This is Africa!
Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
88Trip End Sep 26, 2010
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I had a bit of a scare at Jomo Kenyatta airport as my backpack took about two hours to show up at the baggage claim but eventually it arrived. I met my contact at the airport and was driven to my host family. My host family is wonderful: it is a young couple (Karimi & Rahab) with a baby (Sasha) and two guys (Jau & Mash) about my age. I get along with everyone very well. I spent the first few days getting settled in and adjusting to my new surroundings. I caught up on a lot of sleep. I also found it very chilly here. It is quite a change going from humid 35+ temperatures to overcast and cloudy 20s during the day and below 20 at night. This is because it is winter here. I am still not too cold but I am amused at Africans wearing snow jackets when it is 18 degrees out at night
After a few days of being in Nairobi, I venture out to Nairobi National Park. I take the matatus to get there (more on those later) When I get to the park, I decide to go on a Safari Walk. I see ostriches, pygmy hippos, lions, a cheetah, leopards, rhinos, gazelles, and the elusive (and rare!) white and brown zebra. I even manage to be there during the feeding time for the leopard and I get to watch as he climbs down from an impossibly high tree to grab a huge chunk of meat and take it back up the tree. Pretty awesome. A good day.
A little about African life: The food here is very enjoyable. Most meals consist of vegetables (cabbage, carrots, onions) meat (usually beef) and a starch. Sometimes it is mashed potatoes, but usually it is chapatti or ugali. Ugali is a mixture of maize flour and water mixed to a level where it sticks together and you have it with your hands in little pieces, using the pieces to pick up vegetables or meat. Africans also love tea, many times a day, so I have been taking tea quite often.
Nairobi is a pretty crazy place
The people here are very friendly. Everyone seems to go out of their way to say hello to me, to welcome me to Kenya, to make sure I am having a good time and I am alright. Nairobi is a very nice place during the day, but a can be quite dodgy at night so I have to be careful but my host family has done a good job looking after me and making sure I am safe.
My arrival here in Africa has also coincided with the start of the World Cup
The matatus I referred to earlier: These are essentially minivans with 14 tiny seats for passengers. These vehicles are always beat up, old, and they BLAST hip hop music out of their tinny old speakers. Africans use these to get around the city at very cheap prices. Mats, as they are called, are everywhere and they zoom past you on the road every few seconds. They have the craziest drivers and the ones playing the loudest music are most popular. To get somewhere, you just flag one down in the direction you are traveling, yell where you are going to the door operator over the music, and squeeze into one of the tiny seats in the back. Then they drop you off when you get there. Really quite a bizarre way to travel for me, but it is the norm here, as mats outnumber taxis probably twenty to one.
After I took some time to get accustomed to the city and the way of life here, I managed to find a volunteer opportunity at a local school here called Nairobi School
After my week at Nairobi School, my host family had planned a trip to Lake Nakuru for the weekend so I was looking forward to that.