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Published: September 29th 2010
Mambo! We just got power back after a few days of mass random power outages and eating beans cooked over a propane tank... ah the good life.
So, when I last left off, I was in love with my children (note how I call them MY children... make room Feldman Family!), and clearly that has not changed. On Thursday Meaghan and I went to Camp Joshua to visit the older kids and distribute a shoe donation. We set up about 64 pairs of childrens shoes, and the kids that were boarders (living at the orphanage, as opposed to just going to school there) who had no shoes got to pick whichever shoes they wanted. Out of all the kids that were there, only 4 were unable to get ones that fit them properly, so Meaghan and I went to the used clothes market and bought them shoes that would fit. It was by far the best day that I have had here. It was so incredible to see how happy the kids were to get new shoes, that were essentially used shoes, but they were for them, and they knew that. They were all so excited picking the shoes, showing
I love his Dora the Explorer sweatshirt
them off to their friends and teachers. It made me feel so good knowing that I helped make their day, and the rest of my day was spent smiling.
Friday afternoon Julie, Paige, and myself took a shuttle to Kenya! It was about 6 hours, and it was in a surprisingly nice bus. It was about 3 hours to get to the border, at which point you have to get off the bus, get your passport stamped on the Tanzanian side, then walk across the border across what we dubbed "no mans land" which is an areas about 20 meters long that doesn't belong to any country, and get our passports stamped again in Kenya. It was so sketchy, and I wish I could have taken a picture, but there were huge signs saying not to, and since the land didn't belong to any specific country, I didn't want to commit a crime against the world (I thought that as I was walking across it that I was a citizen of the World at that point, and Julie looked at me like I was a fool. She is learning quick.). Then we got back on the bus and continued
Sea of Shoes
Getting 64 pairs of shoes ready for the kids with Meaghan
our journey. The bus dropped us off at the hotel that Paige and Julie were staying at, and let me just say I am glad I had Wanda as my wonderful host, in her wonderful apartment. It was already close to 9 by the time we got there, and Wanda met up with us shortly after. It was SO WONDERFUL to see a familiar face in a strange land. for those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Wanda, she is a gem of a person - very intelligent, kind, and sweet - the perfect friend to have in a foreign country. We then went out for a bite to eat. in Nairobi, you cannot walk anywhere at night, even at dusk. It's a very dangerous city (Bubby/Zaida - don't worry, I took a cab, and I was never alone). Our cab driver pointed out all the dangerous parts of the city and why they were dangerous. my favourite was when he showed us where the prostitutes were because he said "Those are the casual sex workers, be careful because the drug your drinks with pill, and then you sleep, and ohhhhhhhhh." and that was his whole
fitting one of the Camp Joshua boys with his new shoes!!!
explanation. Nairobi is actually a really big city. Like a city city, none of this mud hut business. Skyscrapers, and real roads, and people dressed in business casual. It was so bizarre being in an African city that was completely up to date. Not my cup of tea.
Saturday we had a driver to take us around to all the different places we wanted to go. It sounds posh, so allow me to explain. We had the option of taking a Matatu (the Kenyan version of the daladala, but they only allow max 14 people in it at a time because apparently Kenyans are more sensible when it comes to transport) all over Nairobi to get everywhere, which would have taken ALL day and not given us any spare time, OR we could hire a driver for 7$/person for the day. We opted for the later. First we went to the elephant orphanage. They had maybe a dozen elephants there that were between 13 months-5 years old. They find them in the wilderness and bring them back to the orphanage to take care of them because their mothers have either been killed by hunters, or they have lost their
traffic on the way to Kenya because a truck got stuck in a sand dune. Thats what happens when the road is a GIANT sand dune.
families. Then they keep them there for 2-3 years to rehabilitate them before releasing them in groups to the wild. They were so cute!!! It was my first time seeing an elephant so close, and I got to touch one! They were playing in the mud, and with a ball, and just enjoying their lives. What I wouldn't give to play in the mud with a ball all day. And they were getting fed with a giant bottle, and holding it with their trunks... ahhhhhhh, I love them.
Next we went to the giraffe centre. Holy giraffes are huge! When you get there you have to walk up this platform and they give you food to feed the giraffes! They are so pretty and majestic looking. And they have HUGE heads, and that is saying alot coming from me. I kissed a few of them. You can put the food in between your teeth and they come and eat it! It was really gross. Apparently their saliva is an antiseptic, so that made it a bit better... i guess. Fun fact: a giraffes heart is actually 2ft by 1ft, and it ways 25lbs. And they only sleep for 5-30
On the way to Kenya
my first mistake: driving with the window open for 3 hours
minutes every 24 hours. So you thought you had to much time on you hands, think again.
After the giraffes we got dropped off at the Masai market in the centre of town. And this market was huge! It was weird because all of the vendors spoke really good english, so bargaining wasn't as much fun, and prices were a lot higher than they are here in Arusha. I bought a few good things, obviously. I was bargaining for a pair of really cool pants, and the lady who was selling them asked me is I would help her get a visa to canada. Of course I said yes and told her she could stay with my family when she got there. And then she asked me to pay for her flight and she could work for me and pay it off when she got to Canada, and I said that I thought that was a bad idea, but she gave me her mailing address in case I changed my mind. Then I got a good deal on the pants.
Sunday we had some time tokill before our bus back, so of course we went to another market
i touched him and then he hit me with his tail
to snoop around. It was an indoor market and they also sold meat and fruits and vegetables, as well as crafts. There was a lovely man who owned as stand there named Oliver. I helped Julie and Paige bargain for some sandals and when we got them, he asked me to marry him. Of course I was flattered, but I told him I would have to ask my mom. he understood. I think that I could have been swayed, however, if he offered a dowry like 7 cows or something. I'm worth AT LEAST that.
That is pretty much all that has been going on here thus far. I'm glad to be back in Arusha, it feels more homey to me. I can't believe I have been here already for a month! I miss you all very much, and I will write again soon!!
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