We (Sasha and I) arrived in Nanyuki, Kenya a little over a week ago. Nanyuki is a 3.5 hour ride to the north of Nairobi, in Laikipia Province. Here are some crazy new things we've experienced in just a few short days. It's been a whirlwind, filled with lots of laughter to ease the ridiculousness.
1. Started an Internship with IMPACT
2. Overcome living with Goats
Before coming here, neither one of us could have said we had lived amongst chickens or goats or cows, but now we can. We are living in the guest house of a host family with three kids, ages 5, 8, and 12. So far, my favorite Kenyan friend is Florence, who is the nanny for the family and all around champion cook in the house. She's makes the best goat milk tea. Sasha and I have learned to cook a few things with her.
Our little cabin has no bathroom door, which has made us closer than ever. (Lol. Sorry Sasha.) But after one week here our cabin feels cozy and warm. We feel grateful to have running water, and we even have a gas stove to make meals. Although we kind-of live amongst creatures including shower spiders and mice in the rafters, the company doesn't bother us. Well, except for the morning rooster.
3. Accepted our identities as mzungus on the walk to work
Mzungu is "white person" in Swahili. From kids on the street yelling "mzungu mzungu mzungu!" to groups of guys trying to intimidate us to buy something at their shop with a chorus of "mzungu come!"s, we can't really get away from the fact we're not black. As one person told me, "You have no melanin." Thanks.
ESSENTIALLY we're an easy target for all things non-local. We can't exactly fit in inconspicuously. That means we hear LOTS of cat-calling on the way to work. (I'm writing a blog post about that soon. Cat-calling is shitty. Don't do it.) HOWEVER since people now recognize us, they've stopped bothering us so much on our 50 minute morning stroll since we're so good at pretending we don't hear them. We also get charged mzungu prices. But like, 60 cents for an avocado the size of my face is still a bargain so no complaints (avocados are actually the size of my face).
Our walks to work have been quite exciting. We start off with a rockin' view of Mt. Kenya in the distance, always passing herds of goats and sheep. We walk on uneven dirt/rock paths next to the main road, passing a billion kinyuzis (barber shops), street vendors selling fruit and clothing, and a man-powered car wash complete with large sponges. And of course little kids going to school. No pictures of them yet, but coming eventually.
Check it out^^^^^ It's Mount Kenya in the distance and we're going to climb it sometime next month YAY. Also, those are herds of goats. There are goats everywhere. I had soup today and there was probably goat in it. Who knows.
Also we realized quickly that the word "hotel" doesn't mean a place to sleep. We're not sure what it means. But a milk hotel sounds legit.
4. Rode a boda-boda and a tuk-tuk
The traffic in the streets is WILD. I have my international driver's license and I'm never going to use it here because people drive on the left side of the road, and also motorcycles weave in and out of cars like water dripping through rocks.
I'lI have to grab a photo of a tuk-tuk right away.
5. Tried FUN new foods
6. Mastered the Bucket-Shower
The trick for a shower spa day is to boil some hot water and mix it with the lukewarm water from the tap for a bucket of perfect temperature. Toilet seat not included.
7. Went to a 4 hour church service
It was a pentecostal service and people had the holy ghost in them and it was wild and loud. The collective energy was impressive. It felt like I was in a soccer stadium with people supporting their favorite sports team after a winning goal. Instead, I was in GCC Congregation in Nanyuki, Kenya, and the sports team was God, and the winning goal lasted over thirty minutes. And I was the only white person in sight.
FINAL NOTE: I went on the back of a motorcycle to get there. We sped through dirt streets winding around tin houses and a field of kale.
10/10 would recommend.
8. Became a bargain shopper
I needed a new shirt for work because my white ones are not withstanding the orange dust baths they get every day. I got one for $1 and the purple stripes are my groove. Sasha got a black shirt for $1.70 because she's bougie. No photos of the shirts, or the clothing stalls for that matter, but here's a veggie market we walked through and bought a palm sized piece of ginger and 3 carrots.
9. Got lost (multiple times)
10. Visited a hype organization for street kids
I have a tendency to think white expats always mess things up for locals. A few days ago I was proven wrong when we met this incredible guy who has lived here for the past 10 years creating a grassroots homeless shelter for street kids, and finding ways to get them into school. The first kid he sponsored ten years ago made it to the top of his class from the streets. The second kid did the same thing. The third kid too! So instead of returning home from his volunteering trip, he stayed in town for another decade creating this valuable organization. The organization has helped over 135 street kids make it through primary school. We visited the transition house, where some of the former orphans live. It was one of the most moving testaments to hopeful and collective action against suffering, yet also one of the sharpest reminders of ongoing real-world struggles.
11. Seen a camel on the street and a giant crab in the fridge
Seeing as we are surrounded by wildlife conservancies on all sides, with lions and zebras and giraffes, it's bizarre that we saw a camel. One day it was walking down the street. Maybe it's from Somalia? Who knows.
We also have a frozen giant crab in our freezer, stuck to the back of the freezer. We can't remove him, so we've decided to call him Marcus.
Unfortunately, no photos of the camel or of Marcus, but I do have a photo of a nice pub and a place for millionaire investors.
12. Was adopted by a dog
For clarity, we didn't adopt a dog, but it adopted us. His name is Survivor and we live in the cabin where some Norwegian visitor essentially mothered him for 6 months. So this dog automatically follows around any white people who stay in this cabin. Sasha loves him. I'm more ambivalent because I don't want fleas, but he's growing on me. He sleeps outside our door when we sleep.
13. Learned some Swahili
Obviously imma learn some kiswahili while we're here.
14. Went to the Equator
On our way into Nanyuki, our taxi driver let us stop at the equator which was BOMB because I lived in Ecuador and visited the equator in South America.
15. Enjoyed some interesting music choices
Can somebody please explain to me why Kenyans like country music? Sasha and I rode a taxi back home from the supermarket and this badass dude, who we thought would play hardrock, blasted country music with the most ridiculous bass I've ever heard. It was bumpin'.
Apart from the gospel heard in the church, Sasha and I also heard the most phenomenal impromptu concert at our gym. There was a man in a bright green t-shirt hyping up the dance moves and I think Sasha fell in love with his frog-like enthusiasm.
FINALLY we listened to Swahili happy birthday for Mac, our now 5 year old host bro.
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