Mzungu in Kenya, arrival

Milena Mitic RSS / 29.04.2009. u 08:31

Ovaj blog je pisan na engloskom posto je nastao iz mejlova koje sam slala iz Kenije (a koji su na engleskom). Moje pisanje na engleskom je daleko od dobrog, ali mi je prevodjenje ovih iskustava islo jos gore :). Ako vam ne smetaju gramaticke greske, cudan style i konfuzne recenice s vremena na vreme, enjoy it :).


I am out of Africa. Actually, out of Kenya. I've spent one month there, having one of the greatest experinces of my life.


I am in Nakuru, three hours drive from Nairobi. Nakuru is well known to tourists for its beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park. Giraffes, black and white rhinos and a pink horizon of the flamingos make visiting this park worth of it's high price (about 60US$ for entry – but believe me, it's worth every cent. Will post a blog about it soon). But that's not why I came here.


I came to Kenya to volunteer in an orpanage. However, I was very disapointed with the menagment of the organization (disorganization, I would say) that run this children home. That 'menagment' is sitting in California,US, and trying to rule this place by emails... I really admire modern technology and I am internet adict, but we still don't have that kind of inetrnet that can punch you in the face and remind you of the reality, when you are not there to actually feel it. And reallity of the California and Kenya are quite different, I would say. Anyway, I stayed there for two weeks, trying to do what I can for that place. Since every good initiative of the volunteers was stopped by this 'menagment',  I was spending most of the time writing emails to the main people of the organization, appealing on them to come here themselves and do something. Well, after two weeks I decided to leave that place and actually do what I came for – being somewhere where I actually can help children. Me and another volunteer, who came from different side of the world but felt absolutelly same, went to another children home and spent most of our time there.


Although this may seem like a lot of complications, Africa still gave me the gratest trip of my life.


Today I had my first real, hot water shower in about three weeks. You know, civilization as we know it might colapse one day and we might lose all the western world comodities that are being developed for centuries, but until that happens – I am going to enjoy hot water showers! To be completely honest, the shower I've just used is of the 'instant showers' type. These showers heat water as it passes through them.  This means stonger the water stream – colder water you get, so you have to compromise between water teperature and it's amount. It is still undescriably good...

I didn't really plan to start this story with a shower, but the impression it has left on me after such a long time without it, is apparently interfering with my ability to concentrate on my writing.


But, again, lets go by chronological order. First of all, Kenya cought me unprepared and this can hardly be Kenya's fault. My whole life I had some romanticised picture of Africa. This is where this whole human species story started. Right here in the the Rift Waley, it is most likely that our ancestors where making their first steps. Well, now, few milions years after, I can only say that it seems to me that their descendants are kinda limping. Whatever I was thinking about the third world countries, I wasn't thinking enough. I tought that I prepared myself for bad conditions. Not enough. I expected dirt, I expected lack of comodities. The thing I wasn't thinking much about is safety. Especially 'the white person' aspect of it. Here people believe that if you are white – you have money. A lot of money, bilions of...whatever monet you want. They don't see students, workers, businismen – they see a walking money. And everyone will try to rip you off, especially if you give out a slightest impression that you are confused. Literally everyone, from conducters in the public transport, sales person in anything that is not a supermarket, to some random people who are always ready to make use of your lack of knowledge of domestic ridiculus buirocracy...


My very first impression was dust. Dust everywhere. On the roads, inside the busses, in the supeemarket...whatever you touch seems dusty.


I was met at the airport by the women who was one of the center directors at the moment. Dusty bus took us from the Nirobi airport to the city center. Bus reminded me on my childhood – same dirty, old, 'no space for legs' bus as the ones that were going between villigies somewhere in the eastern Serbia, in the time of the worse 90' crisis. And that feeling did not left me during my whole stay here. I've been having very strong and realistic flashbacks of the rural Serbia, in the time when everything was falling appart.


 Road from the airport to the city goes through the slum area. At one moment road was blocked with the herd of cows watched over by a Massai guy (recognizable by the Massai blankets they wear). Throught the awful trafic jam (which, as we all know, is not at all a specialty of the third world countries) we made it to the center of Nairobi. Central part of Nairobi does look like a city, urban, and even relatively clean, comparing tot the rest of the country I've seen. But we didn't stay there for long as we had to get matatu to Nakuru.


Matatus are fom of a public transport that was very dangerous in the near past. These are vans, made for maybe 12 people. However, before Kenyan government placed strict regulations about their use, these were causing a lot of road deaths, mostly due to the overcrowding. Today situation is not that bad, but during my stay here, we found ourselves once in the overcrowded matatu, that was stopped by the police. Driver got fined and I counted 23 people coming out of it (did I say it was made for about 12?).


The matatu station we went to after the bus was my first encounter with the situation that was awating me during my stay here. It was very dirty, very crowded and very unsafe for mzungu (whaite person). Mzungu with a traveling bag is like a magnet for all kind of street sellers, matatu drivers (who would like you to go to their matatu, although it is going to the oposite side of the country fom the one you want) and bunch of random people who would like to 'help' you, hoping that you will pull some money out of your bottomless pockets. Jurney was more than unpleasent. No space for legs, plus carring a heavy bag on my knees as there was no enough luggage space in this one. However, there was a TV, playng some kind of popular religious music videos. Cheap video production got me back once again to Serbia in the beginning of 90', with funny and pathethic turbofolk videos...


Arrival to Nakuru showed me that descriptions from internet saying that it is a 'vibrant city' are not quite right, Well, there is no city. There are few tall buldings. Everything  else is in the very poor condition, or at least looks like that fom outside. By time, we found few places that actually do look nice, but my first impfession was that this place is literary falling appart, stone by stone. I had the same impression about the children home at which we arriaved that night, but this impression was only confirmed by time.

Komentari (3)

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mashha mashha 17:39 29.04.2009

Volim putopise :)

Jel ima i nastavka?
Milena Mitic Milena Mitic 21:05 29.04.2009

Re: Volim putopise :)

naravno, ima dovoljno utisaka i za nastavke :)
mashha mashha 02:10 30.04.2009

Re: Volim putopise :)



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