I've officially arrived in Kenya! After over 24 hours of traveling, we landed last night around 7:30 PM Kenya time (and I was right - it felt completely amazing), got all of our luggage by 9, got to the "hostel" (feels more like a hotel - we all have our own rooms with running water and electricity) in Nairobi at around 10:30, had some dinner (rice and beans! I already love Kenyan food), and crashed by 11:30 or 12. We have limited internet access and connectivity, but this is probably the only time we'll have wireless during our service here, so I had to take advantage and post a quick update.
Today has been full of paperwork and an extensive introduction to our new lives in Kenya. We can already tell it will be quite an adjustment, especially for us Americans (even more especially for us women) to dress and act as conservatively as is expected, since most of us trainees find our identities in independence and self-expression. But we can't really complain, we know it's all part of the cross-cultural experience.
I'm excited to rest a bit tonight (under my mosquito net, of course) since we were bombarded with so much information today, we didn't sleep much at all last night, and we have an early morning tomorrow. Our deaf education group (9 people) leaves in the morning for Machakos for our training, while the rest of the trainees (29 people) head to Loitokitok for their training. We'll be meeting our host families on Sunday, and starting our language training on Monday. As you can probably tell, t's all happening rather fast.
Just FYI, the PO Box that we're using is different from the one I initially put up on the right side of the blog, but now it's correct. Also, for the first 90 days, all incoming packages are customs-free (no charge) for me :) If you do decide to send something, you'll probably have to fill out a customs form. No matter what's inside the package, don't check "food" as being in the package, or the customs agents will open it and go through it. Just say "books" or something similar.
And as I expected, Kenya is absolutely beautiful. It's in the 70s and sunny - it reminds me of San Diego! I am so excited to make this my home away from home. No giraffes or zebras yet, but I'm keeping my eyes open.
Also, friends, please send me your address if you'd like to receive mail from me. You can shoot me an e-mail, and hopefully I'll get a chance to check it within the next couple weeks. After today, internet access is a complete unknown.
This update is scattered and not totally comprehensive, but the bottom line is I'm here, alive and quite happy... and ready to start learning