Thursday, February 7, 2013

Arrival In Kenya – Thursday, February 7, 2013

It is said that blondes burn easily in the sun. This is something I’m acutely aware of and even end up applying sunscreen hourly, towards the end of the clinics when my poor Irish skin has given up trying to defend itself. I had no idea I would get a burn before breakfast on day 1. That is new, but we’ll get to that.
So to start, everyone has arrived safely. We are a team of 12, and I won’t call us ragtag because everyone here is motivated. You can see the excitement in the team and desire to make a difference. Five of us flew from Charlottetown, all the way to the big metropolis of Halifax. (To those of you in Texas, when you compare airport sizes, that’s like starting out in San Angelo and your first connection is in San Antonio. Why San Angelo instead of Dallas or Austin, well we’re still trying to figure that out.)

In line with the anticlimactic start, our flights were on time and even mundane, for which we are all grateful. A few hours to Montreal, a few hours in the airport, 6 or so hours to Brussels, a few hours in the airport, and 10 (yes 10 consecutive hours) on the plane to Nairobi, in a seat that was less comfortable and smaller than the first puddle jumper that we started the day in. I don’t want to sound ungrateful that everything went smooth, it was just surprising.

In anticipation of the stifling heat and humidity of the Nairobi airport, I removed 4 layers of shirts and my long-johns while on the last flight. Yes, that does in fact mean I started with 5 layers for this 36 hour journey. You don’t want to bring a heavy coat with you from Canada as there’s no room for it the rest of the trip, so, layers! However, I did not remember this fact when I packed into a smaller bag than normal, so it was a bit difficult to find a ‘home’ for all of these shirts.

When we arrived in the Nairobi airport, we collected our wheelchair. Oh yes, did I mention that? Gaylene rode one of the wheelchairs over so we could save on the cost of transportation. She was wheeled through the airports, which while that may sound nice not to have to handle your bag or walk, it means she essentially sat for 36 hours with very little walking. What a trooper though, and her acting…superb. She was the right person for the job. Having seen the fortunate person in Mikinduri that receives a wheelchair, I assured Gaylene that any pressure points and bedsores will be worth the look on their face!

Well I wanted to quickly send this off as we’re about to leave for Castle Forest Lodge. I suppose the burn story will have to wait. It’s not really that exciting, but just reminded me that the dangers in Kenya are more from what seems familiar than the unknown. (Dun dun dunnnnn).

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