Kenya pt. 3
The weekend after Outreach was the last one for the other guy. He spent his time finalizing plans and saying goodbyes. We went and saw one more match of the Kibera boys’ soccer team but I over slept taking an afternoon nap and missed out on the chance to get some drinks together at a pub in Kibera. That was supposed to be quite a cultural experience. Then Monday came and he was off back to New Zealand.
School that week was a bit odd since only the same two students plus one more showed up for the last three days of classes. The weather had improved so we expected more to come, unfortunately, they stayed home. The student I met is older than the others at seventeen. She does have a good work ethic, but has a learning disability which means she speaks almost no English, very little Swahili and struggles doing more than workbook exercises. The teacher often had to ask the other students to translate when she spoke to him because he does not speak the dialect she does. She also was going through some changes in temperment, which meant long periods of silence from her. She can be really enthusiastic and helpful around the school when in a good mood, though. After school on Wednesday, the last day of classes, the teacher and I took a trip over to the national curriculum development offices to buy a Kiswahili sign language dictionary for the school. We also got bus tickets for myself and another volunteer to go to Mombasa, then tried to get my old phone from Korea to work for him. We got it working but the battery just does not hold a charge very long. Maybe he was able to get a new battery later.
The house was not completely empty during the week, even without the other guy gone, since more sickies were showing up everyday. One person had bronchitis, another was recovering from a bite from a lyme disease infected tick, so on and so forth. It got to the point where I was a little disappointed to not have an empty house when I got back from school everyday. By Wednesday, though, everyone was gone just in time for the new group of volunteers to start showing up. The first (and only one I met that week) was from Mississippi. It was her first time outside of the U.S. which was a red flag, but she had experience doing volunteer work in the Delta so I figured she would be alright. She came out to New Beginnings on the last day when the students were not there but the teacher and director were packing things up. Unfortunately, between jet lag, no time for food, and her malaria medication she struggled in the morning. I led her over to the mall and cafe for some comfort food before convincing her to watch Deadpool for the first time (maybe the fourth time for me). Later when the volunteer going to Mombasa with me showed up, we all played Rummy together until it was time for our overnight bus to leave. I had to hunt down the new volunteer to say goodbye, because she was hiding, and wish her luck wherever she ended up.
Leaving town right after New Beginnings went on holiday left me in a bit of limbo while waiting for a new placement. The fact that I was leaving Nairobi without knowing what my new placement was going to be did not bother me. I knew the new volunteers had to get arranged before I could figure out what was going on. Unfortunately, the same guy organizing those placements was also the only one with all the info about Mombasa we needed and worse still, a relative of his died so he had to turn off his phone and attend services for a couple of days. Radio silence on his end meant confusion on mine as I got the wrong phone number for the Mombasa volunteer house from another member of the staff and nobody could give me some general directions. Then arriving in Mombasa at 7 a.m. in the middle of a storm made matters even worse. At least with nice weather would have meant we could head to the beach while waiting for the correct information. Instead we had to sit at a market to stay dry and miserable. The information did finally make it’s way to us and soon we were in the Mombasa house. The weather turned a bit nicer, so I went straight back out to the beach. Diani Beach in Mombasa, Kenya, has some beautiful white sand and covers a long stretch of the seaside. Hardly anyone is around during low season, too, which gave me plenty of space to myself. Unfortunately, the local ‘beach boys’ were constantly coming up to me and trying to sell something or ask me to visit their shop or start a conversation with no end in sight. I barely had ten minutes without one of them approaching me. I seriously wanted to smack them or make a big sign with a giant middle finger to get the idea across that I am not in the mood. The afternoon went by like that until I finally gave up and went back to the volunteer house where I got some food and talked with the people at the house. They were a lively bunch with the house mom having two of her sons and their families living in a house that had a large courtyard in the middle. I played with the kids while trying to hold a conversation with the adults that was as much talking as it was body language. We all danced and sang until the sun started to go down, so I went lay down for a bit. I did not wake up until the next morning. See I do not sleep well in moving vehicles, so an overnight bus was pretty hard for me and with everything else going on I was exhausted.
The next day was Saturday and my plan was to go to the beach for as long as possible. The other volunteer wanted to take the bus back to Nairobi that night, so we went into town for the morning and bought the tickets. Then we headed over to Diani for a few hours. The end of the beach we went to ended up being a little mor peaceful than the previous day. The weather also broke which made for a great day to be lounging next to the sea. In the early afternoon we headed back to have a late lunch/early dinner before heading back into town before the sunset and the Saturday night crowd started partying. Another rough night of loud music, horns, headlights coming at us, and general stiffness meant I was never so happy to be in Nairobi. I had also found out that I was assigned to Kitengela, just outside of Nairobi, at a rescue center for children. Kitengela happened to be the same place where the new volunteer I met a few days before was placed also, so at least I was going to know someone which made me happy.
Kenya pt. 3