Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Journey Home: First class to drowned rat

Maybe you’re expecting a blog about all the wonderful things I did (and ate) in America. Nope. This one's gonna cover my journey home to Kenya because you already know what America is like, I don't need to tell you.

I left with my Mom (who is currently up for sainthood) for Dulles International at 4:50 a.m. on Tuesday and we hit major unexpected traffic but still made it on time for my flight and just in time to be standing in line in front of two people having the most inane conversation of all time. I had just enough time to get through ticketing and security and make it to my flight where I realized I DID NOT apply enough deodorant that morning. Hmmmm.

Turns out they sell deodorant in the airport. Overpriced deodorant. Worth it. Problem: they don’t sell ladies deodorant, they sell men’s deodorant so I went the remainder of my trip smelling like a 40 year old man (no offense to all you 40 year old men out there, just I’m a 24 year old female and prefer to smell like one).

Luckily my flight to Ethiopia had an empty seat between myself and the man in the other end seat who had the unfortunate task of speaking with marbles in his mouth... I never saw them but they had to be there. YES! Sleep! Not enough, obviously, but more than I got on the flight to the U.S.

Upon landing in Ethiopia I learned this airport, without a doubt, has the dumbest most ridiculous absurd frustrating set-up for an airport that ever existed on the whole planet. Everyone on my flight was lost. I saw several people several times going several different directions, because I was doing the same. It took me 25 minutes and 4 different airport personnel to figure out how to get out of the arrivals and into the departures. Finally! Found it! Found my gate, no problem. Okay, one problem. The set-up of this particular wing: ALL the gates are on the left side of a very large hallway separated by an incredibly tall glass wall. On the other side of the wall you ask? Bathrooms, food, and shopping.  I need to be over there. So I started my journey. This wall must end somewhere. NOPE. Had to walk around until I found a break in the wall where I walked backwards through a security check to get to the bathrooms. To get back to my gate on the other side of the brick wall ( WHERE I HAD COME FROM ORIGINALLY) I had to go back through security which took approximately an hour.... you know after we let in a group of 8 or so businessmen in front of us claiming they were late for their flight but they sure did have enough time to hit up the duty free stores.

My landing in Nairobi was smoother than anticipated. I was off the plane and through customs within five minutes and was anxiously awaiting my luggage to try and make the 1:30 flight to Kisumu. As my bag came around it was 1:00, I booked it to domestic departures and begged them for a ticket. They only have business class tickets available. How much is it? Ridiculously expensive, that’s how much. How about the 4:30 flight? Also only business class. Okay, well if I’m paying that much for either flight I may as well grab the 1:30. Ooops, no can do that flight is closed. So I hang in the Nairobi airport until my fancy business class flight to Kisumu at 4:30.

Fasten your seatbelts kids, I’m nowhere near done yet.

I’ve arranged to stay with a volunteer in Kisumu since it will be dark within an hour of my arrival. The Kisumu airport does not allow entry to Tuk Tuks (which is my preferred mode of transportation) so I need to walk about ¾ of a mile out to the main road to get one. There aren’t any when I get there so I call one and begin patiently waiting for him to arrive. It’s starts to drizzle. I’m slightly less patient. It’s pouring. I call the driver again. On his way. It’s windy and pouring and cold. I call the driver again. On his way. Once I am completely soaked from head to toe with not a dry spot on my entire body my driver arrives (feeling not so business class anymore). The seat of the tuk tuk is basically a giant puddle… but what do I care, I’m already soaked. Anyway I safely arrived to my host volunteer’s house with my soaking wet clothes and my hair stuck to the sides of my face.  Oh yes, I wish there were pictures too.

I slept somewhat intermittently and then caught a bus back to Sega in the morning. However, not before getting a matatu into Kisumu town where they threw my suitcase on top and just hoped it’d stay up there. I’m anxious to be home and also afraid because on my outgoing flight from Kenya I realized I forgot to take out my trash. I was expecting the worst, or so I thought.

Once I arrived and opened my garden gate I was welcomed by a giant fallen tree blocking almost my entire entrance. Hmmmm. There was a very happy to see me puppy though! I walked in and checked the trash first, good sign there’s not maggots or flies or dead rats or anything. Whew.

After getting the story about the fallen tree (it was distracting. Distracting to who? We were afraid it would fall on a house) and being handed my laundry line with the few clothes pins I left I headed back home to really investigate.

Everything on my dresser was knocked over and there are rat feces all over my house. They have set-up some kind of semi- permanent residence. I threw on some gloves and cleaned until I felt like I was gonna pass out, so I did. I was awakened by the priest yelling my name. There was a man there to cut up some of the tree. He came, he chopped, he left, I slept. I woke up to the sound of mice running around in my belongings. So it begins. There’s one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom. I opt to go for the one in the kitchen. It escaped. I decide to remove all my drawers from my dresser and stack them in the middle of the room with my suit case on top. Rats have lovingly pooped all over my clothes. The bottom drawer is stuck in the dresser so I leave it.

After a while I decide to cook up some pasta and as I reach for the bag I hear something, there, right where my pasta was is a mouse… staring at me as if I can’t see him. I see you! I open the door, grab a bucket and bang the shelf until the mouse jumps off at which point I scream and Viper comes to my rescue and chases it into a drawer which was entertaining but not at all successful.

Once I got my pasta cooking on the stove my electricity went out. Welcome home.

I will be cleaning for the next 3 days most likely.

Anyway, long story short? I’m back safe and sound and overall happy to be here. For all the ridiculous things that happen to me here, there’s a part of me that finds it hysterical that I can never anticipate anything that’s going to happen. It’s definitely different from America but I don’t think my trip could have been better scheduled. I feel like I can truly appreciate my 100 some odd days left in this country but I also feel mentally prepared to return and be like everyone else…. In enormous debt. Ha!

To everyone that I was able to see in America, it was so so wonderful and I felt very welcomed and loved. To everyone that I was unable to see in America, it’s a bummer, but you’ll be first priority when I get back. Two weeks flew by.

Thanks for reading!
(This one took me a few days to get posted because of internet issues, but expect another gut wrenching rat update in the very near future!)

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