by Kalie McQuillen, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Abroad Participant in Kenya
It is my second day here in Kenya. I slept all through yesterday. I learned that I can’t sleep on airplanes. Today I met Julius and he took me to a local shopping center where I bought a prepaid phone, which I am considering a life saver as Internet and phone access is scarce. We went into the Ngong Hills where he lives. The hills are beautiful. Along the streets are many people walking and selling items. And these people are very daring while walking! And even more daring while driving!! He took me into the slums, and they were just that; slums. Trash was everywhere along the roads.
The weather here is actually rather chilly, with gray skies. It rained for a little while today. Tomorrow Julius is taking me to the city and other parts of the Ngong Hills. Then on Saturday I am going to a college graduation. Sunday there is a party for the graduation and then I finally get to go to the Tania Center.
It has been rather calm for me in Africa. I have been very homesick, as to be expected. I really just cant wait to actually go to the center and help.
Overall people are very friendly, but I am very aware that I stand out like a sore thumb here. That makes me a little uneasy, but I’m sure with time I will feel more comfortable here.
There are still many things that I have to get used to. Like right now for example, the electricity is out and this is not an uncommon occurrence. This morning I waited.. and waited… and waited some more for the shower water to warm up. Unfortunately my patience was in vain. I see how lucky I am to be an American citizen, we really live in luxury there.
The food has been good! Breakfast consists of bread and butter and fresh fruit. Lunch and dinner are usually lentils, cabbage and mashed potatoes (with bananas and other vegetables, these are my favorite) Dinner is served with ugali and basically you use your right hand as your fork then wash it following the meal.
I can already tell that family is of huge importance to these people. Its very refreshing to see families that stick together to help one another no matter what.