Saturday, May 7, 2011

All the way from Kenya

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good morning/afternoon/night!! I am beyond confused as to what time it is/what day it is. Bottom line is that I am in Kenya! What a trip... I have had minimal sleep and keep going through waves of exhaustion and being fine again. A and I met up for our flight from JFK on Tuesday night (our flight was at 11PM), we said goodbye to our huge hiking backpacks, and boarded our first plane to London.

A and I all ready with everything we would be taking with us!
Getting three hours of sleep (tops), partially due to our movie watching, we found ourselves with the entire day to enjoy the London sunshine :). We took the tube to "Covent Garden" in London - about a 50 minute trip. A and I kept dosing and jerking ourselves awake again. Once at Covent Gardens, we looked around, undecided as to where we were going to spend our four hours in London. After making a complete two loops around the square, further confirming the fact that we are far from locals, we plopped ourselves down at a cute outdoor cafe. Between the two of us, we split the most delicious pizza (olives, goat cheese, pepperoni, peppers, onions, etc.) and a small bottle of white wine (we are both 21). Yum. There was a street performer gracing us with some strange act a little ways down the street. We couldn't quite decipher. One memorable part included wrapping himself in saran wrap... we will never understand haha.

After lunch, we explored the cobblestone streets of London a bit more, finding ourselves at this cute little European coffee shop called "Starbucks" (how unique). At Starbucks we were able to track down some internet! After sending a few emails out to friends and family to say "ello!" we made our way back to the tube and then to the airport. Naturally, way ahead of schedule, we passed some time and browsed the airport shops. Soon we found some benches to take a one hour power nap on. It felt amazing just to lay down! As our traveling continued, A and I got progressively slower. Heading to our gate at a glacial pace, we started to finally realize - we are going to Africa!!!
Delirium began to get the best of us :)

A and our bags at Kenya International Airport!
Unlike our plane to London, our flight to Nairobi was not at full - lucky for us we had the opportunity to stretch out (relatively speaking). Naturally, when I should be sleeping I decided I was not at all tired. At some point I made myself lie down (aka crunch up horizontally - lucky I'm only 5'4") and probably shut my eyes for a half hour or so before the captain announced our descent into Nairobi. Once arriving, we made our way to purchase our Kenyan visas and picked up our bags (we were SO happy to see them). We waited about a half an hour for L and her husband to come pick us up. They will be staying in Kenya until Saturday to settle us in and then they will be going off on a Safari. We hopped in a car with L, L's husband, and Mwenda.

Mwenda took us on an extremely bumpy ride along many dirt roads (some paved). The first thing I noticed is that everything is so GREEN! Also, people walk EVERYWHERE. The sides of main streets are filled with travelers on foot. There were also a ton of cattle just hanging out.. crossing and grazing as they pleased. A and I were constantly in and out of sleep as our exhaustion started to get the best of us. As we continued our car ride, we were informed of a petrol shortage, as every gas station we stopped at was completely out... can't say I've ever seen that in the United States! We eventually pulled into a petrol station as there was a rumor a truck would finally be arriving in about two hours. We decided to eat some lunch while we waited... at "Hotel Starbucks." Seriously, we can't get away from this "Starbucks." I couldn't really tell you what happened at lunch, I was SO tired I may have been somewhat sleeping while I was awake. What I DO remember is our little trip to the restroom. It consisted of a simple ceramic hole in the ground that somehow flushed. I decided if this is what I'd be spending some time mastering, at least I'd have some strong legs! Duncan from the CYEC (about 25 kilometers away from where we were stranded) came to the rescue with just enough petrol to get us to the centre.

Soon enough, we found ourselves at the CYEC's big blue gates, arriving at what will be our home for the next month. We were greeted by several staff members including Grace (matron), Abdulla, Magdaline, and others whose names escape me. We walked up a small hill to our little apartment consisting of a small kitchen area, a sitting room, a toilet without a lid (yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay), a shower, and two rooms with a bed in each. Outside our door is the rabbit hutch, goats, chickens, and a rooster (we decided to name him Henry). We were home for all of five minutes when we were summoned to jump in the car to make our way into town (Nyeri).

In town, we met with Paul (the centre's director), Jane (social worker), Geoffie (social worker), Duncan(computer technician and educator),  Mwangilla (transportation officer), and L (and husband) to discuss our curriculum. Our ideas were very well received and we will presenting our curriculum to the entire staff tomorrow at 10:00AM. This will be followed by planning in greater detail. I still don't know how A and I were functioning this late in the day - we were beyond sleep deprived.
Our first Kenyan dinner prepared by Samuel.
Once arriving back to the CYEC, we ate some delicious dinner prepared by Samuel (he cooks for the staff and children under 10 years old who eat a different diet than the older children). I couldn't tell you what it was, but it was just what we needed. On our way back to the apartment to finally lay down to sleep, we met a few of the girls, all of whom were very excited to meet us. One rubbed her cheek against my arm and another stroked my hair. We wanted to stay and talk longer, but our bodies said BED TIME NOW. Hopefully we will be able to stay up later tomorrow night. So, for now, Jambo and goodnight from the CYEC!

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