Day 1 – London/Nairobi

Greetings everyone from Kenya!

Arrived safely in Kenya at 6:30 this morning to rainy skies. After getting our bags and meeting Dr. Barthelme and the others, we hopped on a bus which transported us to the compound in Karen. Karen is a nicer part of Nairobi, home mostly to people with money. We didn’t see much of the city on our way here because the bus was fogged up, but we’ll be seeing a lot more during the next few days. Kenyan drivers are absolutely mad! I felt like I was on a rollercoaster most of the trip. The compound itself is beautiful covering six acres and housing several small buildings. It was originally a hunting lodge until St. Lawrence bought it. They have since made several additions and the compound is very well protected by walls, razor wire and guards at the gate. There are avocado trees, macadamia trees, and guava trees dropping snacks all over the place. The air here smells so sweet and light showers come and go every few minutes, interspersed with periods of warm sun. All of the instructors are fantastic and have a lot of interesting things planned for us. There are 25 students total staying at the compound. Kyle, two others and myself are staying in the newly constructed “barn” which has a small living room and a bathroom downstairs and 4 beds upstairs, it’s more of a small cottage and is actually quite nice. Many of the staff live here with their children who are so much fun. We spent all afternoon playing with them in the yard, despite the fact that we’ve been up for over 50 hours straight. Yes, the plane rides were very long and uncomfortable. Stopping in London was a great reprieve. A few of us had lunch on Carnaby Street, then walked through Piccadilly and Leicester Square down to the river. We stopped at Belushi’s in Covent Garden and had a few pints, then headed over to Holborn and took the tube back to Heathrow. It was surreal to be back in London, if only for six hours. I can’t wait to go back after Kenya and spend a bit more time doing what I love.

This afternoon was very lax, we got a tour of the compound and learned a bit more about our coursework. Alex, the chef who will be accompanying us in the field is fantastic and served us three excellent meals today. Dr. Barthelme promises that Alex always makes more than we can eat which I fully plan on testing.

Not a real exciting night planned, most of us will probably crash in a few hours. There has been a slight change of plans in the schedule. We were set to head out to the Great Rift Valley on Wednesday, but it has been pushed back until next Saturday. We will be there almost the entire month of June. It is unlikely that the schedule will change much more than that, and besides I’m happy to be spending more time on this beautiful campus.

I’m off to enjoy the night with the others now. Pictures and more new soon, when I’m not so knackered. Tomorrow is a two hour Swahili lesson and a trip into the center of Nairobi. I hope everyone is doing well. Speak soon.

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