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 came to Kisii via a very nice Danish guy I met in Kilifi. His name is Casper. He had been volunteering at an orphanage in Kisii and it’s only about 2.5 hours from my old village (by motorcycle, then car, then matatu). I went there one weekend for an escape from the desert and had a great time, so I decided I’d spend my last week there too.
It was such a good time. It would have been a good time anyways, but because it was after the desert experience…. it felt extremely good.
The orphanage, a children’s home run by the government, was extremely heart warming to be at. The orphanage, simply a standard Kenyan, governmental children’s home, certainly has it’s flaws and deficiencies. However, most of the kids seem well adjusted and mostly happy. There are 136 kids there, from a couple weeks old up to age 18. Many of these children ended up here because they were abandoned or abused. There are very few adoptions and it sounds like international adoptions are quite complicated. To adopt a Kenyan child, you have to live in Kenya for 6 months before you can even apply!
I did have a favorite there. A sweet little 3 year old that was content with the attention she got, not a whiner and easily and happily entertained herself, but also very loving. I learned that she had been there basically since birth. Her mother abandoned her at the hospital after birth because she couldn’t afford the bill. She reminded me of something or someone, I don’t know what or who. If I only had more stability in my life….
Not only was my heart seriously warmed by the orphanage, the house we stayed in was a dream. Huge comfortable porch with couches, privacy, birds, beautiful trees, great place to drink coffee and, a little sun on your legs and think. A big living room, kitchen with fridge, freezer, running water, electric kettle. The bathroom is mostly normal with a western sitting toilet, a mirror, a light and it’s in the house, like it should be! No fighting bugs to pee or shower!!
I literally squealed when I was holding my first tall boy can of Tusker, the dominating beer in Kenya and a very popular beer in Uganda also. It was SO cold, it was the coldest thing I touched in over a month. Ha! It’s funny to think that such little things could bring so much joy! (It tasted pretty good too!) Plus, to be able to sit on our big porch, temp about 82 F, (28 C), with an easy breeze, beautiful African trees, birds chirping, no one other than the Danish guy within 50 yards (or meters). Drinking hot instant coffee with the perfect percentage of whole milk added. A bowl of delicious yogurt (I think the yogurt in Kenya was better than in the US, I can’t say for sure because all I can find is non-fat plain yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt. 😉 ) with bananas and whole oats and my legs kicked up on the coffee table.
Kisii is a real town with bars, restaurants, supermarkets and cafes with free wifi! There’s even a Nukamatt which is like Target – you can get anything you want. I found that I need places like those to make me feel…. comfortable, I guess.
You can see more pics of Kisii at my flickr page.