Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Hello!! Sorry it's taken so long to write, I've been away from internet access for the past 9 days. We took the train into Nairobi from Mombasa (about 15 hrs, but it was overnight so it wasn't too bad). We were in Nairobi for two days. While we were there we visited a place called Carolina for Kibera - it's a clinic in the middle of Kibera (Africa's 2nd largest slum after one in S. Africa). It was really interesting to see the work they're doing and to hear how they get their resources as well as to see the unique ways they have gotten the community involved. Next we went north into the country... and I mean THE COUNTRY!! We stayed at an outdoor camp called Batain's View, right near Mt. Kenya. It was absolutely beautiful! While we were there, we visited a game reserve where we saw a lioness, hippos, chimps, tons of zebras, elephants... it was pretty neat!!! We also visited both a government and a private secondary school.... the difference between the two was night and day!! The government school didn't have near as many resources. We played soccer with them when school let out.... they obviously beat us, but we had so much fun! Let's see.... what else.... we had an interview with some Mau Mau freedom fighters, and the next day before our mini-hike on Mt. Kenya we toured a Mau Mau cave. On the last day before we left Batain's View we did part of their ropes course.... It was terrifying but so worth it!! We did a catwalk (a bridge about 100 ft up in the trees) and then ziplined down. That was soooooo fun!! So now I'm back in Mombasa until the 8th of August- with the exception of this coming Saturday and part of Sunday when we'll be going up the coast to Malindi. I'll try to post a few updates along the way!!
Monday, July 6, 2009
The area we're staying in is very interesting. It's called Old Town and most of the people that live here are of middle eastern descent. There are like 5 mosques within a two mile vicinity and we hear call for prayer all over old town five times a week... I feel like I'm in Saudi Arabia or something!! But then when you go out like 5 minutes the dynamic changes and there are native Kenyans and Arabs and Indians... The "new town" is pretty dirty... I mean from what everyone I'm with who's been to another third world country says, it looks pretty much like any other urban 3rd world center. Needless to say, I have never been somewhere like here so I wasn't prepared for it, and I almost cried when a little girl with a torn little dress and no shoes came up to me with her brother and pulled on my shirt asking for money. One kid the day before gave one kid money, she went away and came back with like 10 more, so they told us we probably shouldn't give them money. So maybe when I go into town I'll start bringing some food in a bag or something... better than nothing right? A couple of us are also probably gonna go volunteer at an HIV/AIDS orphanage nearby, I know I want to but there are probably gonna be times that is rough to swallow too. All us girls are getting used to how the men look at us and what they say... apart from just the obvious stares and exclamations we all get for being foreigners. They're not ever mean, it's just uncomfortable. The food here is actually pretty good, so that's a blessing... the fruit is WONDERFUL! We started Swahili class today. We're only doing it for a week, but we learned soooooo many words and phrases just today... it was kinda overwhelming. But, hopefully I'll pick up the jist of some major phrases to say hi to people and stuff. And the gym, all the treadmills are broken and they only have bikes and weights, but its only like $10 for two weeks so whatever. We have soooo much free time in the afternoons for the next two weeks, we all get so bored. We're trying to find stuff to do. I think we're gonna go on a quest. For the third week we're taking a trip into the interior and Nairobi, so I'm pretty excited about that. I dunno, I was telling my mom that like I'm really going to try and find my purpose for being here, because it's definitely not always going to be easy (it's already been pretty hard). And really, 5 weeks can seem long, but it's really not, so I should really make an effort. I hope I do it. The only way I get internet is because I bought this internet usb modem called safaricom that you have to pay for by the megabyte. I don't even understand how that works so I'm kinda just feeling it out now, but basically I can't really go crazy web browsing or downloading or anything.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
So I'm here!! I realize now times I will actually be able to come on here and blog are going to be sparse... I'm paying for internet by the GB... so, I'm going to be brief. :) The people here are very friendly, but I'm not going to lie, it's definitely going to take some getting used to. We are in Old Town Mombasa, very near the beach but also right in the city - which is pretty dirty. My classmates I've met so far are wonderful, and we've been laughing ever since we've been here!! Ok got to go!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
So, in my time here in London (mainly) I've done all the touristy things, you know, double decker tour, went out to stonehenge, etc. It was really a great experience to see all of it, and especially pleasant was the trip out to the city of Bath. From the name you can probably guess it is the location for the old Roman bath house - which of course we were able to visit! The city was absolutely beautiful!! It's really neat to meet people all over the world who come to London. It truly is an international city. We met two different waitresses who studied abroad from were they were originally from, and then ended up here after graduating. For now they say they just want to travel so they are doing odd jobs just seeing the world before they get a "proper" job. Now I can see why people like them have such a broad view of the world... they've actually been all over the world!! I really admire that spirit, but I have to be honest, I don't think I would have the guts to do something like that. Anyway, the trip to London is pretty much over - we leave tomorrow for Kenya!!