Snow Days

pb-121119-kenya-somalis-05.photoblog900I hesitate to post this because people will be overly worried ( mostly parents and in-laws ) but I wanted to share some of the realities of living in Africa. But in Kenya we don’t have snow days and cancel school, instead we have bullets are flying days.

Two weeks ago we had to cancel class because people were being shot in front of our school, then a small riot ensued. We were in the middle of class when the gun shots began, we nervously gathered our students together and left the school quickly. We remained as calm as we could while we listened to our students and guard tell us it was totally normal.

While seeing guns brandished is not an everyday occurrence it does highlight a normal reality. Part of living in Africa is being aware of you surroundings always. Since we have moved we have had to learn this skill.

We have to scurry away from riots twice. We have had to learn to keep and eye out whenever we are stuck in traffic. We never pull our phone out in public. Don’t wear a backpack downtown unless your ready to lose whatever is in it. We have seen drivers get pulled out of their car and beaten up. Distribute money into different pockets and people. Mainly PAY ATTENTION, this is the number one rule and watch what the Africans do. There is a reason they never use their phone next to an open window on a Matatu, or they hold onto their purses so tight. These are just some of the lessons we have had to learn.

This is a part of living cross culturally we do not know the cultural cues to pick up on when a situation is dangerous. So we have to remain vigilant and pay attention to how those around us are responding to the situation.

Here is a news story about the incident in front of our school

http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-128169/womans-death-sparks-riots-mathare

 

-Adam

P.S. I was writing this story before class while I was waiting for my students to show up. When they did one of my students told me that he and his friends were help up at knife point by some thieves. Luckily he leaves his phone at home so they couldn’t steal anything from him. Another lesson learned from one of my African friends, leave your phone home at night.

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