The internet seems to be working marginally well today, so I'm going to attempt a post. Sometimes, I write a whole big thing and then it doesn't send, so I hope it works out today.
I have a lot to report, cause I know it's been awhile, so I'll start with after my "run in" in Chuda. The next day, as I mentioned, I noticed that my camera had disappeared. Moses, who had brought me to a hotel when I was scared and lost the day before, had left me his phone number, I called him to see if he knew anything about the camera. I had deduced that I original thief had not had the time or wherewithall to stash my camera, so it must have been one of the soccer players that rescued my bag who had slipped the camera out inbetween. Hypocritical, but like Moses says sometimes, "People here in Africa, they do whatever they want."
He told me that he had heard a rumor that someone had it, and he would look into it. In the meantime, he took me back to Chuda, where I got to meet some of his friends. You might think I'm crazy for going back there, and I thought so too for a bit, but if you met him, you would know I was safe. He's a good guy. Anyway, his friends are a gang of 20-something guys that call themselves Ruff Houz. Because that's graffitied on the concrete wall at the place where they hang out all the time. They each have a nickname like rappers in the States, and crazy handshakes and slang sayings like What's up, but in Swahili. Hapo vipi? Hapo poa! Nicofresh lakini? Nicofresh. Moses is called Bobo Shanti, because of his dreads. His roommate is J, then there's Prince, Pudus (which means well dressed), Bonge (which means fatty), etc etc. A lot of them have girlfriends and wives who I've also gotten to know. They all go to the clubs on the weekends and try to teach me how to dance (imagine me dancing in a club full of Africans), and sometimes they go down to the water in the slums here in Chuda and drink palm wine. It's good stuff, but it will wreak havoc with your digestive system if you've never had it before. Just a heads up.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Bobo (Moses) found the guys that had my camera, and tried to get it back, but they wouldn't give it to him (surprise!). He was going to go to the police, but I talked with his friends who told me that he would be in danger if he went to the police, because the thugs would know who tipped them off. And they would not be happy with getting arrested. I didn't want anyone getting killed over it, so I told Bobo not to go to the police. He didn't like it, cause he didn't want to protect them. I didn't like it either cause I didn't want them to get away with it. PLus that's my second camera! But lives are more important than cameras.
So, after a week of staying dowtown and getting to know the gang in Chuda, I recieved word from an organization called WOFAK (Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya) that they wanted me for a one-month internship. They are a really awesome organization, that does work all over the country for people with AIDS, orphans, pregnant mothers who are infected, etc. They do counselling and provide vocational training and funds for a lot of great things. I am super happy to be working with them. I only with I had more than a month, but I've committed to being in Uganda the end of May. I spent the first week of my internship here in Mombasa working at a clinic helping with their program of preventing Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV. I was giving shots, filling out charts, helping give out test results, etc etc in teh AnteNatal Clinic. It was nerveracking to have so much responsability when I had no actual medical experience, but I learned quickly and I feel pretty good about that now. The trick is to take your own initiative. If you're worried about hygene cause you have no latex gloves, wash your hands with an alcohol swab, rather than sitting there fretting about it and wondering why someone doesn't tell you what to do. If you've never given a shot before, just think about how they do it on Grey's Anamoy. Or Scrubs. I like that show. But don't worry, there were other nurses there and they helped me out. They were pretty amazing actually. This week, I was helping out with a training seminar for people with HIV to learn how to counsel those who are going for or coming from testing. It's a good group to teach those skills to because they have teh added insight of having been there themselves. Plus it's a good way for them to find work. They were really great people. I'll send a picture if I can sometime.
After my first week of staying downtown, I moved in with J and Bobo. They offered, and it is much cheaper than renting somewhere and having to find furniture and everything. Or staying in a hotel. I've actually quite enjoyed living here so far. There's no running water, so I have to shower out of a bucket, and the toilet is outside. I do all my laundry by hand and cook on a one-burner kerosene stove, which by the way does not simmer. Its a great experience though. The real Mombasa, not what you get in the hotels and tourist hangouts. I stick out there because I'm white, but mostly its good attention. Plus most people know I'm friends with the Ruff Houz gang now so they don't bother me.
Tonight I'm going to Nairobi to spend the weekend. Next week, I start at a hospital in town similar to the one in Likoni I was at two weeks ago. Likoni is an area, like Kerisdale or the North Shore. So is Chuda. Chuda is like East Van.
I'll write again next week, cause I have a lot more I'd like to say about WOFAK and the amazing people I've met in the last two weeks, but there's only so much you can include in one post and this one's pretty packed already.
Talk to you all soon. Have a great start of summer!