Tag Archive for 'Mombasa'

A taste of Mombasa

Here is a video test, shot out of the side of a matatu on my lil’ Panasonic LX-3’s movie mode.

1 Response to “A taste of Mombasa”

  • Wow, I got caught up in Christmas stuff and work and stuff and am only now catching up on your most recent posts– I am so impressed and proud of you! Sounds like a HUGE challenge but you seem more than up for it! I hope there isn’t a teachers strike. Can’t wait to read more! xoxo

Details on my assignment

Today the curtain was lifted: I’m going to Mombasa!  In fact, I’m going to the deaf school that we visited during our first week of training, which is where (as you may recall) I was given my sign name by the children there.  So it’s a full circle, which is nice.  Also nice is that Mombasa has great food and, if I recall correctly from the tour we received of my then-unknown future home, I will have a refrigerator, which means I can eat a lot of cheese.

This is a picture of one of the school buildings that I took during the first week of training.  Note the hand signs painted above the letters.


And here is the nearby Indian Ocean view:


Just outside Mombasa, the Tembo Disco and Beer Garden makes me think of my job back in the US.


And here is a view from the Deaf VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV/AIDS):


Suffice to say that there is not a lot of mystery surrounding WHERE I’m going, since I’ve already been there.  My placement is unique in this way, as the rest of the trainees are a) unsure of exactly what their place will look like and b) going to less urban places.  My placement in Mombasa, I believe, is the most urban in all of Peace Corps Kenya.  Of course I knew this would happen when I bought all my solar panel equipment… oh well, a backup plan never hurt anyone.

I am still in Nairobi for the next couple days and I haven’t seen much of it.  The Peace Corps office here has a lot of books on deaf education, which I was happy to see, and I am also happy that the curtain has also been lifted on a lot of other things, like long-term project goals.  I kept waiting for such things, and was beginning to fear that the Peace Corps was just a wandering organization, but it seems that they just keep things away from us during training.  Tomorrow is the swear-in, at which point I “officially” become a volunteer (not like they’ve been paying me a big salary so far), but that will entitle me, hopefully, to access all the secret information that I still don’t know is out there.

On a more sad note, one of the deaf ed trainees went home yesterday, so we’re down to eight trainees in the group.  Most of us will be going out tonight to a swanky restaurant (Carnivore, voted one of the top 50 restaurants in the world on more than one occasion) as a treat before we go our separate ways.  Three of us will be on the coast, but the rest are peppered inland with varying degrees of inconvenient travel distance.  I am especially sad that one of the trainees really wanted my assignment and she is just about the farthest from it, at least geographically.  I threw out the idea of a teaching exchange program but we’ll see if it’s really feasible.

I have also been speaking with some of the contract staff who will soon be free from Peace Corps (for the time being) and there is a genuine interest in staying in touch for collaboration on video/interactive/etc, so really things are going as well as they can be.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I no longer have giardia.

1 Response to “Details on my assignment”


I’m at an internet cafe in Mombasa.  First Internet for a while.  It’s slow and I’m not prepared (no USB stick in my pocket), so the longer what-I’ve-been doing post will have to wait.  Some highlights from my notes:

  • My goodbye present was amazing.  Thanks so much to everyone who called in.
  • They didn’t weigh or measure my bags AT ALL.  I’m sad now that we pulled so many things out at the last minute.
  • I drank a white port in Amsterdam during the layover– a final treat!
  • I sat next to the CEO of microcare.co.org during the 2nd flight– cool guy who gave good advice for a long life in Africa: “go to bed early” and “don’t eat salad.”
  • During the bus ride to Mombasa, we had to stop because GIRAFFES WERE RUNNING ACROSS THE ROAD.  Video to follow.
  • I already knew this, but Obama is HUGE here.
  • Mosquito nets over my bed in the hotel during training.  Emergency malaria meds in a kit courtesy of Novartis.

Today we visited 2 deaf schools around Mombasa.  My hair poofed up during the bus rides due to all the wind (needed because it’s HUMID), and the kids at the second school named me (meaning that this is my “sign name” for life, KSL, ASL, or otherwise).  My name goes like this: wiggle your fingers on your right hand while you trace your hand from the top of your scalp down toward your right ear.  Basically, indicate long curly hair.  They also named a girl in our group by tracing the shape of her scarf on her head.   Other volunteers will be named as time passes.  I like my name.

I really like the other volunteers.  There are a few of us who came from a multimedia background and we’re all hoping to apply it somehow here.

I’ll be in town for roughly a week before catching back up with the other trainees, at which point internet access will drop off even more.  I’ll try to over-post before that happens.  Wish me luck in learning Kenya Sign Language!

2 Responses to “Mombasa”

  • Paul – I hope you get this. Let me know so I can write more. FOr my comment on the giraffe, does he have a tail that looks like “long curly hair”??? I can’t believe it. How many were there? that is so cool. So, are you really in MOmbasa or somewhere outside? I’m going to look up the town now. Don;t let them send you near Somalia, PLEASE. I miss you so much already. In a way I’m glad that you cut back on your stuff because of having to lug it around.
    We are trying to send you a package after Thanksgiving, so let us know what you would like and need. Edith at work has a friend who works at Fed Ex. She said a package 18X18″ 30lbs normally is about $500, but that her friend will give me a BIG BIG discount, so please let us know before you go too far away and let us know the mailing address. If you want us to wait til you get a closer mailing address, that’s fine too. We will send a package no matter what, so let me know the address for arrival in December. I gave Bailey a bath yesterday. He was a dirty dog. Love, Mom Isn’t Ammsterdam a great airport? I would like to stay in Amsterdaam a couple of days sometime. I will send you some Lomotil, which is better for diarrhea, which I hope you don’t get just the same.

  • Do you know why the CEO said “don’t eat salad”? Because there’s termites in it. Do we eat them here in the U.S. (voluntarily, that is)? No. He gave some damn good advice.