Thursday, December 16, 2010

From PCT -> PCV

I am now officially a Peace Corps Volunteer! I am so incredibly proud of myself and all my fellow volunteers. This has been an amazing week. Nairobi has reminded me so much of America and I have had a wonderful time. We arrived here on Sunday and got to the hotel which has private rooms, hot-ish showers, and free, slow-ish internet.

On Tuesday, I met my counter-part who is the person who will show me around my new home town, help me buy stuff and settle in, and introduce me to people. Her name is Grace and she is the assistant principle of my school. She is very nice and very nervous that I won't be able to handle Marsabit. I assured her I would be fine. I asked her about my house and she said, "It is.... modest". I am guessing that means small. But it does have electricity! Yay! I also enquired about Marsabit Town. It is up the slopes of the mountain and is green and cool, beautiful and moist. But, Grace said, I am not near the town, I am 15 km away. Where I am there is no rain and it is very hot. She was very concerned when she found out PC was sending a female volunteer to them because my house is 3 km from the school and I will have to walk. I assured her that I was stronger than I look. She said, "okay, but... it is very hot". I will probably buy a bicycle to make her feel better. My house is on the Catholic church compound. There is a Kenyan Father, a Mzungu (white) father, and a bunch of Indian nuns. There is a garden on the compound (I am very excited about this) where the nuns plant sukuma wiki and cabbage. I am going to try to have my own garden so I can grow garlic, zucchini, and as many herbs as I can. If anyone wants to send me seeds, I would love you forever.

On Tuesday night, I went to see Harry Potter at a local movie theater. I got a bucket of popcorn, a hotdog, a soda, a milkshake, and the ticket for $7.50 American. Not too shabby.

Wednesday was the Swearing in Ceremony. It was held at a fabulous mansion. The biggest house I have ever been in. These people were seriously rich. The kitchen alone could seriously fit the whole bottom floor of my American house inside it. And the garden was larger than anything I have seen outside a British castle. There was a picture on their wall of their 10 year old daughter with Nelson Mandela on his birthday. Amazing. The actual ceremony was outside and I wore my target dress, actual make-up, and even had gel for my hair. I look fantastic (compared to usual African me). We pledged our allegience to Peace Corps and swore a bunch of stuff that I don't remember. We got certificates, just like graduation. It was a hundred times better than my college graduation. My favorite part was when a ministry official stood up to officially accept us into his country and he told us he had been taught in secondary school by some Peace Corps Volunteers. He even remembered their names. He told us we could have no idea the impact we will have on the lives of our students. We are all very proud to be here.

After the ceremony, there was a Karibu Kenya cake, maybe 20 kinds of home baked cookies, tiramisu, real coffee, and juice with real, frozen ice. I ate one of everything and made myself very sick. Us, new volunteers, went home and had PCV naptime, then went shopping. Nakumatt is the greatest store on Earth. It is a cross between Heaven and America. It is larger than any Wal-mart, and has everything you could ever want from Kenya, or America, and stuff from Europe and Indian too. I spent almost a third of my moving in allowance. I bought a french press, coffee, olive oil, wine, cheese, ranch dressing, a new camera, and as many spices as I could carry. I also bought a duffle bag to carry it all in. It was the best shopping spree ever.

In the evening, we had pizza delivered (yeah, delivery is the greatest). Then we went out to a club. As PCVs, we have no curfew, so we stayed out till 2:30 am. In America, I loved going out dancing with friends. Sometimes there are creepos, and you usually have 5 or 6 friends. This bar had no creepos, the only guys we talked out outside our group were from Stanford. There were about 30 of us and we had an incredible time. Dancing and singing with 30 of the best people I have ever met. The best.

Everyone departed for their new homes early Thursday morning. There were a lot of tears, and I still am trying to not be sad. It was very hard to leave. The worst part is that I didn't actually leave. I am stranded in Nairobi with only Ana, who has bacterial gastroenteritis. I am annoyed and depressed. This is what happened. On Tuesday, I was stung or bit by something on my foot (I am going to say scorpion or deadly spider to make the story more interesting). It hurt a ton, bad, burning pain. But it only lasted 5 minutes and then I was fine, no swelling or itching. Then Thursday morning, I woke up in incredible pain. I had a delayed allergic reaction to the sting and my foot was hugely swollen and I could not even walk on it. My toes were all numb and my foot was completely freezing. I went to medical and they were all worried and decided to keep me here for a day to watch it. I took benedryl, ibuprofen, and steroids, and I was fine. But my ride to Marsabit left without me. So I am flying to Marsabit. Since it is in the middle of nowhere, flights only go up there once in a while. I am stranded until Tuesday. I am depressed and bored. Nairobi is only fun if you have friends to go out with and money to spend. Curtis has called me a couple times to tell me the road trip has been beautiful and they are getting two armed guards to escort them the rest of the way. He will be home in a few hours and gets to have a great adventure. Bastard. Oh well, TIA right?

I am going to go figure out something to do for the next few hours. I'll let you guys know whats going on. Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

Julie said...

I will send you seeds!!! So, how do you really feel about Nakumatt? LOL. Electricity!! Yay! That is awesome! I'm terribly sorry to hear about your foot sting! That was a complete downer, but hey I bet you brought some I bet you brought some peace to the sick girl that she wasn't the only one leaving a little later than the others. Plus, better to stay and heal up near Nakumatt right?!?!