Thursday, June 16, 2011

East Africa Day 32 (Tues June 14): Last Full Day at Daraja

Where has the month gone? I can’t believe that today is my last full day at Daraja. In some ways it feels like I’m just getting started. After breakfast Andy told me that he had made arrangements for me to get a ride back down to Nairobi tomorrow, with Paul. I’m leaving campus at 9am, after breakfast.

So … it was really time to wrap things up. I spent the AM sitting at my desk, sorting through and consolidating my handwritten research notes. I’d collected bits of information on pieces of loose scrap paper. I’d been keeping them in a neat pile in the corner of my desk … always intending to sort through them sooner! Some things required better internet connection, so when I heard that Andy and Wa were going into town for the afternoon to run some errands, I asked if I could tag along.

We parked on a side street outside of The Eatery, and walked around the corner. Bennett, Maria’s fiancé jumped out from the Eatery doorway! We walked in and joined Bennett and Maria at their table. A day or so ago I drew up a list of things that I wanted to get done before I left Daraja. I was able to cross a few things off of that list while we were at The Eatery, thanks to my netbook and a slow but mostly-working wireless connection. I ordered my favorite dish on their menu – the vegetable curry with rice. For perhaps the first time in my life I ordered it “spicy”:) It was good!

Photo: view of the main road in downtown Nanyuki. Note the clouds – a storm is on its way!

When we got back to campus it was only 3:30pm. I wound up spending the next two hours in my banda (partly hiding out from a heavy but short-lived thunder and lightning storm) packing up my stuff. Oh, I am so tired of packing!!! And as usual, I think that I posses too much stuff. But I’m now mostly packed and ready to leave campus tomorrow. Paul is picking me up at 9am after breakfast, and is taking me down to Nairobi. My (loose) plan is to get dropped off at The Downtown, a hotel that Maria and Bennett recommended. Check in, and then walk over to the two bus station offices that I’m considering, for my trip to Uganda on Thursday AM – Akamba and Scandanavian Express. I looked in my guidebook and the two offices should be pretty close to each other. So I can go see which one sounds better. Then I need to purchase my bus ticket, and select my seat. Then it’s back to the hotel before nightfall, and then back to the bus station early the next day to head to Uganda. Ummm wish me luck!! :)
Tuesday night’s dinner is my favorite meal of the week – chapati’s – so glad I stayed for that! After dinner I had a nice talk with some of the Kitchen Staff, who said how nice it is to have volunteers visit, and that I should stay longer – or at least come back. It is hard to think about leaving tomorrow.

I went to find Lelia, who was studying for exams, to ask her about loading the photos that I’ve taken at Daraja onto one of the computer lab laptops, so that the students can put them onto their own thumb drives. She is computer proctor- and so when she says it’s fine to do that, it must be so! It was really a bit of an excuse, however to get to talk with her before the craziness of breakfast and my departure tomorrow morning. I’m going to miss her! I hope that the Daraja ladies get internet access soon, so that I can email her. Sending mail here is … well, not easy.

I then headed over to the office to wrap up some more things. Car and Pamela surprised me by coming in to hang out on my final night on campus. We had a great time chatting. It was the perfect way to wrap up my last night here. It’s been so fun to get to know the other volunteers, and to share this experience with them.

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