Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kenya - Day 1

*Note. Internet terrible here. I'll try to update with pictures/more of my blog posts when I get back*

Finally in Kenya, and so far it has been nothing but a positive experience. Third world countries all have the same feel to them. You're on edge, feel gross, and are consistently hungry because I'm scared of the food. Kenya is no different…

You enter the Nairobi airport and you can tell how truly ghetto the country is. The airport is literally falling apart, with moss and mold growing just outside your visa application line. The visa papers were last modified in 1995. You go to baggage claim, where Kenyans are dumping baggage from the back of a pickup truck. Customs railed us on all of our equipment just to prove how corrupt the country really is. Oh, and that exchange rate? 80 to 1. Time to load up on the 1000 shilling bills…

We stayed the first night in a little place called Karen's Cottage. It is something of a quaint bed and breakfast. We got there at 2am after nearly 48 hours of travel, so falling asleep that night was not that hard. Woke up the next day to shooting beautiful foliage and birds chirping. This was day 1 of our mission at Tumaini.

The road there was a long one. 3 hours in a bus driving down sketchy roads and through slums was scary as all hell. There were portions where I had to hide my camera and lock the window in fear that someone might come up and steal me. That's third world though…so you gotta get use to it quick. We loaded up on food at the supermarket and took pics along the way, but nothing too major.

As we started getting closer to Tumaini, the land started getting more and more beautiful. Rolling green hills with farms dotted the landscape. Wildlife and rivers flowed freely. People just walked leisurely down the road. It was very peaceful.

We rolled up to Tumaini to no children because they were all at school. Setting up the cameras was quick and painless, and then the children came…

Rori really brought it all together with her compassion and genuine excitement to see all her children, and I shortly learned why. Within 5 minutes the are shaking your hand, introducing themselves to you and talking to you about everything. This evening, I met about 10+ kids on a personal basis, and hopefully I remember their names in the morning.

What really got me the most was how happy they were. Each of them were smiling from ear to ear hearing about my bland life. They liked talking to people, and they don't give up on life even though they have had it rough. I can safely say that I've fell in love with all of them. They have the biggest hearts and aren't afraid to share it with you. You just don't get that anywhere else for that matter.

As day 1 is officially over, I am at weird state of mind. I'll be very sad to say goodbye to my new friends, but I look forward to developing a bigger relationship with all of them over the course of the week. Time is arbritary, and for this mission to work it has to be. It'll change my life for the better…all I hope is that I find my place in this world, because I know how bitter it can be and how wonderful it really is.

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