the school year on a positive note. One of the boys in the class, Ian, is in my Caring Community group, while most of the rest are new to me. When I was calling roll the first day, each of the kids answered with a shy half-raise of the hand and a quiet “here,” but when I got to Ian, he gave me a confident nod of the head and a wink.

Another big change around here has been the weather. Third term is the winter term, and it started off cold and rainy—even on the first day, in which the school buses coming from the airport got stuck on the hill in the mud, and the teachers had to use their private vehicles to go up and ferry the students down in small groups. With the rain and the cold also come quite a lot more bugs than we’ve seen all year. The girls learned very quickly to keep their windows closed—there are slugs that creep into the bathroom, large flying ants that swarm the lounge and kitchen when the lights are on, locusts the size of your palm that fly around the grass like an insectoid-fireworks display, and the worst of the lot, the Nairobi Eyes. These are red bugs about the size of a piece of rice that everyone fears. They don’t bite, but they are filled with some kind of acid that is exceedingly painful on your skin. Accidentally crushing one is brutal, and even touching one the wrong way can sting. We had a minor infestation in the bathroom last week. It was met with much shrieking and panic, until Ella, our brave prefect, boldly waded in with her sleeves rolled down, her hood pulled up and a can of Doom and crushed the invasion. She was followed by Jasmine with a dustpan and broom, and after about 20 minutes, the bathroom was safe again.

Please pray for the girls as the term continues on, that health would stay good as the weather gets worse, and that as the term wears on, we’ll all have the strength to push on and end on a high note.