karibou

Sable Antelope in Shimba Hills Nature Reserve, Kenya (the only place they exist)
I've always wanted to go to Africa and I'd never seen the Indian ocean so I decided to go to the east coast. I finally decided on a volunteer program with GVI, which I probably would not go through again because the staff kind of sucked. We were based on a tiny island called Mkwiro right off the coast of Kenya. (seriously small, not even on the map). There were about 1,000 people on the village- majority Muslim so we the women had to be covered from head to knees (unless you were eating, then you could take your kanga (head scarf) off). And although the dress code was strict, the people were so welcoming. During my time there Ramadan started and out of respect for the villagers and just plain curiosity, I fasted for one day. Three hours into it and the words in my book were coming off the page- I have no idea how these people do it a month, especially when food is already so precious. It was so surreal to be a part of such a culture. I realized that all of my preconceptions of Africa were totally invalid. I was imagining children with cleft lip flocking to the white people begging to be adopted and brought to America. It was quite the contrary. I had no pity for the people I met because none of them wanted it. The people on the village were happy with their lives because it's all they'll ever know, the same way we couldn't imagine anything less than the lives we live. It's just different. My world before Kenya was very small and I'm happy to say it's grown a bit. After this experience all I want to do is travel, and find every untapped treasure island out there. 



The national language is kiswahilli (swahilli is apparently the white people way of saying it). It just recently became a written language and its really simple. My favorite word I learned was "lalasalama" which means "go in peace" and is equivalent to saying goodnight. 
My French friend Ed.
There was no electricity or running water so we would bathe in the sea and drink from the rain water we would accumulate in giant jerrys. 




humongous elephant penis in Shimba Hills Nature Reserve.
If you ever go to Kenya you should also be sure to have the Kenyan chai (tea in swahilli) which is equivalent to the chai tea we drink here but always served with milk. Apparently Kenya has the best coffee but they export it all so you can't find any actually in Kenya. Tusker lager is a really good local beer and apparently the brewers brother was killed in an elephant stampede so the logo is an elephant's tusks with the slogan"together forever". I don't really know if he's talking about him and his brother or the elephants and his brother...but regardless its good.

-Adi.


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