Before finally deciding to attend University, I spent the majority of my early twenties working, saving and travelling. I’d been bitten by the travel bug, and I was addicted, for me it was a lifestyle, and I absolutely loved it. But when the pandemic hit in my first year of Uni everything stopped. I hadn’t set foot in another country for three years prior to this trip, and I was BUZZING! Just being at the airport with everyone, I was so filled with excitement for the adventure ahead.
However, the journey was gruelling. Much longer than I’d realised, and sadly the long-haul flight was so uncomfortable that barely any of us managed to get to sleep. So, when we finally arrived in Nairobi airport in the early hours of the morning, we were all feeling the sleep deprivation. But a picture-perfect sunrise gave the warm (literally) welcome to Africa that I think we’d all been dreaming of. Meeting up with Peter and heading off to catch our final flight to Kisumu renewed my excitement, but when we finally arrived and crammed into our bus, we then had a final slog to the Treat House hotel that took far longer than any of us had expected. I was exhausted. The hotel was beautiful, and the veg curry – when it finally arrived – was delicious. I slept for 10 hours straight that first night.
Our first couple of days at the University of Rongo were interesting, as we finally got a flavour for Kenyan culture, which felt oddly similar to the laid-back Spanish approach of everything ‘manana’ (tomorrow)! Everything ran late, which although frustrating at least meant we got to relax a bit the first few days. Everyone was so welcoming; and I felt so happy to be travelling again and fully immerse myself in another culture. I really enjoyed learning bits of Ki Swahili and started making notes in my phone so I could remember key words and phrases. It was beautifully sunny and just driving along the Kenyan roads watching life chug along made me smile.
Meeting the students at Rongo was a lot of fun, we played some silly games to get to know each other’s names, and they all seemed genuinely pleased to meet us. On Friday afternoon we had a really interesting discussion on community radio, and I was so impressed with their insightful comments. I was so fascinated that we all had such different ideas about what constitutes community, and enjoyed the debates we had on passive community members.