Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The IDP Camp and Lake Magadi

Well, it's been a really busy week! Over the weekend, Sara, Jakob, and I went to an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp. A couple of weeks ago, Sara and I met Izzo, a Kenyan who works with an organization for volunteers. We exchanged numbers and he agreed to take us to the camp. There was a total of 600 families that were displaced after the election violence in January. We met up with a doctor who put us right to work taking blood pressure, giving pregnancy tests (my job), and handing out the medicine. It doesn't sound chaotic but for a good two hours, it was. I think I could be a pharmacist now because I had to pick up the lingo real quick and learn to read a doctor's messy handwriting. : ) I enjoyed it!
After we were finished with the doctor, Izzo took us around to some of the surrounding camps to give out food. We had a ton of food with us. Our matatu was so packed, we almost didn't have room for ourselves! The food was definetely something I wouldn't look twice at in the states...or even here. But the people were very grateful. At times it was overwhelming. Izzo would give me some fruit to hand out to the kids or adults standing by and all I would see are hands in front of my face. Often, mothers would point to their babies and say, "Please, give him." And because I didn't know how to turn away, I did. Izzo said I had to be mean for the day, choosing who would get something extra (everyone got the staple foods; potatos, onions, and carrots). It wasn't easy but definetely a good experience. Hopefully, we'll have a chance to go back again before we leave.
On Monday, Michel managed to talk Sara and I into going on a motorbike tour to Lake Magadi. So, putting our previous experience behind us, where two out of three bikes crashed, we got back on. Don't they say, "When you fall, get back up again"? Anyway, we were glad we did because it was totally worth it. Sara rode with Michel while I rode with his friend, Bedin. They are two very capable drivers! The lake itself wasn't that exciting because its almost dried up, but we had a great time driving down and back through the Rift Valley. It was absolutely gorgeous! And Bedin was really good about stopping whenever he saw an animal or a great picture so I took a lot. When we got to the lake, we hiked all the way down to the water. Though, when I say 'hike' I really mean practically sliding. So while Bedin and Michel gracefully made it down, Sara and I were getting stuck on thorns, slipping on loose rocks, and bracing ourselves on dead, dried up branches. You can imagine how well that went. What really added to the atmosphere were all the dead cows and donkeys from the drought. It you stood in the right place, you had a great view of the lake....and then the stench of rotting carcuses.
Yesterday, John, one of the Kenyan workers, got married and we were all invited. Granted, it took place in Kenyan time...meaning about 4 hours late, but it took place and that's all that mattered to John. It took place in a government office because neither of them have the money to throw a big wedding. We bought a cake on the way there, cut it up, and everyone ate a piece in the office afterwords. A little strange but a lot of fun. Alice, his wife, is very nice and I think will be a good addition to the project later on when their house is built.
This weekend, Sara and I are going on safari. We're excited to take our first trip since coming to Kenya! I'll be taking a lot of pictures so I can report back.
Thanks for all your e-mails and prayers!

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