Well I am here! Arrived in Nairobi at 4 this morning. So far I'm on system overload... it's busy, it's noisy, it's dirty, it's colorful, it's active, it's exactly like I thought it would be and better. I can't believe I'm in Kenya.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I'll be doing my program orientation for the HIV/AIDS work. I hear that non-medically-certified people like myself can only work with NGO's, not government groups, and those postings have apparently been few lately, but I'm inviting the perfect placement to me and can't wait to see how it all turns out.
As for Cycle of Hope, I've emailed the ladies here at Africa Youth Trust who helped Loretta dispense her Lunapads kits, and tomorrow I'll be buying a mobile so I'll be able to make personal contact. My hope is to arrange in the next couple days which address to have the kits sent to so the shipping process can get going back in North America, and then I'll have time to make specific arrangements for connecting with local girls and handing the kits out. So far it looks like about 50 kits are heading my way, which still blows my mind-- my best-case-scenario when I started this project was 30 kits, so I'm thrilled. Really looking forward to meeting the girls who will get them. Walking here to the internet cafe this afternoon, along a dusty road past women with babies slung on their backs and men hanging off the sides of minibuses, I looked up and saw a little girl, about 10, staring at me from the other side of the road. I smiled, and she smiled, and we waved at each other, and there it was: my first contact with a girl in Kenya, and it made me so glad. After a month in a culture where women are very reticent and I had few meaningful interactions with them, I'm so happy to be somewhere I can talk to women and girls.
For those just linking to this blog through the Lunapads newsletter, my story in a nutshell is that I'm traveling for three months-- I just spent a month in the middle east, and my next step is a month to six weeks here in east Africa-- and while this Kenyan step involves volunteer work and the Cycle of Hope project, the rest is just my personal exploration. For further details please check out my travel blog, hawfield.blogspot.com, where you can get much more in-depth reporting. Thanks Lunagals for spreading the word about Cycle of Hope, and I hope everyone will stay tuned for the forthcoming reports on how it all turns out!