Archive | October, 2008

Last week – Coast

31 Oct

Of course I couldn´t leave Kenya without travelling to the coast!

So we took a night bus on Friday to Mombasa, then Matatus to the South Coast and found a nice place to stay in Diani Beach. We relaxed some days, it was amazing: Chapati & fruits at the beach, chilling at the beach, walks around the beach. The unemployment in the area is rampant. There are more beachboys (locals who want to offer services or sell goods) than tourists. Because of the post-election violence in January and February a lot of travelling agencies from Europe took Kenya out of the programme for 2008.

You can order clothes, jewellery or food and within hours it will be specially manufactured for you and delivered on the beach. I even had my private kiswahili teacher over there 😉

When I say beach, i mean BEACH. The warm blue and green water, white sands, shells… wow!

We met two travellers from France which whom we spend some time. Visiting Mombasa itself was interesting: The town is soooo different from the westernised Nairobi! Strong Arabic and Indian influence in the old town, beautiful scenery at the coast. It was my first time to the Indian Ocean and definitely not the last one. So much to see there

And now please enjoy the pics, as promised!

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Last week but 1 – still working ;)

22 Oct

Although my internship ended last week, I am still busy with organising things for the primary school and supporting an entrepreneurial project.

For our lunch programme for the school we need to buy cooking equipment. Yesterday I went to some markets in fishy parts of town with Adah and Eva to get wholesale prices for food and cooking equipment. I love the way of negotiating… “See, now it is raining and we came all the way from South B, you can´t ask for 8000, how about 6500.”
We will close the deals today… Hopefully…

Also I try to support two of my friends in Mukuru with their entrepreneurial plans. We want to expand their small kiosk and build a wholesale for other shops in the slum. Getting loans, visiting the Ministry of land, registering at the Kenya Revenue Authority… a lot of traps are waiting for us.

Thursday is my first goodbye party at Jude´s house. Can´t start early enough, saying goodbye, I made sooooo many friends. I will miss them.

On Friday we will leave to the coast for 5 days. The Indian  Ocean around Mombasa has beautiful beaches… Finally relaxing 🙂

Last week but 2 – Mt. Kenya

18 Oct

On Saturday Benjamin arrived for my last three weeks. Three weeks only… And sooo much to see and to do. So many people to meet… Wow.

First we visited Mukuru together and gave some presents from Germany to the kids. (Picture 1, the rest is from Mt. Kenya)
The last four days we spent in the mountains in Central Kenya.  A friend at university had recommended us a guide to take us to the third highest peak of Mt. Kenya, the Point Lenana. We had our hiking shoes and some warm clothes and left Nairobi Tuesday morning. In Nanyuki we met our guide, the cook and the porter. Because the air gets pretty thin up there it is not a good idea for unsportive europeans to carry the luggage on their own 😉 The first day we hiked for 4 hours then arrived at Old Moses Camp (3300m) were we spend the night. On the second day we walked up to Shiptons Camp (4200m). Our guide told us a lot about the changing vegetation and the birds around. Always a good excuse to stop for some minutes to breath a bit 😉
On Thursday morning we left the camp at 3am (yes, AM) to reach the summit at sunrise. We had torches, but we were very lucky. It was full moon and it was a very clear night, so we didn´t need them at all. We climbed the last 700 meters (through snow and ice) and reached the Kenyan flag on the top (4985m) just around 6pm. An amazing experience and a wonderful view!!
I am sure you want to see pics… Later, we haven´t transferred them from the (second) camera yet.

Then we walked back to Old Moses (21 km in a day, 700 m up and 1700 down…) where we just fell asleep immediately 🙂

Friday we arrived back in the dusty and loud Nairobi and had nearly a culture shock in the traffic jam on Thika Road 😉

Short rains ;)

8 Oct

Did I mention the good weather?? tsts… Didn´t last long. The so-called short rains started. Meaning that it will rain for a month now and it cooled down to 17-20°C again… This Climate is just interesting.

I just wanted to say that my last week (at least of working) has come. There are still a lot of things to do, we will see how the week works out. After that I will travel to central Kenya and the coast for a week each and say good bye to everyone.

I just upload you some of the pics of the last weeks… invited for lunch in the slum, meeting friends at the uni, teaching in the secondary school, eating sugarcane, swimming at a semi-sunny but hot day, hiking at Ngong Hills and at a Hip-Hop concert…

Finally summer :)

1 Oct

Finally summer!! For the last two weeks we had basically blue sky and a freaking heat (less than 30 degrees though and a nice cool breeze). Sandals only, no pullovers anymore, beer in the evening, wonderful 🙂 Yes, I got a nice tan already. And I burned my feet, because I forgot the sunscreen… But my feet look tanned anyways, because of all the dust in the city and the slums 😉

Tuesday

Yesterday I went to extend my visa and to register as an alien at the office of immigration. That took me quite a while, 22 Euros and I had to leave my fingerprints… 10 of them. Tststs, different places, different approaches. I wanted a friend who is a matatu conductor to show me a special market where I could buy things but I wasnt able to make it because I had to prepare my class for the secondary school.

For lunch I was invited at a friends place in the slum. They have a kiosk there in which they actually live. They prepared rice and ndengu stew (Linseneintopf) for me, delicious. I was feeding one of the neighbours daughter, Kasani, she is sooooo sweet. Will upload the pics later.

Then I met the headmaster of the primary school to discuss the budget. Thanks to the efforts of my dad and some of his colleagues who collected some money at their workplace in Hanau we will be able to finally build a kitchen or at least provide lunch for the kids. This will take a thorough planning and some calculations though 😉 We will have to check the cheapest places to buy building materials and school books etc.

Then I met my secondary students. We discussed a newspaper article that was written from the perspective of a 60 year old and full of good advice to 16 year olds… Interesting, how culture and the role of family influence the way the students appreciate such a letter. In Germany students would be more critical, for sure. My students agreed that they would love to receive such a letter from their dad with good advice for their life.

In the evening I met my friends in Kayaba to discuss the strategy for the fundraising for their project. Then I was invited for dinner, Ugali (Maismehl in Wasser gequollen) and green spinache-alike vegies with tomaties. I left the slum at nine to go back to the city. That was too late to take the direct way through the industrial area, even together with kenyans… I could have stayed with the family, of course they invited me. I told you they are all very hospitable. But I was not prepared. Next time I am carrying my toothbrush and the box for the lenses… I really would like to have a night “in the ghetto” as they say, to give me “the full experience”. Interesting wording they use themselves…

But so I headed back to town, walked from the one bus stop to the other to just get one of the last matatus (before 10). Suddenly someone jumped off a bypassing matatu and ran towards me. In that part of town not a coool thing especially after 8pm… But guess what: it was my friend George on his night shift. So he missed that tour of his matatu (there are two more conductors per bus) and brought me to my stage. On the way I was again told funny stories about the “matatu business”, introduced to some police men who were just in the process of ‘arresting” some conductors who had broken some traffic rule, shook hands of both cops and arrestees (does that word exist??). Funny funny.

After a whole pineapple for 2nd dinner i fell asleep 🙂

Today

Today we have a holiday, Ramadhan is finally over… All our muslim friends will celebrate with their families and friends. Went shopping for my family (driving on the left side, yiiehaa!), and will go swimming in the afternoon. Need to organise some students for the career day in the secondary school and which working environment is nicer than a sunny place at a swimming pool 🙂

Happy Eid ul-Fitr!

As I said, pictures will come. See you 🙂