I’m updating from an internet cafe in a little border town some hours south of Nairobi. I’ve been here for … two weeks ish, now? INSANE. It feels much longer than that, although it also feels as though time has been flying by at warp speed. Not sure how to feel about it.

Language training is going well – my eventual site placement will be in a predominantly Kiswahili-speaking area, so rather than being shifted into a vernacular dialect class, I’m continuing on to “conversational-approach swahili.” It’s fascinating, but also quite challenging. Which is what I need, I suppose. I sort of sleep-walked through the first week or so of language, and am now having my ass handed to me daily by my much-advanced language study partner, so I’ll end up better for it. Doesn’t keep me from wanting to tear my hair out in clumps at times, though. Hatua kwa hatua, si ndio?

Culturally, I feel like I’m adjusting fine. There are few surprises, although my host family thinks everything I do is *hilarious.* They are among the kindest, most generous, most obliging people I’ve ever met, but this doesn’t stop them from cackling loudly when I make a particularly unfortunate language mistake or scream when a chicken flies at the back of my head. They are Maasai, but not the most iconic variety – they keep few cows and live on a permanent shamba rather than practicing the traditional transhumant lifestyle (transhumant: I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to use that word. My anthropology professor would be proud. Maybe.) We have no electricity or running water at my homestay, but I’m nonetheless quite comfortable. I feel lucky to be living where I am. All is well.

I received word of my site placement, about which I will undoubtedly be posting a great deal more later. It’s in Coast Province, within a day’s busride of the tourist destination city Mombasa. The first thing everyone says to me when I tell them this is some variation of “Oh really? …. it’s blimmin’ hot there, you know that? And lots of snakes.”


For now, though, I am enjoying this chilly, sleepy village and staying busier than a one-legged man in a bum-kicking contest. I have a 30 minute walk to class each morning, which I use to practice my Swahili with screaming hordes of school children. I wake up every morning to a jaw-dropping view of Mount Kilimanjaro, and brush my teeth at night under an almost unreal canopy of stars. Life isn’t easy, necessarily, but it is good.

I’ll update when I can, but internet access is patchy until I get to site at the end of July. Thanks y’all for reading along.

PS – I may not respond to all of the comments, but I do read them when I can. Keep them coming! šŸ™‚