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What I love about Kenya today…

Someone very wise told me that she kept a journal of one thing she loved about her time abroad everyday and I thought it was an awesome idea. I’m pretty bad at editing webpages but I think a running list on this page should do the trick.

October

5th: Today I made guacamole for lunch with an avocado purchased on the street for $0.20.ย It was delicious ๐Ÿ™‚ My friend’s Nairobi home stay mom insists that Kenyans invented guacamole and Mexicans had nothing to do with it.

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6th: We had our last day of Swahili classes today! While it is sometimes still a struggle, I am really proud of how much I have learned in this past month.

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7th: My youngest host sister, Nuru, climbed into my lap tonight and smiled at me. Usually she will watch me read from across the room but I think we finally bonded!

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8th: Today was probably one of my favorite days. I hiked an inactive volcano called Mt. Longonot in Naivasha, Kenya! It was great to get out of the city and the scenery was absolutely beautiful.

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9th: Kenyan coffee is kick ass.

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10th: I spent extra time at home yesterday and bonded with my host mom! Who thought avoiding my paper would be such a good idea

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11th: I visited Kaizora today, the school for children with autism partnered with the Global Autism Project. I look forward to working on my independent study project with them ๐Ÿ™‚

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12th: I have been desensitized to African mud. I actually think I like it…After a trip to the local second hand market in the rain, my feet were entirely covered in squishy mud. Chacos are the best invention ever.

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13th: Kenyans hate this but the weather this week has felt like Fall. I was upset about missing it in Boston but the rainy season here is doing a good job.

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14th: My host mom and I are pretty sure my 11 month old sister said my name when I came home from school today. She is the best ๐Ÿ™‚

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15th: I met Obama’s “grandma” today. (His grandfather had two wives so this is like his step-grandma. But it was still cool)

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16th: Lake Victoria is incredible and I got to take a boat out on the lake with 5 great friends to see HIPPOS and watch the sunset.

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17th: The direct route from Kisumu to Nairobi was shut off so we got to take an unpaved longer route. This might have been my favorite part of the weekend and I’ve decided to move to Nyanza province, pitch a tent on the mountainside and look at that view everyday. Most beautiful place I have ever seen.

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18th: I had a real hamburger today. It tasted like heaven.

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19th: I successfully secured an apartment for my independent study period in November! It is probably the most beautiful place I will ever live and I get to share it with 5 amazing people ๐Ÿ™‚

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20th: It is a Kenyan national holiday today! October 20th, what used to be Kenyatta Day, is now Mashujaa Day under the new constitution. That means a day off from school in an internet cafe with great coffee. Will I work on my essay? We’ll see…

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21st: I felt like a student today and actually did work on my final paper. I am so used to working in a library at Tufts that it’s taken a while to find a new work spot and be productive. SUCCESS!

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22nd: I went to Kibera this morning with Caitlin and participated in the KICOSHEP Community Clean-Up! While Kibera is enormous and our 2 hours of work was a very small chunk of what needs to be cleaned up, it felt good to do some community service.

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23rd: I met an exiled Black Panther who has been living in Tanzania for the last 32 years doing service work in Arusha. Real hippies are cool.

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24th: Had a campfire with Maasai elders. Learned so much about their traditions and culture.

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25th: Made beaded bracelets with Maasai women! They are pretty ๐Ÿ™‚

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26th: Met one of the last groups of hunter gatherers in the world and got to shoot an arrow with them.

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27th: WENT ON SAFARI AND SAW ELEPHANTS. Google Ngorongoro Crater. It was incredible and I felt like I was in the Lion King

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28th: Attempted to go shopping for gifts in Arusha but actually almost drowned in the flash flood. The rain was SO cool.

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29th: Hiked Kilimanjaro to the first base camp! Definitely feeling sore but it was a beautiful hike.

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30th: Had banana walnut pancakes at a birthday brunch for one of my classmates. SO GOOD.

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31st: I went to Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha, Kenya with friends and got to hike into a really awesome gorge. The whole park was beautiful!

November

1st: Officially got my ISP approved! Time to set off on my own and get this project started!

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2nd: Moved into my very own apartment in Nairobi with 5 incredible roommates . We have a HUGE apartment and GREAT internet. Who knew?

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3rd: I made scrambled eggs for breakfast (American style) and washed my clothes in a legit washing machine. Living the lifeee

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4th: Can finally prove to my parents that I can cook great meals for myself and survive on my own. Mission accomplished.

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5th: My roommates are awesome. I knew this all along but spending ALL DAY EVERYDAY with them is actually great. Who knew ๐Ÿ˜‰

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6th: Celebrated Kelsey’s 21st birthday!!! It was so much fun and I am loving everything about living in Nairobi.

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7th: Had a meeting out past City Centre in Nairobi today and decided to be adventurous and get there by public transportation. If you’ve read my previous posts, that means a lot of walking and a lot of bargaining with crazy and unorganized matatus. Luckily Megan took the trip with me and it was a big success! I was even able to find my way back home by myself. Now I can say I’ve navigated public trans in 3 major international cities ๐Ÿ™‚

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8th: Went to Kariokor market and got two really pretty handbags made by the women there. We got pretty lost on the way there but eventually figured out how to get back…I think I can STILL say I can navigate Nairobi transit but I’m on thin ice haha

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9th: A day with no rain is a great day in Nairobi.

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10th: FULLY booked for Independent Study interviews next week. I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere!

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11th: Despite the historic 11/11/11 date, nothing particularly interesting happened to me on this dayย  other than experiencing the true expertise of Nairobi pick-pockets. On a happier note, my host sister turned 1 today!

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12th: Went to a meeting of Autism Awareness Kenya for my research and met wonderful parents and teachers working towards awareness and education for children with autism! They really encouraged my research and all want to help me out ๐Ÿ™‚

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13th: Making pizza for dinner from scratch…wish me luck!

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14th: People are starting to call ME to talk about my study on autism in Kenya instead of me calling them. I think that’s awesome.

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15th: Spent some time at a school for children with special needs in Kibera slum today. I made friends Johnny, an eight year old boy with autism. He came right over and sat in my lap and wouldn’t get up until I had to leave. Hopefully I can go back to the school and volunteer some time; the work they are doing had a big impact on me.

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16th: I spent my morning with an eleven year old girl with autism named Melissa at the school working with the non-profit I interned for. While she doesn’t have many language skills, we watched the Lion King together and she knew all the words. It was one of the best mornings I’ve had.

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17th: A day with no rain means a day sunbathing by the pool while I organize my interview notes. Can’t say I miss the Boston weather right now.

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18th: Going to a concert tonight!! Alex, Kelsey and I are going to see Lecrae tonight after Doug (my fellow Tufts in Kenya friend) recommended his music. It should be exciting after 2 full weeks of work and no play.

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19th: Successfully shopped in Nairobi’s second-hand market with Alex to find funny clothes for a party my apartment threw. I am sure there will be embarrassing photos on Facebook in no time.

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20th: Spent the day attempting to organize my paper so that is not so exciting BUT I talked to my favorite sister on the phone for about an hour ๐Ÿ™‚ I consider that a success.

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21st: STARTED WRITING UP MY INDEPENDENT STUDY! Let’s hope the ideas continue to flow…

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22nd: Visited a school for kids with developmental disabilities today and helped the school director brainstorm some thoughts for his career training model. He was wonderful and I see the school doing great things for their graduates!

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23rd: We have all learned to have a great time in a power outage. It’s an acquired skill ๐Ÿ˜‰

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24th: Had the best Kenyan Thanksgiving I could have ever imagined. Thankful for the friends I’ve made during my semester here for sure.

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25th: Another day in Nairobi with no power means finding a new place near our apartment to write our papers! A juice bar in Yaya Center down the road was the hidden gem of the day with awesome smoothies and an outlet for $2.

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26th: Getting the right price on a matatu instead of the mzungu price is a great great thing. Not for the 10 shilling difference but for the illusion that they believe I know what I’m doing and deserve the Kenyan rate ๐Ÿ™‚

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27th: Officially two weeks left until I land in New York City. Is this real life?

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28th: Went to the animal orphanage at Nairobi National Park! I have never seen so many cute baby animals in one place! While there were no elephants, the amount of lions we saw was a pretty awesome substitute.

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29th: My Independent Study Project on Autism in Kenya is OFFICIALLY complete ๐Ÿ™‚ 41 lovely pages later and I am really proud of my project and all of the things I got to see this month!

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30th: Went to this awesome bead factory with Alex to buy some gifts. Of course, it was a transportation adventure and I think we had over 20 people in a matatu made for 14. Gooood times.

December

1st: Celebrated Caitlin’s birthday today and got to see so many friends who just got back from ISP! It was a great night.

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2nd: Discovered I need to buy a new suitcase to come home with. I would call that a successful shopping trip

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3rd: Visited my Nairobi host family again and got to hang out with my 4 year old sister, Imani.

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4th: Got to Malindi! We are staying at an ACTUAL resort and I can’t believe how beautiful it is.

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5th: I sat on the beach for 2 hours today. Kenya has it going on

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6th: Italian food for dinner on a beach in Malindi. Reminds me of dad’s cooking.

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7th: Actually sat on a beach reading all day. Who said Kenya was cold and rainy this time of year?

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8th: Spent 12 hours in transit. The good news? I’m ready for my 24 hour trip to New York!

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9th: My last successful shopping trip at Toi Market consisted of an extra suitcase to come home with! Watch out New York, here I come!

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10th: AIRPORT TIME ๐Ÿ™‚ Kenya has been good to me but I’m ready to come home! Have to brace myself for this cold weather…

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