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Written on: Thursday July 12th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kenya, Africa

I met up with a ton of GVN volunteers last weekend to go on safari.  We went to Masai Mara and to Lake Nukuru.  It was incredible how close we got to all of the animals.  We saw all of the big five, which are the most aggressive animals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo), as well as cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, hippos, and hyenas.  We stayed in big canvas tents out in the middle of nowhere, the stars were brighter than I have ever seen.  There was running water at the campsite, it felt so good to have a real shower!  We also went to visit a Masai village.  The Masai still follow all of their cultural traditions.  Only now are some of the kids starting to go to school (its up to the father).  Wealth is measured by the number of wives and cows a man has.  They live in family groups in small mud huts, and eat mostly milk and cows blood.  The warriors did a couple dances for us, and we had a tour of the village.  It was really interesting to see the way they live, its so different from all of the other tribes in Kenya.

It was great to talk to the others about their experiences volunteering, it seems like we're all having the same challenges.  Its difficult to be seen as a big dollar sign everywhere you go when you don't have a lot of money or things to give.  Its also difficult when you do have things to give, because more often than not they don't get to where you want them to.  To make our library project work, either Vanessa or I are going to have to bring all of the supplies directly to the orphanage and distribute them ourselves.

Another big group of volunteers arrived at New Hope, there are 21 of us total now, and its getting kind of crowded.  We all went into Nairobi on Tuesday to check out the Masai market.  I like to think that I'm really good at bargaining, but I'm probably getting ripped off.  Theres tons of beautiful jewelry and carvings, I'm running out of space in my bag.  We're all fairly comfortable on matatus by now, but the ride home from Nairobi was a bit of an adventure.  First we got stuck in traffic and got rear ended.  Which I guess isn't a big deal because we didn't even stop.  Then on the highway the engine started smoking and the matatu broke down.  We all had to get out and wait on the side of the highway, but luckily it had just overheated, so after borrowing some water from the neighbours we were on our way again.  Our ride in the matatu today had 19 people in it, as well as large bags of maize and vegetables, with only seats for 14.

Today is my last day at the orphanage.  We're having a big goodbye party tonight for Vanessa and I, which I know is going to be really sad.  They're all asking when I'm going to be coming back, and I just don't know when I can.  The best I can do right now is become a penpal for them.  I'm definately going to miss the kids a ton, I will never forget them.


From avril on Jul 12th, 2007

Hey Jackie! I love hearing about your adventures and volunteer experiences. I want to go to Africa too! Are you coming back to Vancouver soon?

From Shelby on Jul 24th, 2007

Jackie My Love!!! I missyou so so so much but I am so glad that you are having the time of your life!!! I can't wait to see ya!!! By the way thanks for the picutre of the Zebra it almost made me cry! love ya and miss ya bunches can't wait until we are reunitied!