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*finally here & still so far to go

Dearest friends,

I have been pestered by more than one of you to put a blog up now that I am here. Truth be told, I wrote one yesterday, but it was so lame I never posted it. It went something like:

This flight was good, this was also good, I got here okay, I met some people, I tried to sleep.. Etcetera, etcetera.

In reality, my first two days here in Kenya have been a whirlwind. I certainly didn’t expect to travel so soon, but I snuck out to Naivosha today, courtesy of some Chapel friends. (More on this later.) Here are some of my first thoughts, experiences, and observations. (Which I’m sorry.. I can’t fathom them into constellations so you will have to suffer through bullet points. Shameless TFIOS plug there.)

– I am REALLY bad at being assertive in unfamiliar places. I never got up on the planes, not once to use the washrooms or stretch my legs. This includes one 4.5 hour and two seven hour flights. Whenever I found myself becoming uncomfortable, I simply coerced my body back to sleep rather than asking my fellow passenger (whom was blocking my way to the aisle) to move over half an inch to let me out. Ridiculous, and something I will have to work on.

– There is a dog outside my window that barks all night and I have never felt so unsympathetic to a creature before. Ha. Sleeping here is hard right now, because of many factors, I think.. Jet lag and a new bed just being among the few. It is also unbelievably hot. I mean it’s not really, because I know how hot Texas was, so I should really be grateful, but coming out of the early spring temps in Edmonton and being plopped right into a humid 25 is a little difficult. I think I may invest in a fan if I can not adapt soon, else Kenya will be introduced to my sleep deprived self and nooo one wants that hehe.

– Kenyans are a rambunctious sort. I have found this, perhaps, to be the most challenging in the last few days. I am not used to talking for 24 hours straight, and honestly their accents are really hard for me to keep up with, especially when there is more than one person talking at me at once. They speak rapidly, with rich vowels and rounded ‘r’s. I envy their accent, it is so beautiful, and I look forward to actually understanding it in the future haha. Mostly though, their being loud and talkative incessantly is a little much for me to handle at times. I wish I were more of a people person! Maybe this will force me into it a bit more.

– Kenyans LOVE cake. Noni, my host sister, has carried on for at least three hours in total about cake since I’ve been here, and I’ve caught her eating it twice, once for breakfast and later for lunch! Today, Andrew, (from Boston, I’ll explain later) brought a whole cake along to Naivosha and Peter, Manicah, and Grace (all Kenyan) ate the whole thing on the way there, just passing it around between them.

– It rained for the first time tonight, starting around 5:30 or so, and still going at 10:30. It has cooled everything down, and I think I will sleep easier tonight yayy. It’s also just very calming to listen to.

– African time is a real thing. Yesterday I was told, “Probably 2 or so?” and it actually turned out to be 9:30 haha. This morning Andrew told Peter and the others 6:30, and they showed around 7:15 or so, and I’m not quite sure when we actually left, it took them a while to get situated hehe. (;

– Noni took me to Junction, the mall closest to our home, yesterday to try and get my phone sorted out (which we couldn’t unfortunately, we will try again tomorrow). You have to go through a security check point at the entrance to the parking lot, where they check your bag and scan you for, well weapons, I would assume, and then again to get into the mall, and then there are guards, sometimes several, in every shop.

– People here have two names, their Kenyan names and their English names.. I find this quite confusing, as they are interchangeable. Person A can talk to person B about person C by addressing C with one name, while person B will respond, still talking about person C, but using their other name. Noni has a friend who’s Kenyan name is Noni, like her, and her English name is Maggie, like me. Noni & Noni call each other “Namesake” as a nick name, and now Noni/Maggie calls me Namesake as well. I will also receive a Kenyan name, but seriously, the way they say “Maggie” (it almost sounds like “Magee” but with a deep “a” sound”) is cool enough haha.

– I kept extending my hand for a handshake until Noni finally instructed me to hug everyone, since that is what they want. It makes me slightly uncomfortable, as Canadians don’t typically touch as much when you first meet someone, but I am trying to overcome this hahah.

– My brain has been exhausted these last few days. Andrew pointed out that our minds never rest because they are constantly interpreting what is foreign, and I think that is the best explanation for it. Andrew helped me prepare back home by providing some useful information about what it is like to live here as a North American. He initiated our trip to Naivosha, which I’m so grateful I was able to go on, and has been helping me with my transition, which I am also really grateful for.

– My host family could not be more perfect, they are so low key and easy going. Noni is a lot like Emma, which makes me somewhat homesick, but in other ways they are nothing alike, which helps combat it all. (: Noni is in the process of changing schools, because she wants her best shot to getting into a good university, she never stops talking, she is always trying to get a laugh out of me, and she is beautiful! We both love superhero movies (which by the way, you can get movies here for like, 100 bob or less.. which is maybe more than a loonie on a bad day, haha!), books, and music.

– Kenyans are really aware and proud of their histories. Many of them are very knowledgable about the roots of cities and etc, and it has been interesting to learn these tidbits.

– Naivosha was really amazing. I will post some photos because I am all out of words for now and I really want to sleep! But I will say that it was surreal to see these creatures up close. We were able to tour through a park for a few hours and see a great variety of animals. (Similar to the idea of like, Jasper, just more.. “roughing it” than that.. But as far as driving through, observing wildlife, and etc..) We hiked/walked through this gorge thing for a few hours, then we tried to catch a boat ride on Lake Naivosha, but the locals were way over charging and we were tired anyway, so we sorta chilled at the lake front for a bit, caught sight of a hippo (freaky. I don’t like those.) and then headed on home.

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They call these guys ‘z-eh-bras’ not zeeebras like us. Again, everything sounds cooler here.

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These were so cheeky haha. They struck these awesome poses and then would run off.

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From left to right: Grace, Andrew, Peter, and Manicah. (:

the end! I will try and keep y’all posted in the weeks to come. please continue praying. (:

much love and many blessings,

m

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