March 3rd is National If Pets Had Thumbs Day in the US and I am celebrating by posting a picture of my kitty cat back home who actually has thumbs! His name is Max and I love him so much!
Woke up alone. No surprise. There wasn’t any breakfast today so I had two cups of tea. I was determined to go to the market and get a phone today, then I got the great news that I would be staying in the slums alone today. My second day and I really am alone! When I asked about getting a phone the answer was pretty much, “Just walk around and ask people, then walk home.”
I actually had a good day at work but I got even more sunburned. After work a little boy stayed because his foot hurt. We looked at it and decided to go to the hospital. It was pretty funny because here I was carrying a small black kid and everyone kept letting me cut in line and I got to see the doctors super quick. “Super quick” as in it only took us four hours. He got plastered. Hahaha I laugh so hard at their English translations. He got a cast.
I was very nervous about having to walk around town alone but after having to stay in the hospital I was even more nervous because it was almost dark! Two of the teachers took the boy back to the slums while I was left to walk home. It is a miracle that I found a little shop to activate my cell phone, but the longer it took, the darker it got, and the worse I felt about my whole situation. But nonetheless, as I a typing this and you are reading this, I got home safely. Besides having kids yell at me and old men whistle at me.
On a brighter note, I saw two more new animals today: CAMALS! And my first little kitty cat I’ve seen in Africa! Tomorrow I hope to get to the supermarket to buy food because I am never fed here, and I am going to try to call my mom and the Roommate. I will also probably call the head coordinator and see about having me transferred to a place where people actually care about me.
So here’s the thing about worst case scenarios: I get them a lot. Today I realized the full extent of my situation. I don’t know how “I would like to be placed in the Orphanage program because that is where I can be the most useful considering my extensive background and natural understanding of children” could end me up with me being a farmer/cook. Sure I know how to start a fire, cook and clean, and I worked on a farm last summer, but how would they know this? I guess every little bit counts, but I feel that I can do a larger part to help out the thousands of orphaned children.
Last night I actually received roommates! They are both guys; one from Michigan and one from Canada. They seem super great (except sharing a room with two boys almost killed my nostrils last night) but they are working in a different place than I am so I am still all alone. After work today I got on the bus thinking I was heading home with someone I knew, but he got off in town and didn’t say anything to me. So there I was, again the white girl in Africa alone on a bus with a stranger taking me home. I don’t even know where I live, so I just had to trust the driver. When I eventually got home, the gate was locked and the driver drove away. White girl alone in an African alley.
Obviously someone let me in, but what the heck was going on in this place? I was told repeatedly that I would never be left alone and that I would be get a chance to exchange money, get a phone, and get water. None of this has happened. No one is talking to me or letting me know what’s going on and I’m quite sad about it. If it wasn’t for the Roommate and his amazing parents, I would have died by now. They will never understand how grateful I am now to have the water pump. It takes about 30 minutes to fill a 5 liter bottle (which I found in the corner of a room) and it tastes awful, but it is water. Glorious water!
With all this, and getting a sunburn, I still haven’t broken down yet. Sometimes I feel like crying but then I just feel nothing. I very much do not like this lack of feelings. I’m sad and I miss my home and my bed and my family and the Roommate. I miss the wonderful kids I’ve taken care of for years and I wish that I had never left them for strangers. I hope this will not turn out to be a five thousand dollar mistake. I will stay in this placement for a week and then decide how mad I am at my organizers and demand to be replaced.
Today was group orientation day where we learned about the language and history of Kenya, as well as rules/guidelines for volunteering and safety precautions. There were about 15 of us starting today, then we broke off into our program groups, and then our placements. I was the only person in my placement, which is about 2 hours outside of Nairobi. I am the only volunteer working with an orphanage located in the KCC Slum. I am the only volunteer working in the slums. I regret not watching Slum Dog Millionaire because I have no idea what to expect, but I think Snoop Dogg will be there.
I was driven to my host family’s house and I was taken aback by how beautiful the drive was. It was absolutely amazing. There were baboons, chickens, dogs, goats, cows, and donkeys walking along with a handful of people here and there. If I hadn’t slept most of the time, I probably would have seen giraffes and other safari animals. The landscape is breath-taking. I never thought I would be that person who is all “Africa in the Garden of Eden” –and I’m not, but there is something magical about this place. I vote evil sorcery.
I’ll have to give it a couple days before I decide how I feel about my situation- a white girl in Africa living in a slum by herself. Mom, I hope you’re not reading this, but as you are now, I am a strong, smart, and extremely capable person who has a keen sense of every situation and knows how to react appropriately. I’ve been raised extremely well and God wouldn’t have allowed me spend all my money and arrive safely in Africa if he knew something bad would happen. Roommate, you better be reading this also and not worrying too much. I miss you very much.
I walk off the airplane via stairs to the ground outside and then I took a bus to the actual airport building. Instantly I had to clear customs and obtain a VISA. The customs officials must really want white people volunteering here because they just looked at me and handed me all the papers I needed. As I was waiting in line, I realized the building was just a giant basement; cement floors, no windows, one camera aimed off in the distance with people coming and going as they pleased. I just got my bag and strolled on out past the security, then the police, and then some soldiers with huge guns. Ya’know, whatever. Another girl from the program and I were picked up by a stranger with a sign. I can’t believe no one else wanted the free candy he was offering in his van. Unfortunately he just took us to a host family’s house where we could spend the night before we knew where we were going to be staying. There was no candy so I went to bed.
I thought this recipe looked good so I used up all my gross bananas, which ended up with me doubling the recipe, and they turned out very well. The End.
They say the best revenge is happiness, success, moving on, etc. I say the best revenge is having an ex-boyfriends father tell you he misses the influence you had on his son who is now a total loser.
So yes, I am happy and successful, and I have moved on, but it’s always nice knowing I was one of the best things in someone’s life even after my heartbroken ass got kicked to the curb. And after this post I will never have to think about him again.
I suppose my last post about getting out of my comfort zone really worked. The past two days have been exhilarating and very satisfying which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t left my house.
One of my good friends accompanied me as a received a new tattoo, which was another profound experience on it’s own. Afterwards we were going to go out to eat but we couldn’t find the restaurant so we went to his apartment. Talking to his roommate, we discovered where the restaurant was and then the three of us went.
It was there that I realized that I had strong feelings towards this roommate. Later that night I expressed my feelings and they were fully reciprocated. I spent the night platonically at their apartment but the next day we had coffee and ended up spending the night not-so-platonically at my house.
Woah, slow down! I’ve known the roommate probably six years now and we have had interest in each other at differing times during that period. Besides taking advantage of our physical urges, we are taking the relationship casually. After all, becoming involved a month before I leave for Africa is not in my game plan.
The moral of this story is that great things can happen when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, and that happiness is always achievable after sadness.
Just put on pants and leave the house, Colleen.
Am I totally lame for missing my mommy? She left a couple days ago to send my sister off to college and she’ll be gone for a week. Meanwhile, I’m preparing to leave for Africa and I can’t help but thinking that this is how I will feel when I’m gone!
I don’t have the time or patience for feelings of loneliness. I Googled, “Not be Homesick” before I even realized I’m sitting in my home right now. What does that even mean?! Am I Mom-sick or Sister-sick? Maybe I’m just being a completely normal person for once and I’m just sad to see my little sister leave me.
I suppose it was different from my end when I moved out because I was in a new place with new people and new adventures. I hope this isn’t what I made my family go through when I was gone because this sucks.