Drive My Car
July 5, 2010, 2:37 PM
Filed under: TRIP SHENANIGANS (Kenya 2010)

Written 6/21/10

Hey friends.

I heart Mombasa. The city has such an “old town” feel to it, and the Arab influence is extremely noticeable. It was a wonderful experience, especially since I have not yet been introduced to physical aspects of that culture before. We were in Mombasa only briefly, enough to wander around Fort Jesus, a few markets to buy khangas (skirt/cloth wraps that women wear in Kayafungo, they are absolutely beautiful patterns), and frequent a few bars to watch some World Cup games. I was just anxious because the next day was going to be our transfer to Miriakani, a town near the community I would be working in, and then finally, Kayafungo itself.

We all piled into vans and drove to Miriakani to dump our things at Weigh Bridge Inn, the motel where all of the GDIs and staff stay for two days out of the week while we work in Kayafungo. This place is like a little oasis with toilets. That’s all I could ask for. Plus, after spending a week in the community, coming back here feels like coming home in a bizarre sort of way. Can’t complain!

Our first foray into Kayafungo was quite the experience. We really made a great first impression, let me tell you. Lily wanted to show us the past development projects in Kayafungo, plus let us have a mental picture of where we were going before our work began that coming Wednesday. We visited the first project, Gogoruhe Primary School, which was built last year by ThinkImpact. The way to the school was treacherous because the recent rains utterly destroyed the dirt roads. Our matatu was stuck for 45 minutes on our way there. Finally reaching the school, I was really impressed. The kids are adorable and have such a thirst to learn. The headmaster and teachers are extremely inspiring individuals who are eager to help their students improve. It was a wonderful visit and furthered my anticipation to meet more community members in the coming days.

On our drive out, both of our matatus got stuck about 200 yards from the school. Not just stuck, but basically immovable. It was hilarious at first, given our previous forays with matatus a few hours previous, but it quickly became more serious as the daylight began to wane and we could not free our van. I occupied myself with entertaining some school children (because the entire school left class to help us free our vans; even random community members walked from their homesteads to offer suggestions or a helping hand, probably like 200 people in all) and teaching them the chicken dance. Someone finally freed one matatu around 6:30pm when the sun was setting (mind you, we were there since like 1pm), and we needed the light to see the road. Lily decided to have all 22 of us pile into the one working matatu and leave, and we would come back in the morning to deal with the broken/stuck one. I honestly laughed so hard that I cried.

The next day would be the last day our group was all together before we split up into our homestay groups and begin working with the curriculum. I was really ready to stop moving around so much and finally be in one place for more than two days. It would be nice to also not have to ride in a matatu for a couple of days; those vans and roads can make anyone sick. I don’t know how Rasta, our fearless matatu driver, learned to navigate the Kayafungo dirt roads.

New post on my homestay and community experience to come soon!




1 Comment so far
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Arianna; Iam soooo proud of you and your accomplishments, Have the time of your life and can’t wait to see you and talk to you about your trip

Comment by Jeff Pattek

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