Little Fish, Big Fishbowl

I made it to Kenya!

It’s already been a crazy, wonderful month and a lot has happened!
So from the beginning…

2 June
Amazing send off with my cousin in Las Vegas

3 June
First day of staging in Philadelphia. Met the other 38 amazing volunteers venturing with me.

4 June
The start of the journey. Philly to Amsterdam to Nairobi.

6 June
Arrived into Nairobi, checked into our hotel.

7-8 June
Living in “plush” accommodations during training (Hot showers and toilets. Three meals a days with chai breaks)

8 June
Things get real! First experience with the choo (pause for laughter).
Meeting host families today. My family consists of mom, dad, and 3 sisters. Up until this point I have been surrounded by my peers and PC officials, but as I was guided to the awaiting car which would take me to my new ” home,” my stomach sank. I watched as the Tea Tot hotel disappeared in the background, my new family and the car driver surrounding me, speaking in a language I hardly knew. This was it. The moment things got real. We made our way from the city center to Kenya Israel where the road turned to dirt and we bumbled our way deep into the middle of somewhere. The house was quaint. Chickens roaming free, the house cat lounging in the grass. The choose loomed to the left, best avoided for the moment. I was shown around, the living space was small compared to back home. My room was larger than expected, bed situated under the window, and a gap between the wall and ceiling between my room and sister’s room. This would be my new home until August. What a change.

9-now June
There is so much that has occurred I can’t wrap my mind around everything, let alone begin to give an accurate description. My daily routine consists of chai with mama in the morning, school promptly at 8. Language is first and goes between 2 and 4 hours. Technical training follows. Part of CED training is helping youth develop a small business idea. So far it has been productive, they have chosen to partake in the selling of kerosene.

The second weekend, 20 other volunteers experienced our first Kenyan hike. As experienced as I am hiking, the altitude change is something to get used to!

I traveled to Kisumu over the 4th of July and shadowed a current PCV, Stacy. It was a fun experience, except the 12 hour bus/matatu ride from Machakos. We sat in on VSL meetings, toured the current projects of her organization and explored a little of Kisumu, which is the third largest city in Kenya.

As of July 9 we officially have our site placements for the next 2 years!
I am going to the town of Bondo, which is in Western. My project is Grow Strong, a community nutrition organization. I am very excited to get a project that integrates my nutrition and business majors and correlates with my future Graduate school goals.

http://growstrong.org

This summary of my first month in Kenya is the most basic description and I hope to update with more comprehensive posts in the future! But through everything that has happened in the first month, one thought comes to mind …

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming “

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