before i say anything about our activities here in malindi, i would encourage you to check out the referendum that had just passed here in kenya. as i find out more about it, i am continually impressed. evidently, the referendum sets up a senate in the kenyan government, it disperses the power of the president so that one man does not have so much control, and it allows for a lot of other things. it’s just neat to see such a big push for a better country and to see people backing it as much as they are. this is truly a historical moment in kenya.
but as for us in malindi, yesterday and today have been great. purposely taking this time to relax more than we have so far, we have actually had some incredible experiences that allow us to gain a better grasp of the local life that we are surrounded by. we have spent most of our time walking around the town, going to shops, and going to the beach,which have all provided us with valuable conversations with the people here. we were fortunate enough to encounter a group of guys when we were at the beach that were involved with giving tours around the area, and since it was raining and there weren’t many potential customers, they stayed and talked with us for 2 hours! it seems like everyone has a nickname around here, and these guys weren’t any different. we were told that their names were pascal, obama, simba, and jackson (as in ‘michael jackson’). there were quite a few others that talked with us here and there, but these four stayed around a long time. they wanted to know about us just as much as we wanted to know about them, and they enjoyed helping us with our swahili as well. after trying to sell me a kilo of the local (legal, mind you) plant/drug, they really cut loose and we had a lot of smiles and laughs. i really had a great time with them.
during our time at the beach we also met a man who, within the first 5 minutes of our conversation, told us that he had HIV and his eyes showed just how much he was concerned. he looked devastated, and the sad thing was that he really didn’t know what to do or if there was anything that he could do period. understanding that kenya provides free medication for HIV and AIDS infected individuals, there was so much that he was missing out on! we quickly pointed him toward the local public health center, and i seriously hope that he took the opportunity to go there.
today has been occupied with trips around the town, having lunch at mwalimu’s house, and other nonchalant meanderings as we prepare to travel to nairobi tomorrow. we haven’t done too much, but i had the privilege of talking to a man who was originally from somalia. he came here during the violence the 90s and he was very open and honest about telling me about his life and his problems. it’s conversations like this that make me feel torn about my role here. i obviously have to finish my education and preparation in the states in order to help out in the best way i can, but with such immediate concerns and needs, how can i just turn away from that? it’s pretty trippy.
but here we are, with one week left and paula and ahlam leaving within the next 5 days, ready to start the last part of our journey in nairobi. because we are going to be involved in a program that will be taking us all over and allowing us to get involved very intensely with the orphans in the area, the village close by, and other people who are giving toward the effort to address the needs that are so obvious for HIV and AIDS infected individuals, i probably will not have internet access for a while. i might be able to find an internet cafe after we are done with the program next thursday, but that definitely depends on our situation. so for now, i will close in saying that i am excited to see even more of this beautiful african culture, even though i am definitely ready to be home.