Lately, I’ve been getting some slack about my messy hair. After 6 months adventuring around the world, doing and experiencing things you never could have imagined, your priorities and beliefs change! How I feel about my physical appearance and how to present it has been one of those things. I don’t want to look like a slob, I want to look pretty (I’m still single!) but I’m choosing an unconventional hairstyle. I actually feel prettier when my hair is messy. When my hair is brushed, blow dried and polished, I feel like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not.
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Well I felt that my blog needed a little update. A little something to tie people over for several more months until something exciting happens. I’d love to write more about life lessons that I’m learning from the whole career change, but I’m still learning them. And…. I’m not digging writing at the moment and I’m not liking my writing as well. Another thing is, I’m kind of a private person so I debate what I should say or not say and then the articles are just half finished for months.
I spent 6 months in Liberia, Uganda and Kenya and learned some things about what is helpful to bring to a tropic, hot, developing world location from the Western world. If you’re going to stay for 1 week or 2 years, take a look at this list. If you’re going for just a week or two and staying at fancy, civilized places, than you might not need all of this, but you can use your judgement.
In most places that I visited you can buy bottled water. But I had a couple times when I couldn’t and I was very thankful I had my Sawyer Water Filter. I will also say that all the bottled water had outside seals on them so you know they’re good. And they were good. Except one in Kenya, Tiji. Even though they were sealed they had floating crap in them. Yuck. I whipped out my Sawyer filter for those!
In Western Kenya I taught Life Skills Education to 500 high school students. I think that was the most difficult month of my life.
I never heard of Life Skills Education until I came to Otaro. I’m a huge fan now and very interested in exploring this path more with Laurie Goes to Africa.
Below are the Life Skills as laid out by the Kenyan Ministry of Education:
The Lonely Planet guide for Kenya does not speak highly of Kisii. That’s too bad, I really liked this hilly, bustling little town.
I have written and rewritten this article many times. I’m trying not to say too much negative, but this has been a hard place. I’m teaching at a school in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya. The culture is male dominated. The people are not as friendly as in Uganda, by a long shot. The community is small and there is not much to do and most comforts are non-existent. I’m including some pictures of the area so you can kind of imagine what it might be like.
It has been hard since before I even got here. Yesterday made one week with this assignment. Actually, typing that makes me feel better! Time truly is progressing! Most of my past African situations were good. The one in Uganda that was bad, there was no question in my mind that I had to leave early. In this case, I felt God say “You need to stay.” I admit that I don’t always do what God says, but in this case I’m obedient.
In Kilifi, I met the lovely Fran from Germany, living in Zanzibar. When I first met Fran, we were in the gift shop. It went like this.
Me: Hello, I’m Laurie.
Fran: Hi, I’m Fran.
Me: Nice to meet you. Can I ask what country you come from?
Me: Wow, I’m surprised, your accent is so much more beautiful than the German accents I’m used to.
And that was the beginning of our friendship.
Fran was a great friend to me, including taking me to the hospital when I got stung by an unknown marine animal (not jelly fish, not sea urchin). Fran does have a BEAUTIFUL voice. I told her she should do some books on tape or something. It’s a voice that reminds me of Mia Farrow in The Last Unicorn. So soothing. When I asked Fran, “Do you know the movie The Last Unicorn?” She said, “I love that movie, it’s such a beautiful movie.” For sure!
Fran and I had great times, fun times, peaceful and relaxing times. We shared many swims, dawas, stories, amongst other things. We sat under the baobob tree for energy and peace and it was such a nice friendship in such a magical place. I will absolutely see Fran again!
I arrived to Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers on Wednesday April 13th. The best day of my life (thus far!) was Thursday 14 April 2016.
Swimming is one of my most favorite activities IN THE WORLD. It feels so freeing, comfortable, joyful, soothing, etc. “Backpackers” (as it’s called around here, aka Distant Relatives,) is about a 6 min walk to a salty creek beach. It’s nice enough, but the ocean beach is about 20 min by motorcycle. Thursday morning I’m checking out the nearest ocean beach that was recommended to me by several people: Bofa Beach, outside of Kilifi Bay Resort.
Wow. I came to Kilifi, Kenya, (north of Mombasa about 1 or 2 hours, you learn to not worry about the time here) on Wednesday April 13th. I’m a beach girl, I love swimming and getting sun and laying and being restored spiritually and with Vitamin D. There was no question that since I’m going to be close to the beach and have a gap in schedule I’d have to go. AND considering in my “previous life” I pretty much never want on vacation (usually used my paid vacation time from work to visit my family in Nebraska…), I totally deserved this!!
When I first found out I was probably going to Kenya, I realized Mombasa was also in Kenya and I told myself I just have to go there. I didn’t know much about it, but honestly, I remember the male “Lover” from the SNL sketch “The Lovers” (circa 2003 or so) told some story about “Mombasa!” and it sounded exotic and interesting and that I just had to go.
So, after leaving Kisumu, I took a very long bus ride across the country. The bus left at 2:45 am from Kisumu, I arrived at Mombasa at 9:30 pm. So…. about 19 hours? I had a nice seat though, a VIP seat with Modern Coast. I recommend it. It was quite comfortable, it was big and wide. I could gain over 100 pounds and still fit in the seat, not that I’m wanting that but just saying. This bus ticket was only 22$!