Caught in the Crossfire (Danielle Sumner)

The WISER girls participated in their monthly “Crossfire” academic competition between houses!  The Duke students were dispersed amongst the eight WISER houses, watching in awe of the intense atmosphere as the girls hurriedly crowded around their long dining tables over single sheets of paper with six of eleven difficult subjects.  Each sheet of paper represented a different topic, such as Kiswahili or chemistry or business studies, and each had 10 points worth of very difficult questions.  The average score on these 10-point papers was usually between a 3 and a 6.  The girls of each House pooled their minds together, and after each round the scores were re-tallied amongst sky-high levels of anticipation.  Felix and I, belonging to House Magnificent, cheered on our girls to a 7th place finish!  House Savvy finished first, and Gorgeous second.  There was a palpable amount of passion, intelligence, and excitement in the dining hall yesterday!  The spontaneous breakouts of cheering, applause, and table slapping only served to make the experience even more memorable.   A half hour after the wrapping up of the Crossfire tournament, the girls had changed into their after-school clothes and were calmly eating dinner as usual at the very same tables that only a half hour before they had been threatening to break.  A statement about WISER students’ energy, as well as their incorrigible spirit!

The water project is coming along nicely.  We’ve conducted interviews in Tagache, Customs, Winjo, Kingariso, Ratieny, and Rabwao!  Tagache alone had 84 people to interview, and although tracking down people is proving slightly more difficult than originally anticipated, I have had a great time working with recent WISER alumni and translator Nancy Adhiambo!  I have had all sorts of interesting experiences conducting these 15-20 minute interviews.  Some have been done in Dhuluo, some in English, and some in a mixture of the two languages.  We’ve walked to some of the closer areas and taken pikis to some of the farther ones, rolling through cassava fields and dodging livestock the entire way.  The people we’ve visited have always been so generous and hospitable!  We’ve been served tea, bread and butter, maize, and groundnuts.  I’ve seen so many babies; chicks, kids, calves, kittens, puppies.  Between the three pairs of people working on the water project, I’d say the data collection phase is coming along nicely!

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