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Published: August 21st 2011
Good news!! We didn't have to take public transport today because a member of the kvcdp staff was able to drive Jacky and I to Karatina. Thank goodness as well because, based on the vehicles that I saw on the roads today, I definitely would have been put in a jam packed matatu!!! As i mentioned earlier these matatus are insane. The traffic is really bad in nairobi and i dont think that the matatu drivers make it much better. The seem to be no real rules of the road in nairobi. Tired of wait? No problem, simply take your car across the barrier or just off road it for a bit to pass the traffic. Is the car in front of you too slow? Tha's fine, just drive up on the sidewalk for a bit. Luckily we traveled by car so all is well and I arrived in Karatina with only minor intense driving manoeuvres. Because the traffic in Nairobi is so bad they are doing a lot of road works along the outskirts of town and along the dual carriage way...therefore there were a lot of unpaved roads. Imagine traveling all the way from Woodstock to Moncton on a road no different then the road at 2nd eel lake. It was very bumpy and I found myself wishing I had remembered to pack some gravol for the trip. Te scenery along the route was breathtaking. Mountains, coffee plantations, banana trees and lots of wildlife ( mostly cows, goats, chickens and donkeys -- unfortunately I have yet to see the 'big 5'😉. Along the dual carriage way there are people who have set up shops (ie, fruit and veg stands) and every so often you will see someone with a donkey and cart carrying produce back into the city to sell.
Let me describe to you where I will be living for the next few weeks...so you know where the middle of nowhere is? Well the house I am staying in is about 1.5 km from there. Atually Karatina isn't quite that far out and it is a busy little town filled with small shops, a large open air Market, and a second hand clothing Market as well. Andrew, the son of the family I am staying with,told me that all of the second hand clothing comes from America, Canada and the uk and he couldn't understand. Why so many people give away their good clothes to charity. He says tha when kenyans buy clothing they wear it until it is completely warn out. I felt embarassed and greedy when I was made to explain that people give away their barely used clothing when they simply get bored with it or when it goes out of fashion.
They famiy I am living with are lovely. Like I mentioned, the home has no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and no running water. So, yes, today I used a hole in the ground as a toilet and tomorrow I will shower in a waer basin filled wit rain water that has been collected in a large metal collection container. Fortunately, the house is located on a large fruit ad vegatabe farm filled with banana trees, avocavdos, cucumbers, etc. All of the door the family prepares is fresh and comes from the farm. A good change from the sausage and chips I get at the Bel. The one downside about the food is the amount of carbohydrates in the diet. Every single meal is filled with carbs, whether it be rice, potatoes or ugali.
I went to meet the staff at the hospital today and they were all very nice ad welcoming. The hospitl is a district hospital and it is located about a 1.5 km walk from the house where I am living. I am escorted to and from. Work everyday by Andrew, because Karatina is not a very safe place for me to be walking around my myself. I will be starting work on Monday and I will fill you in on all of the details soon.
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