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.