Wednesday, June 03, 2009 Comment1 Comments

Finally!!! I have the time and desire to sit down and make a blog post. I mean its only been a week since I've been in Kenya...oops. Its just been one crazy chaotic week with some sketchy Internet so not my fault. First of all Kenya is absolutely beautiful and everything is going great! Now I will just give a VERY short run-down of everything thats happened so far (yikes) and hopefully be updating more often so that its not so long. Here we go:

-the Megabus was sooo fun. Quite an experience and would totally do it again. You absolutely have to sit on the top level (its double-decker) and in the very front row. You get to look out the big panoramic window, its like a roller coaster.
-When we got to Chicago we rode the train with Caitlyn to her house. Public transportation makes so much sense, I dont get how people argue against it.
-While we were in Chicago for the couple days we went sightseeing. Very fun. Very cool city. (pictures on Facebook)

-Our layover was waaaaaaaaaayy toooooo freaking long. I honestly am not sure how we all made it out of that airport alive. I thought I was gonna either jump out the window myself or push somebody.

-After our 2nd overnight flight in 2 days we finally arrived in Kenya! We were all way tired but it was still super great to finally make it. We had no trouble maneuvering around Jomo Kenyatta Airport and our contact, Paul, found us almost immediately. I must say that its quite hilarious how lax customs was there. The guy just looked at us and told us to hurry up past the checkpoint haha.
-Once we met up with Paul we found out that we would be spending the next couple (turned into few) days in Nairobi. He figured it was as good a time as ever to experience the city and do some sightseeing. We stayed in a place called Terminal Hotel and that was pretty cool. The employees were all very friendly. Plus they had mosquito nets!
-Our first day in the city with Paul we went out to lunch at a place called Radalo's (i think) and the food was seriously sooo good. We ordered "samaki na ugali" which is fish. Actually it was tilapia in a coconut broth served with ugali and sukuma (kale). Paul told us that it was a very traditional meal of the Luo peoples, who live near Lake Victoria I believe (dont quote me).
-Also on our first day we met the most awesomest little lady named Rossa. She is our new best friend here. She is a riot. Fits right in with us and our crazy ways. Thanks to her we have been able to make our way around and see all sorts of things in Nairobi and Nyeri. She has been a lifesaver.
-Some of the places/things we did in Nairobi include: the National Archives, European Movie Festival, Ethiopian food, Tusker*, National Museum (home of the early hominid/australopithicene remains), more Tusker, lots of wandering and darting across traffic.

-finally late (late) Wednesday (May 27th) night we arrived at the Centre (CYEC) in Nyeri. We rode from Nairobi to Nyeri in the dark of night on these giant Safari bus thingys. Once we met up with everybody to head to Nyeri we met Janelle (Penn State prof) and her niece Michelle. Since then Michelle has become an honorary 5th Team member of our group haha. She is staying with us at the Centre and working alongside us with our project(s).
-Its taken about 5 days or so for us to FINALLY have an idea of what we will be doing and how we will be doing it. In one sentence or less this is what we will be doing: starting and running after school/extracurricular clubs that each child will join (Choir, Arts & Crafts, Nature, or Literature); AND assisting and teaching (yay) the classes that are already being taught here.
-On Sunday all five of us got up and went with some of the children to the local Catholic church. It was only about 100 yards away and some of the children were singing and dancing at the mass. It was a really cool experience and was interesting to see a mass in a completely different culture. First off, the priest did the mass in Kikuyu (the local tribal language) except for a few excerpts just for us. I was telling the group that I finally know what it was like for so many people years ago when masses were in Latin still. Its funny how similar the services are thought. Aside from the language and some more upbeat (I'd say better) music it is exactly the same. One of the teachers and the children even did a Rosary before mass. We are hoping to go with some of the other children to the Baptist service sometime and maybe one of the other local churches.
-Overall the Centre has been so great. This country is so beautiful and I love waking up to this every morning. The children are wonderful and they are really starting to open up and connect with us. That has been great. One of the older girls even gave me a bracelet that she made and I'm rockin it with style. I am excited to finally get going on our projects and become more involved with the operational side of the Centre. The first few days we mostly have been sitting around and being play buddies with the kids, but that is so much fun.

As I said I am hoping to update more frequently and this hopefully filled everyone in pretty well. I am sure that I left out some things but what can ya do.


*Tusker is a Kenyan beer and is the most popular of the country. It is very very good and we have been lucky enough to enjoy it several times so far. Especially in this high stress environment its nice to get away and enjoy a Tusker or two every so often haha. I would recommend trying to look for it in the States. I know I will be. Oh FYI, thanks to my pops I found out the name comes from a man who was killed by an elephant. Nice!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, sounds like you couldn't be enjoying it more. I'm so glad your trip went well except for the London layover.

I've been getting some updates from your Mother, but your letter was very interesting.

keep the updates coming when you can -

Grandma (Carol)

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