I drove ‘my’ vehicle today for the first time, and the first time I’ve driven in Kenya except for about half an hour that I did two summers ago. I am not a good stick driver, but I’m going to be awesome in a couple months. There is a lot of down and up shifting to do on the unpaved roads. Today I drove N., my translator, home (Joseph came with us after I had some false starts in the car), but I successfully drove her the 45 minutes home and 45 minutes back. When I improve, it shouldn’t take nearly so long.
Lizzie and I went walking in search of cell phone coverage close to our camp this evening (rather than a 20 minute drive away where there is known to be reception). We were thrilled to see reception bars on our phones up in town, which is just a 20 minute walk up the hill, except that none of our attempts to phone out connected. Not only that, but the reception bars literally rose and fell with the gusts of wind that were swirling around us.
N. translated a document into Swahili for me today, my opening statement for interviews. She says it’s too difficult to write it in Maa, but that she can say it to people easily enough. I couldn’t get a better explanation from her. Lizzie speculated that this may be because Maa is so unsuited to the Latin alphabet.
In camp we have a Maa grammar guide that is so full of linguistics symbols and accents that the words look as though they are written in Greek letters. A priest named Father James also dropped by camp to find out what we do. He lives about 75 minutes away in a barren little town called Kimanjo.