Well I have been here for just over a week and reality is starting to settle in. On Tuesday Mary, Greg and myself took our first trip to Kisumu alone. We found the Laughing Boodah, a popular restaurant for “mzyungos”. We realized if you order appetizers they do not come out first. The food is brought out in order it is made. However, we did not know this until we had already ate Greg’s lunch and asked where his was? Then we took a tuku tuku to the Impala Sanctuary. Along the way we got a little stuck, but not to worry our driver did an excellent job of maneuvering his way out. The Impala Sanctuary was unreal. We saw monkeys, zebras, lions, cheetahs, flamingos and rhinos, to list a few. Along the path we met a man who worked there and I asked if it was possible to see the lions feed. He said not only was that possible but for a small fee we could pet the cheetahs. That was an offer none of us could refuse! I was so scared in the cheetah’s cage, but it was a once in a lifetime experience. On our way back to Mbale we got stuck in the downpour of rain. Thank goodness for our bright coloured rain jackets!
The rest of this week we have spent meeting key community members for our summer projects. Every community members has warmly welcomed us into the community and is excited for our projects we wish to accomplish this summer. They have all said how grateful they are for the work SID has done in the previous years.
This summer will be a busy one for the health sector! We have a total of six major projects, wowzers! I will be working on the Jigger Campaign, Deworming Campaign and Public Health Camp. Mary and Greg each have their own research they are completing and many infrastructure projects at the four main dispensaries’ we work at here in Sabatia.
It’s now the weekend, time to have more fun. We enjoyed a relaxing Saturday of running, playing cards and possibly indulging in a little Tusker. Today we are off to Kisumu to visit the museum, the market and possibly bird sanctuary!
Well after 3 days of traveling I have finally arrived in Mbale. Myself and 3 other teammates flew from Toronto to Amsterdam where we had a 15-hour layover. We were all filled with excitement and nerves during the flight and therefore did not sleep much. I personally slept maybe 2 hours. We arrived in Amsterdam at 6:30AM. We booked the airport a bus into town and a canal ride. When we drove into the city center it was so exciting to see the architecture, and everyone riding their bicycles! The cyclists have their own bike lane and lights! It was so cool to see everyone cycling in suits, or everyday clothes within the city. When we arrived at the city center we walked up and down the streets and over the bridges. We saw Anne Frank’s house from outside and then walked through the Red Light District. By this point in time we were all fairly tired from zero sleep and decided to go on the canal ride. The minute we sat down Josh fell asleep for the entire ride. Lauren, Nicki and myself all dosed for the canal ride. I am sure many tourists wondered why we had paid money for this canal ride only to fall asleep during the ride. We then headed back to Amsterdam airport and found the most amazing lounge chairs and all took a much needed nap. When we woke up we headed to the gate to find our flight had been delayed for an hour and a half. We waited patiently. When we finally made it through security it was announced our flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi had been cancelled. Oh traveling, we then had to wait in a long line up to be put onto the next flight the next day. We were then put into a hotel in Amsterdam for the night. On the plus side, we got hot, clean showers! The next day we headed back to the airport for our second attempt at our flight. This time the flight took off no problem!
We arrived in Nairobi around 8PM and cleared customs smoothly. All our baggage arrived except for one of Josh’s bag. Once in Nairobi the chief’s son, George, met us and accompanied us to the YMCA in Nairobi. We were so happy to finally be done flying we passed out immediately. The next day we had our 9-hour matatus ride to Mbale. The ride was exciting, but very bumpy! I would describe is as a 4×4 experience in a very mini van, and cars do not stay on one side of the road. They drive wherever there are not huge potholes! Upon arriving in Mbale we were welcomed by lots of rain! That evening we hung out and played cards at our host’s home, and had a lovely Kenyan dinner. I am really enjoying the food so far!
Today, we ventured to Kisumu to buy cell phones and try the amazing tilapia fish! It was very hot and I think every one of us got burnt. We walked around the city and became accustomed to daily life in Kisumu. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant on Lake Victoria. When I say on Lake Victoria, I mean literally next to the lake, if you wanted you could walk into the water. We ate tilapia and ugali. When we came home we took a matatus that had 20 people it in! That evening we had dinner with William, and sat around talking and relaxing.
Our third day here in Mbale, Josh had planned a scavenger hunt around Mbale and Chakavali. The SID teams were spilt into 2 groups of five and four. We were taken into a random remote area within Mbale where we had not been before and had to find our way back to Mbale town and complete a series of tasks. While we all were unsure of the idea, it was very useful to learn how to use piki piki and matatus, and the prices of common foods. After a two hour scavenger hunt we headed to the Chief’s house to have lunch. It was a delicious lunch and welcoming into the community and his house. After lunch we played “hats” and 20 questions and then the rain came! Once we realized the rain was not stopping we decided to spend the night at the Chief’s house. We had dinner and played many rounds of Yueker and hearts.
I am sorry everyone for taking so long to finally post, I will try to post every few days so it is not this long every time! I should also mention, I AM LOVING IT! J