Today was our first full day in Kenya. We arrived at our destination around midnight/1 am. After a quick night's rest, we headed out for the day. We left the compound to find multiple wildlife roaming right outside the gates. We saw impala, zebra and wildabeasts to name a few. We continued our journey through Nairobi, Kenya's capital. Along the way, we were able to get an idea of how densely populated the city is. Traffic was very congested and unorganized. During areas of stand still traffic, there were people selling all sorts of things in the road, such as cold water, bananas and snacks. Many others had set up shops on the sides of the roads to sell clothing and food. To accompany the traffic came a haze of smog and a variety of smells that we don't typically experience in the US. The exhaust from the diesel trucks and the smell from the local meat factory were the main contributors to the air pollution.
After an hour of traveling through Nairobi, we arrived at our first destination, The Giraffe Sanctuary. We all had such a great experience at the giraffe sanctuary. We had the opportunity to feed and pet giraffes. Some of us even got a smooch on the lips from the giraffes for food. We got a brief lesson on the history and mission of the sanctuary from one of the giraffe handlers. We also learned more about giraffes, their lifespan, behaviors and breeding. After spending some time with the giraffes and taking lots of pictures, we browsed the gift shop. Once we all bought a few souvenirs, we loaded back in the vans and headed to the Kazuri bead and pottery factory and shop.
Here we learned about the history of the Kazuri bead factory. This was established to help single mothers obtain employment and independence. We had the opportunity to tour the factory and we saw the women hand-making all of the beads and pottery. We got to learn about the process and how the profits help these women to maintain financial independence. While shopping, we were all privileged enough to hear the women join together in a beautiful song.
We journeyed through Nairobi again, this time getting a better view of the slums where around 1 million people live in poverty. This was a very eye opening experience for many of us, as to see how privileged we are. After arriving back at our home base for the night, we sorted through and began to organize the 26 bags of medical supplies, school supplies, clothes, shoes and other donations. We ended our night with dinner and a group debriefing where we shared our experiences throughout the day. At dinner, we all got to try an African food called ugali, which is a very common corn dish. We are all tired from traveling but look forward to going to an area 6 hours outside of Nairobi tomorrow where we will tour a clinic and get to experience more of Kenya. We will keep you all posted on our journey and experiences!!