THAT TIME I DISAPPEARED TO AFRICA - PART 1
Remember that time about a month ago – back at the end of June when I dropped off the face of the earth for about 2 weeks? And since then, I’ve been radio silent on this blog? WELL it was because I went to Africa, had a life changing experience, and then came back and felt like I couldn’t really articulate how amazing an experience it was, so all I came back saying was “It was GREAT” when someone asked. Sidenote: After the trip, I felt like I could really relate to Katniss because after she won the Hunger Games, she returned back to her community but because she saw and did so much, she felt bummed out and sad because she couldn’t really articulate what it was like to anyone in her normal life. I mean I didn’t kill people in a simulated game of life and death while in Kenya, BUT I could relate to her feeling at a loss for words when she came back.
So what the hell happened while I was gone? Thankfully I was surprisingly smart enough to write brief notes on my cell phone throughout the trip, so it was nice to go through them a month later and read what I wrote. I just copied over what these cell notes were on this blog – so sorry for the brief nature of the description or how embarrassingly neurotic I come off (I’m working on it).
June 20th: 8 hour flight to Amsterdam
Took off on a plane and immediately took out my Evian thermal water spray to hydrate my face. Airplane air is TOO DRY.
Took my work/travel/life blanket out of my backpack. Uncapped my tiny bottle of red wine and settled in to watch some Friends on the TV.
June 21st – in Amsterdam
Rented bikes and rode ALL OVER THE CITY
Went to a street market where I drank fresh juice and sampled unreal cheeses
Biked to the Heineken brewery – wasn’t impressed – way too touristy
Passed by the Anne Frank house, but the line was stupid long and consistently had a 2hr wait throughout the day
Experienced a classic Amsterdam café
Biked through the Red Light District… it’s surprisingly very family friendly – I gage this since I saw several families eating brunch on the patio there
Erotic Museum – also surprisingly very impressed, they had illustrations from John Lennon and Picasso
Dinner – rejoined the rest of our group at this amazing Italian restaurant called MAZZO
June 22nd – Leaving Amsterdam, enroute to Nairobi
Another plane ride for almost 8hrs! Plane activities include:
Eating veggie tortellini, YUM
Watched Catching Fire
We landed at the airport in Nairobi, definitely not an airport comparable to Pearson or Amsterdam. Waited in line to get our visas. Then grabbed our luggage and found our Me To We representative and got in a truck to Karen Blixen resort to sleep overnight.
June 23rd – Leaving Nairobi, Enroute to Maasai Mara
Woke up at 7am, showered and packed up by 7:30am and went and had a quick brekky by the pool. Bacon tastes amazing no matter what country you’re in, I was really satisfied.
Then we all packed up and drove to Wilson Airport which specializes in tiny planes.
Got on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on that fits 12 people!
Wilson – a Maasai Mara warrior, greeted us when we got off the plane and took us on a 15 min walk to the Bogani camp site. He stopped along the way to show us special plants and vegetation.
We got to camp and they greeted us with a procession of workers at the front singing! They had fresh squeezed guava juice waiting for us. The fanfare was impressive… but I was more impressed by the tiny goats at the side of the camp site.
They showed us to our tents and I was FLOORED. These were LUX tents. Stone flooring, an ensuite bathroom and shower. They also had the cutest bedding and details ever. TRULY GLAMPING.
We got settled and then regrouped for lunch, where we had a half hr break before we went to visit an elementary school. After lunch they gave us a quick lesson in Swahili before we went to visit the elementary school.
At the elementary school they showed us what the old classrooms looked like prior to Free The Children's involvement. It was pretty powerful to sit in the old classroom and imagine how difficult it would be for the kids to learn in an environment like that.
Below is a picture of what classrooms look like now:
After a tour of the school, we went outside to talk and play with the kids.
Here are some of the questions they asked me, including their responses to my answers:
Kids: How many children do you have?
Kids: *puzzled look like they couldn't understand*
Kids: What grade are you in?
Me: I'm not in school anymore! I finished university.
Kids: *puzzled look like they couldn't understand how I couldn't possibly be in school*
Kids: What's the name of your village?
Me: Ummm... Toronto!
Kids: How old are you?
Me: *furiously looking at the Swahili book to find out how to say 28*
Kids: *look at me because they can't believe I'm so old and don't have kids*