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So, this is me on vacation!  Please disregard the bags under my eyes...I'm not sure where those are from...actually they may be from the most uncomfortable 10 hour bus ride of my life.  The night bus from Mombasa, which left at 10 pm and was SUPPOSED to arrive in Nairobi at 6 am, but actually arrived at 9 am, was an absolute nightmare.  My legs couldn't fit in the seat, so I guess it didn't matter that I was sitting next to the most overweight and cologned man on the bus.  And no, this is a 'high class bus', so the windows don't open, you are forced to suffocate.  I guess I need to move on from it though, because these past few days have been heaven on earth, I've gotten work done, and I've gotten some serious me-time alone.

Me-time alone is mostly listening to NPR, drinking lots of instant coffee, taking hot showers, and taking impromptu excursions into Nairobi (mostly to find fruit...or explore Nakumatts).  The time off has enabled me to read halfway through Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which is a liberal from Vermont's philosophical nightmare, and is also one of the most brilliant pieces of literature I've ever read.  I've finished one Reflective Practice Question (RPQ) for my Capstone portfolio, and I have an outline for the second one!  The 2nd RPQ is little broader, and the third, I can't even get into, because there is no structure at all.  I want to write about my social identity crisis in Kenya...I'm a relatively poor, grundged out liberal working-class masters student back in the states.  Here I'm an ignorant, rich, Godless, kanga-donning phony!  Well not to everyone, but to those locals are the most vocal.  Vocal locals, phrase coined.

I'm digressing, because that is a whole new blog that I don't want to get into right now, I'm in a nice workspace and my mind is clear.  Which leads me to the topic of this strange it is to work in the field and also work in the Western bubble-space my mind "needs" in order to function.

I love living in the village I work in, I love to "rough it" and think I can take on anything, or in my case nothing.  No electricity, no fresh running water, no meat, no laundry, no showers, no chocolate, no cheese, no leaving your head communication with friends and family in the states.  However, when it comes down to me needing to write a 30 page thesis, complete with three 5-7 page RPQs, biographies, learning plans, proposals, Human Subject reviews...somehow I fall short of being able to take on the nothing.  I need this environment:

I need music, I need coffee with NPR in the background, I need linoleum floors, I need unlimited free wireless internet.  I need everything, or I produce nothing.  What does this say about my line of work? It says its freaking hard to try and do something academic when you're working in the field, practicing the theory you spent so long learning about.  It makes me wonder how people like Jane Goodall could do what she did.  I'm whining aren't I?  Maybe its just easier to say its easier to work in this environment.  The productivity test is beginning, I'll see how much I can do now, when I have all the comforts at hand, and what I can produce in the next 10 weeks while I'm living an isolated and remote lifestyle in Kakamega forest.

Alright, blog time over, back to work time!  Cheers everyone!


KEEP and the last day of my life as a Volunteer!

Hello!!! I know its been a few weeks since posting, but I have moved from Tsavo to Wasini island, both places with absolutely NO electricity, therefore no ability for me to be able to post my wonderful thoughts on the interwebs!  I am back, for a few hours, before leaving again, so I would love to bring everyone up to do date on whats been going on for the past month, and also to announce a very exciting new venture for me!

So, Tsavo - was incredible.  We worked in two different villages in Tsavo West National Park, Kidong and Lekole Lepolosi.  Both were absolutely incredible experiences that I will never forget, and I also gained a lot of professional skills in working with CBOs (Community based organizations).  Both groups embody a joint organization called "Poachers to Protectors", and we got to hear their amazing stories about beginning alternative lifestyles to poaching bush animals in the national park.  Their lives were extremely hard before, and very dangerous.  Rangers in the parks are licensed to shoot on site if they see poachers in the parks, and they also had to fight for their lives every day with lions, elephants, hunger and the type of poverty that comes with a 'easy come, easy go' lucrative business.  They gave it all up, and with the help from organizations like GVI are working towards creating alternative, sustainable, and eco-friendly livelihoods.  They have a website going up soon, which I will be sure to post as soon as its ready.  Here is a picture of us working in Lepolosi with some Maasai community members on crafts making projects:

We also got to feast on roast goat and roast shoat!!! Which was absolutely delicious...all in all two of the best weeks of my life.

Actually, the last two weeks were equally as incredibe...I spent them on a boat doing marine research in Kisite National Park!!You can read all about that here:

and see all the beautiful pictures of where I got to snorkel :-)  Here is a picture of my absolutely favorite fish, the Emperor Angelfish

Now onto the great internship placement!!! I will be working for KEEP (Kakamega
Environmental Education Program) in Kakamega rainforest!!!  The site is here if you want to read more, please do!!  I'll be doing work with their eco-tourism program development!! It is absolutely perfect for my Capstone, and I'm so excited to be working on my own.  I cannot wait to post pictures of the site here, it looks like I"ll be headed up there in a few weeks.  For now, just peruse these random google images:
 Fluffy Colobus Monkeys!!