Last night was quite possibly the worst night’s sleep I’ve had since I arrived, and that’s saying something considering the jet lag I had. I fell asleep around 11 p.m., which is good for me, but at 11:50 p.m. I was woken by this awful, terrible stench. It took me a minute to realize it was coming from the girl in the bunk below me, Rose.
She isn’t a volunteer, she is a member of the family I am staying with, and I’m fairly certain it’s been at least 3 days since her last shower. Her body odor was unbearable and I tossed and turned in bed until 1 a.m. when I finally climbed down my bunk and grabbed my phone and my flashlight. Thanking God for the time difference, I quickly messaged everyone I could think of to keep me company, turned on my flashlight and was immediately grateful that I thought to bring 6 books with me. After falling asleep around 4 a.m., 8:30 came really early and I jumped out of bed; I was late to meet Lydia and Virginia to go into Nairobi. There is a perk to not wearing make up and not having to worry about how I look. I was dressed and ready to go in about 3 minutes.
As we were leaving Kibera,
I saw people rummaging in the mounds of garbage that was piled on the side of the street. My first thought was “I don’t want to see this” and I felt instantly ashamed. I know where my next meal is coming from, this poor woman with a weather worn face didn’t.
As we continued into the city I quickly realized how dangerous it is to drive in Kenya. Down here there are no stop lights or stop signs or even lanes that divide the road. It is a free-for-all, whoever gets there first wins. Trucks and busses and cars weave in and out of traffic, cutting each other off which includes driving on the wrong side of the road while I’m holding on praying that I survive. The funny part is, that even though they drive like maniacs and have no traffic laws, I haven’t seen a single accident.
Our first stop was to the elephant orphanage. We were able to stand so close we could touch them.
They were all babies, under 2 years old. It was adorable watching them drink their bottles and roll around in the muddy water for a little reprieve from the hot sun. It was all I could do not to laugh when one elephant mounted another who was lying near a mud puddle, minding her own business. Hey folks, elephants need love too.
Once the presentation with the elephants was over we continued to the giraffe habitat where you could get up close and personal with the animals. We were given food to go up and feed them; all was well until a man that works there told me to put the food between my lips so the giraffe would give me a kiss. I wasn’t going to, something about an 18 foot tall animal putting his mouth on mine freaked me out. That is, until Lydia shouted, “You have to do it! For your blog!” Sufficit to say I died laughing and then gave in. A good journalist has to make some sacrifices after all for her craft, right? I kissed a stingray once, so this should be no problem compared to that. His lips were hairy and his tongue felt rough, we’ll be announcing our engagement any day now.
We had time to kill before going to see
the Bomas of Kenya so we stopped at the mall to eat. You don’t realize how much you crave American food until you don’t have the option to have it. I spotted a KFC across the parking lot and once I smelled it I knew I had to eat there.
We all (Jackson, Lydia, Virginia and I) walked into KFC and got some delicious “American” (I use that term loosely) food. It was even better considering none of them have ever had it. I think it was a success.
By 3 p.m. we were at the Bomas, which is basically an outside museum to show what the villages used to look like, even in Kibera.
Jackson explained that his grandparents used to live in huts like these, and they died out because there wasn’t enough tall grass to build the roofs.
The Bomas are made of clay, built in a circle withdraw roofs. Inside there is a small fire pit for warmth and a bed made from bamboo tied together. I learned that in these villages there would be four huts, 1 for the husband and 3 for each wife. I was shocked to find out that sometimes it was the first wife’s idea for the husband to have one or two more wives so she could have help.
It surprised me when Jackson told me it is still common to practice polygomy. If he got married he said, he would have one wife and maybe three girlfriends. He asked if we do that back home. Virginia told him sometimes, but it’s called cheating. He said “okay, so I could do it then.” I said “you could, but your wife would leave you.” His response was funny to me. He said, “then I’ll hide it from her so she won’t know about it.” I laughed and said, “Jackson, women find out everything. You can’t hide anything from us.”
It then became a running joke for the rest of the day after I suggested that each of us girls should take a picture in front of each of the wives huts and then take a picture of Jackson in front of the husbands hut. We joked all day that we were his 3 wives.
We walked to the next village and I was curious to see what the husbands hut looked like. I walked under the short, narrow archway and waited until my eyes adjusted to the dark. All of a sudden I realized I was not alone when I
noticed a man sitting still as a statue inches away from my face. My heart gave a lurch and I ran out of the tent.
When we got home it was blissfully quiet since the family is away until tomorrow night. So after setting our things down, exhausted and completely worn out from our day we went to the kitchen and made dinner together. We made pasta for the second night in a row, I’ve never felt so lucky! And the best part…. no roommate so my room wont smell, I can keep the lights on as long as i want and maybe I’ll get a good night’s sleep!