Sunday, November 30, 2008

Almost done!

Today we begin Week 6 of placement and I can't believe how quickly things are going! Only two weeks left, and really they are only 4-day weeks since we are travelling both weekends that we have left, and have taken Friday off. Aaron will be here soon and I'm so excited to see him. It's a little sad to be almost finished all my work here in Kenya, but that is overshadowed by my excitement to begin travelling and be with Aaron again.

Just a short note today, but will update again when I begin the adventure portion of this great trip to Africa!

Take care,

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Getting around here is quite interesting and I thought it deserved an entry of it's own. To get from village to village we take what is called a Matatu. In kiswahili the word means, "problem". They are 14 passenger mini-vans who are kind of like city buses, but not really. Everyone squishes in and you sit where you can, even if that means on a board between two seats (I refuse to sit on anyting except a proper seat). The capacity is 14 people + driver. So far, the record number of people that we have contained has been 26 total. This meant squishing 4-5 people per row (meant to sit 3), and having 4-5 people standing with the sliding door open and holding on for dear life. It is quite the experience. No worries about safety thought, if we ever feel unsafe we just request a stop (there are no official stops) and pick up the next Matatu.

The roads are bumpy and awful, so when all squished in together and traversing the rough roads (sports bra required ladies!) we receive complimentary "African massages" lol. They have quite the sense of humour here.

That's my food for thought today.

Take care! xoxoxo


Friday, November 21, 2008


I have come to realize the amount that I rely on technology at home, and although I am quite connected with everyone at home through SMS texting, email, phone calls, and my blog, it still isn't enough. Sometimes texts don't come through, and the phone reception isn't the greatest at times (overcast days, indoors, etc...). Also, for some reason the internet becomes painfully slow once the clock hits 12:00 noon. I feel it is good for me as I can't access everything as often or as quickly as I would like, but it is also so frustrating at times.

So, I have tried to step back and stop and think about my thoughts and why I am so frustrated. And I realize it is because at home I have access to unlimited technology at any time of day without issue. Here, I have to plan my access to internet by making a day trip into town and being incredibally patient with the slow, slow, slooooow computers and internet. Phone calls need to be strategic since the time difference to home is 8 hours and prime calling time for me means everyone at home is asleep or at work. Prime calling time for everyone at home means it is dark here with bad reception.

I am dealing though, and time is going so fast that before I know it, I will back in the land of instant, 24/7 availability, and it might be a little overwhelming at first, but I am looking forward to it nonetheless.

That's it for now, I'm at the end of my patience for today and am going to go grab some lunch and hopefully a beer (Tusker is the Kenyan beer of popularity - you should try it!)

Love always,

Saturday, November 8, 2008

White Girl!

It is a strange feeling to be an obvious minority when going about town. Since we are so rural, there are very few "muzungos" (white people) in our area. Emma and I go for a walk each morning before "tea" (breakfast) and the children all shout MUZUNGO! We cannot leave the compound without being noticed.

Anytime we try to take a matatu, the drivers argue over who gets to drive us to our destination, and our row of seats always fill up first (which is rather frustrating because the ride is squishy as is, so it would be nice to fill the empty seats first).

Mary at the clinic asked us, if she were to come to visit us in Canada would the children run up to her and shout "BLACK WOMAN!" which made us laugh quite heartily. Because of course not! Canada is so multicultural, but here everyone is Kenyan and black. So it's a strange feeling to not be able to just go for a walk anonymously. Everyone wants to greet us and we shake hands with hundreds of people every day as that is the way of greeting each other here. Sometimes people bow to us as though we are of higher class than them which makes me a little sad.

I'm not sure if it will be any different the longer we are here, but it is a really strange feeling that I am not used to. I now have a new perspective on what it must be like to arrive in Canada, knowing nobody and feeling like a complete outsider by not knowing the customs or the language.

Just some food for thought.

Hope all is well at home. Today at home, next time you enter a public place - TTC, supermarket, etc...imagine that the people all turn and stare at you! It's quite the experience.



Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama Day

Hello everyone!

I am doing well here in Kenya. The Kenyan people have been watching the American politics very closely over the past weeks, and everyone has been rooting for Obama. He's from Kenya, ya know. Emma and I have been stopped in the street and asked why we are in Kenya when we should be in America, voting! We just laugh and say we are from Canada.

When Obama won, the celebrations came out here with a bang! There are parties on the street, music and people dancing, and trucks driving around with sound systems and people dancing on them - travelling dance parties as such. The President of Kenya declared today a public holiday so that all people can have enough time to celebrate Obama's success.

When watching the news today, there were reports of "Obama Babies" - many babies born today are being named Obama, Barock, and Michelle. I think it's hilarious! As we are white people, the Kenyan people all shout OBAMA!! at us as we travel through town. It's good for a laugh.

I hope the celebrations are as good at home as they are here. It is Obama craziness. In the hospital, there are posters of Obama and Michelle at an HIV clinic, with the caption saying "Obama and his wife know their status - do you know yours??". And there are matatus with big pictures of Obama plastered to them. Emma and I just chuckle to ourselves. We have taken some pictures of the ones we find really funny, like the HIV poster, but unfortunately, this computer does not have USB so I cannot upload them to share. Maybe on Saturday we will find an Internet Cafe with USB.

That's it for now!

Love always, take care wherever in the world you are!