Tuesday, February 6, 2007


Sunday night we arrived to Nairobi, Kenya. For all those of you who were about to follow the instructions for getting visas on embassy websites, don't bother. Apparently US money orders are no good in Kenya. After much haggling in English and Ki Swahili, we found some USD and paid for our visas. Since our flight was delayed 3 hours, I arrived at Caroline and Nicodemus' house quite late, but they were gracious enough to wait up for me and still fed me upon arrival! Caroline, FYI, was the first director of WYA Africa, the founder of the region as it were, and as might be expected she is great. She and Nick have two beautiful babies; Victor is 18 months and Javier is 5 months. Javier looks like a little cabbage patch baby with his big, big eyes and cheeks, he is adorable. Victor is very energetic, active, loving, and somewhat shy at first although we started to bond when I showed him a couple new noises to make while playing with his red car.

Monday we rested! Our first day of rest since arriving to Africa! We met up at 10:30 to travel to Nyumbani Children's home. This is a home for HIV/AIDS orphans, most of the children are also HIV+. Nyumbani places the children into families of 8, with one mother to care for them. As the children get older, they are placed into residences where they learn to care for themselves and live as a community, still with access to everything Nyumbani has to offer including counselling. It is a beautiful place in all regards. It is clean and well cared for. On the grounds there is a playground and pre-school for the very small children, the older ones attend private schools nearby. They also have a cemetary on the grounds, so that those who die don't just vanish but are remembered by their friends. They've also recently started a project called Nyumbani village which will eventually be self-sustaining. A place where the elderly (grandparents) will live with their grandchildren (some biological, others adopted) and learn to recreate their lives. Initially they will be provided with clothes, food, housing, and taught the skills necessary to grow their own food and learn trades so they can work together to provide for themselves and live in communities instead of suffering stigma and discrimination because of HIV/AIDS.

We then went to Mamba Village where Mr. Beauttah, a member of the WYA Board of Directors, works. Mamba is Swahili for crocodile. It is a beautiful resort which houses crocodiles and ostriches, there is a lake in the center which is shaped as a map of Africa. We ate lunch there, and I sat in the sun and burnt without meaning to (I hope it becomes a tan, but we'll see). We had a chance to discuss all that had happened in Nigeria with Esther - the Director of Operations for Africa. While we were eating the general manager of Mamba village came and joined us, he'd heard there were important persons on-site, through Mr. Beauttah of course. Since he was under the age of 30 Esther invited him to become a donor and a member. We then told him about the WYA and he signed the charter! We work even on our days off!

Then we had a lovely dinner with the Beauttah family. Nick and Caroline were once again up even though I arrived late. I've only had two evenings to hang out, but they're wonderful. Nick is hilarious, and Caroline is dynamite, she also knows all the originals within the WYA so we've been able to spread all our respective information about various personages.

Today Ann and I went to the Masai Market here in Nairobi. Those Masai are phenomenal bargainers! Their initial prices are so outrageous, and since I'm terrible at math, I had difficulty translating the currency to see what would be reasonable in USD. With each time I bargained I got better, but there is still room to improve. Now I have a much better idea of how their bargaining style works, and with my last guy was able to be stickier with outrageous prices. They're so terrible, they say they will go down, but ask you to name what price you want to pay, so the first time I did and paid more than I wanted to. Then I learned to state an equally outrageous price back to them. The problem is, that what I consider to be cheap is still far more than I need to pay, now I want to go back and really become good at their game!

This evening, I am going to dinner with Winnie's family, Caroline and Nick, I'm very much looking forward to enjoying some Kenyan food and a relaxing evening. And... I'm finally caught up in the blog to where I am in life, rather than 4 days behind, what a triumph!

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