Monday, December 22, 2008

Entry of Extreme Lateness

So...seeing as I haven't updated in eight years, I'm going to do some serious condensing of the last month. I'm avoiding the contemplativev last entry thing for next time, as this will get too long, but here's an update on life. It has certainly been a month.

1. Thanksgiving

We went to Tanzania over Thanksgiving weekend, giving ourselves the day off from school on Thursday, and in the process missing our last day of classes...good thing they were a waste of my time or I might feel bad.

The bus ended up taking six hours instead of four, but it was nice and clean and had no problems. We got there in time on Thursday to see the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) in session, which was really awesome. They allow you to observe the trials in waiting rooms off the side of the court room on headphones. It was just really cool to see it in actual practice.

The next day met up with Heifer International, an NGO that Allie works for in the States, and toured some of their projects in the Arusha area. It was also really cool. We drove probably half way up Mt Meru, the mountain on the skirts of Arusha to visit this women’s cooperative that received a dairy cow from Heifer about five years ago and now have four and are producing milk and cheese for the entire area. Everyone was just so happy and welcoming, and the area was so beautiful. All of the farming around was terraced in the mountains and there were banana tress everywhere and everything was green and lush and amazing. It was also just awesome to see what some people can do with a little push, such as a dairy cow. These women had gone from being unable to provide for themselves to having such a surplus that they had to start making cheese just to use all the milk. And all it took was a cow.

2. Finals
The week following Thanksgiving was not particularly fun. I was so tired by that point, that I had very little motivation to do anything at all, which was probably not a good thing. I think I did pretty poorly on everything I was tested on or turned in that week. I haven’t gotten any grades back, so it’s unclear, but it’s kind of worrisome. I’ve put it out of my head for the time being as I don’t want to be stressed on my vacation time, but I did extremely poorly on my Swahili final. I don’t even know what I would do about that, because it was such a bad class and the final was completely unreasonable. I hate that something that matters so little in my life, and helped me so little even in this semester could be so damaging to my GPA. It was partially my fault, I didn’t study enough, and I know that, but it was also a really poorly taught class, and a completely unreasonable final, and that irritates me. It’s done, and I’m not going to think about it now, but it is still really annoying.

3. The Coast

Then we left for the coast after a weekend of doing touristy things in Nairobi. I loved Mombasa. Part of it looked kind of like Nairobi but smaller and hotter, but when you went into Old Town it turned into this old crumbling Arabic city, with mosques everywhere and tiny winding streets and tourets on all the buildings. It was old and kind of falling apart, but beautiful and full of history and culture.

I also got henna done on both my hands and my feet, it was pretty exciting. Madelyn and I just asked this Muslim woman walking past us where she had gotten hers done and she lead us up to this woman’s house where we sat on the woman’s bed for two and a half hours and she hennaed our hands and feet. It was only 1000 shillings and there is so much of it. It’s on both sides of my hands and half way up my legs. It was really, really cool. None of them really spoke English or Swahili, I think they were Somali so they probably mostly spoke Somali, which was fun. They also had like 40 children who were all running around the whole time. It was definitely a cultural experience.

From Mombasa we went to Watamu, a town about two hours away. We stayed at this place called Turtle Bay, which was a beach resort, and was was definitely different from anything I’ve ever done. It was a full out beach resort, with free local alcohol, free buffet food all the time, free snorkels and sea kayaks, the ocean and a big fancy pool and pool side bar. It fulfilled all the stereotypes of a midrange beach resort, including being filled almost exclusively with white people, even though we were in the middle of East Africa. I think I saw more white people in those two days than I’ve seen in my entire stay in Kenya. It was trippy. The Indian Ocean was somewhat warmer than ideal and was decidedly wave free, but all the same it was still the ocean and therefore appreciated by default. We just laid out and enjoyed the water and the sun and all the free things to consume.

4. Uganda

For the last few days I've been in Uganda, which was also really awesome. We went whitewater rafting on the Nile, which was amazing. They were class four and five rapids so some of it was really freaking terrifying, but it was really fun. We camped over night and rafterd for two days with our own guide and rescuer kayakers all around in case we had trouble when we flipped or fell out…which happened four times. The flipping, not the trouble. Everything worked out really well.

And now I’m back in Nairobi for the next few hours before heading home. So I’m going stop this rather monumental book of an entry. I’ll be back in the US next time I write. Holy shit.