starting to prepare for kenya
Since returning from Trinidad, I've started to shift my attention to the next major trip in my life: to Kenya with ONE.org. I've got a flight or two between now and when I leave on July 23rd; but they are domestic flights, requiring far less preparation than the 9,000-mile journey to Nairobi from Houston. This is the first international trip to a destination I've never visited before that I've taken in years; as a result, like I was telling my friend Mark last week, I don't remember the last time I was this excited/nervous about a journey.
So my preparations began in earnest last week by sending my passport off to get a visa, as well as getting a series of innoculations/vaccines. I had to go to a special travel clinic to get them, and I ended up getting four shots. It was no big deal.
(I'm totally lying. Embarrassing admission: I hate shots. Hate them. The last time I had to get vaccinations, I cried. Big ol' crocodile tears, man. I wish I was kidding -- it was so humiliating. But this time, I didn't cry, not even a little bit! I will say that the yellow fever vaccine, however, was the worst of the bunch: it stings like mad, and then two days later, OH THE ITCHING. After about 12 hours, I was actually ready to chew my left arm off, coyote-style. But the itching and nasty red welt that appeared have subsided, and now I'm just waiting to see if I have any side effects from the series of oral typhoid fever vaccination pills I'm in the middle of taking. I'm told it's possible I might get a fever during the time between the third and fourth dose, which is pretty much exactly when I'm writing this. So far, so good. ((An aside: despite following doctor's orders to the letter, shouldn't I be concerned that there's live typhoid currently sitting in my fridge right next to the food we eat? Shouldn't I be living in a bubble for the next few days to protect others from infection while I'm taking these pills? Wasn't Typhoid Mary called that because of the wildly contagious nature of the thing?))
But I digress.)
Anyway, I suspect that over the next few weeks, as I start studying up on Kenya and Nairobi and Kisumu, I may feel compelled to write a few posts about some of what I learn, including the books I read, my packing lists, etc. I hope you don't mind. To be clear, ONE isn't asking me to write any preparatory posts -- the posts that I do write as part of my relationship with them will be clearly marked as such -- but this is such a wonderful adventure I'm about to embark on (one which I'm still having a hard time believing is not a dream) and so I'd love to share it with you.
And of course, since I know many of you have traveled to/lived in Kenya, any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Seriously, I cannot wait to take you along with me on this trip.
Updated: Here's the OFFICIAL official announcement about our trip to Kenya! And yet, I still think it's all a dream.
Image: A streetside market stall in Tunapuna, Trinidad. Photographed with my Nikon D200, 50mm lens, aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/2000, ISO 500.