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September 3, 2011

Greetings from Kenya! I arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon after a huge battle with Hurricane Irene and Swiss Airlines. I ended up cancelling my original flight, finagling a refund, and rebooking a flight for Tuesday morning through a different airline. However, I can officially say I have been to Dubai! I spent three hours there on a layover.

Orientation for my program took place in two different places, both Catholic run hostels in nice areas of the city equipped with running water, flush toilets and mosquito nets. Yesterday we also had our first two lectures, 4 hours of Swahili class and a health lecture about a center in Nairobi dealing with gender based violence. I am proving to be just as bad at Swahili as I am at other languages…but practice makes perfect! I know how to introduce myself and where I am from plus some basic greetings.

Today we took a bus tour of the city of Nairobi and I noticed a few things that have been around for the four days I’ve been here…

1. The soil here is the best shade of red I’ve ever seen

2. There is apparently no organized public garbage pick-up or regulation of trash so people burn their garbage. Unless you are in a nicer area, you can always smell it.

3. Pollution is BAD.

4. I am desperately hoping to ride in a matatu. The unofficial public transportation system in Kenya. They often look like a death trap and Kenya is prone to traffic accidents but I feel like it is a complete right of passage.

Right now I am blogging from the SIT office where I will be taking classes for the rest of the semester! We are all waiting for our homestay families to pick us up for a weekend of adjustments and introductions. Our homestay coordinators told me that my homestay mom works for a human rights organization and I have three little sisters! One is only 8 months old 🙂 I am super excited to meet them and will definitely post pictures soon. To tide you over, here is a picture of our whole group with the Kenyan skyline in the background!

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