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Heather: Back in Nairobi

January 24, 2010

We left Lake Nakuru around 7:30am on Saturday to head back to meet our host families. I was a little nervous because I had no idea what to expect. All everyone knew were their names, ages, and professions. Mama na dada yangu (my mom and sister) met me at the University along with another host family that lives in the same highrises as we do. That afternoon we just talked for awhile to get to know each other and then Irene (my sister), Jordan (another MSID student) and I walked across the street to check our Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa and the second largest in Africa. 2 million people live there. It was huge and seemed to go on forever! We had to be careful to watch where we stepped, or we could have landed in a “flying toilet” pile. For all you who don’t know slum-language, a flying toilet is when a person goes to the bathroom in a bag, and throws it out their window because they don’t have running water or electricty or anything of the sort. Hope you weren’t eating!

Anyways, after that, we took our first matatu ride into the city center. We walked around to get to know it a little better and we bought our Safaricom Internet Broadbands. And then could not figure out how to use it. Ugh. I finally just got it working today. I met baba yangu (my dad) when I got back to the apartment. He is a taxi driver and works a lot.

Today, my family and I went to church. I told them I wasn’t very religious, but I would go because I wanted to respect them and also see what a Kenyan church was like. We went to Nairobi Pentacostal Church. It seemed pretty much the same as a church in America. Oh, the preacher was talking about how everyone needed to get to know each other, and he said, “Get to know the people next to you; get to know the people behind you.” Well, the lady in front of me turned around, looked at me, made eye contact, and started laughing! Must have been because I’m white. Just kidding. But it really made me wonder why she was laughing!  I met kaka yangu (my brother) after church, but didn’t get to talk to him much because he went back to school.

When we got back to the apartment, Irene and I went to my friend’s so we could figure out the way to walk to school. It only took us about 30 minutes to get there, not too bad. After we found school, Irene left and Jordan and I went to meet two of our friends, Kiersten and Stosh. We successfully completed our first own matatu ride! Slightly terrifying. Actually, it wasn’t too bad. The four of us went to a coffee shop, then Nakumatt (a Walmart equivalent) to get school supplies, then we headed to a bar for some margaritas and pizza, and then we went to a different bar for some Tusker. Good stuff. The night was a lot of fun, and these guys are super fun so I think we’ll be doing a lot together throughout the semester. We’re planning on going to an orphanage next weekend where Kiersten previously worked to play with the kids, so hopefully that works out!

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