Adventures from Here and There

First Time on A Plane October 16, 2012

Filed under: Projects in Countries — travelchokri @ 8:19 pm
Tags: , , ,

I arrived in Nairobi last Wednesday night. My first meal was eaten at Art Cafe. Then I headed to Nafisa’s, the friend from Tajikistan but has been working in Afghanistan but now in Kenya. I’ve written about her before.
Meetings in Nairobi went well and I stayed there over the weekend. It was so nice to see everyone again Thanks to those that made me feel like I was at home again. And omg, there are going to be so many babies soon!

Not much has changed otherwise, a few new buildings here and there. Tamambo, my favorite restaurant has shut down in Westlands. The expat scene has definitely grown since I was there last October. And the traffic is still madness!

I left for Mombasa on Sunday night and have been occupied by work since. I was out in the field yesterday, in Kinango looking at some of our literacy programmes. There were some good conversations with people in the communities and there seems to be a shift in perception on the importance of literacy and a greater sense of ownership of the libraries. Today, I engaged with staff from our different teams, in order to find out more about their early literacy initiatives, lessons learned to date, and the challenges they’ve experienced. As we expand this programme into the West Nile and Tanzania, it is important to document, share and discuss these elements, in order to go in with better insight.

One volunteer, an elderly man, shared a recent experience with me that I must write about. He lives in a village way inside Kinango. The drive was really rough this time in the pick up, as the roads are really bad, and then of course, as we got further in, there were no roads. Dirt and stone slates still embedded in the ground. My poor head and chest ached, as the seatbelt snapped against me a hundred times. Anyway, back to the older man. He was so energetic and lively, and a great leader to have in his village. He was given the opportunity to go to Nairobi by plane to talk about the literacy programme at a conference. It was his first time on a plane. When he and a few others traveling with him were in the air, he looked out the window, and he saw white everywhere. He asked his colleague what they were flying over, because whatever it was, had been covered with so much snow! He was referring to the clouds! What a great experience for him. At least he was able to sit on a plane once in this lifetime.

So usually, I am fine not having to release for hours…but yesterday in the field, I really had to go. There weren’t even any big trees, so I had to squat near a bush, watching out for any snakes, trying to make sure I didn’t spray my feet, and make sure that no one was within a few hundred metres of me…I’m sure someone saw me from a far! And to top it all off, I had forgotten my hand sanitizer.

Mombasa has definitely changed! New plazas, Java, Planet Yoghurt and many new apartments.

Back to the field tomorrow to do some home visits and chat with beneficiaries. Weather is beautiful right now. Not too hot. I don’t even need the ac on!


The Lost Underwear September 21, 2011

Filed under: Random Stuff — travelchokri @ 8:01 am
Tags: , ,
This is an old story, from Nairobi. It happened about a year and a half ago, during the Donyo Sabuk days.
Sunday was an early start, as I had an early night on Saturday. Still trying to fight my cold without any meds. As I was in the kitchen with Canadyen, we heard Madamemoiselle Francais and Blood Clot. The two of them were nearly breaking into Princess’ apartment. I opened the kitchen window, the sun still not completely out yet, enquring about their silly behaviour first thing in the morning. I needed my chai. I cannot function without it. But the two were so hysterical I wanted to know what was going on. Princess did not open his door. Either he had a ‘friend’ accompanying him from the night before, or he was too hung over.
The night before had been Fez and Barbie’s stag and doe. Cougar had made all the dinner preparations. The mad men and women all met at hers at 8pm. Prozac had bailed. Despite her ‘cold’ feeling, we thought she might have had another episode. Her buddy Valium did show up though, with Mr. Editor.
Getting back to M. Francais and Blood Clot, they told Canadyen and I that we must come down and see something. And so I slipped into my flip flops and ran down the stairs. Clothes were scattered all over the garden; underwear and shorts. A poor khaki was displaced in the gutter. Cougar stared out her first floor kitchen window, imprisoned by the blue bars, that protected her from the night before. They belonged to Crash. Crazy had thrown them out her window during their weekly domestic. We all suspected that Cougar was behind the fight, always trying to seduce Crash.
At 3am the night before the drama, we had heard the noise; drawers being thrown about, glass shattering, losts of cursing. I thought it was our Romanian boys, young and full of energy, at their usual Saturday nonsense.  
But we discovered later on in the morning, after following a trail of blood, that it was in Crazy’s place that the drama had occurred. After a few pictures, Canadyen was kind enough to pick up Crash’s underwear, not knowing whether they were clean or not. And before taking it away, he passed it on to Cougar for one final sniff. She caressed them close to her bossom. Princess finally awoke and joined us. Someone had left him another gift. This time they were yummy. Kenya stood from her balcony asking us what had happened. Drying her clothes on the balcony, she had first thought that the ones that had laid below her apartment belonged to her. She had missed all the action the night before, dancing away at some bar, not having a care.
The clothes were returned to the crime scene. I did not dare knock on the door, but left them outside. Maybe the pot stealing askari would find them and add them to his collection of things in the abandoned house. Cougar leaves in a week. We will be lost without her and all the drama that she has caused the last few months. But I am sure..there will be more.