here we are again. mombasa the same, and like a sponge i am trying to soak up as much as i can. there is so much to see, to hear, to smell (all good things, i assure you!) and today has been so very beneficial in getting accustomed to the culture and way of life around here. everything is so incredibly fast-paced! something we found out very quickly when we started taking some of the public transportation pretty regularly. there are 2 main modes of transportation around here, one is the tuk tuk and the other is the matatu. the tuk tuk is almost like a 3 wheeled covered golf cart (but so so much cooler!) and the matatu is a van. there are tons of these vehicles making their routes around the town, the drivers shouting out the windows, the matatus work almost like a team. the driver drives and he has a wingman that recruits people to ride. the people here are so energetic and lively….something incredibly refreshing after becoming numb to the introverted suburbia that some of us are all too familiar with. so, we took a trip across town one way to the grocery store to pick up some odds and ends, and then another trip to see the bomu medical center (sponsored by NYU and alicia keys-who woulda thunk!). on both trips we rode a combination of matatus and tuk tuks, and it seems to be a miracle that we don’t hit anyone or anything each time we ride. there are times when we are so close to another vehicle or person that you couldn’t stick a slice of cheese between the two. but it works! there are absolutely no stop signs or stop lights around here. it’s an incredible free for all, and the drivers are experts at what they do. even though the roads are ridiculous, i feel safer riding with them than i do with many of my friends at home. actually, i feel safe with my friends driving at home, just not safe with my mom driving. i see her inject lead into her foot every morning. there should be some kind of law against that.
this morning was BEAUTIFUL, and words simply do not do it justice. even pictures don’t fully grasp the beauty around me and the view from the roof of the house that i am staying in. i woke up just after 5 this morning (it’s hard not to wake up with the muslim call to prayer that early….i must say, the singing is majestic) and proceeded to go to the roof where i watched the vast amount of pigeons that inhabit the area around our house fly in unison and eat the seed that was being given to them by our neighbors on their respective rooftops. after a while, i noticed a pet monkey crawling out of one of our neighbor’s windows. he was so cute!!
later on after that, and after our trip to the grocery store (understand that the grocery store-very similar to our grocery stores-is a place that only the wealthier people shop….most everything can be bought at the street market and i don’t blame people for doing just that. the prices are cheap and the stock is abundant!) we met up with one of mwalimu’s former students who has been working for an NGO here in mombasa, aiding physically disabled people. so so so so neat. exactly what i was interested in finding out about. she had also had previous experience and the bomu medical center, so she gave us a connection there. we will be volunteering there wednesday and thursday.
we get to meet mwalimu’s yale students tomorrow as we go on a field trip with them, and on wednesday, we are going to go to the tembo (elephant) club at night with them! oh yeah! nothing like clubbing in africa, yeah?! 🙂
well, there is much to tell, but it is hard to grasp the entirety of the trip. i shall divulge more later.
ps – i watched the wedding singer last night with adam sandler….well not with him. he was in the movie. so i watched him. but, i really like that movie! sandler in a serious role was impressive. pretty cute movie.
kwaheri marafiki wangu!