Back in Finland

So this is going to be my last post.

We all got safely back to Finland and are trying to get used to “Finnish time” (with out the two hour plus) and back to work, doing thesis ect.

I have been in Finland for about three weeks now and I am quite happy to be back. It felt amazingly good to go in to a shower where the water is actually running, to go to sauna and to eat ruisleipä and salmiakki. 🙂

I miss the children from the school and I am really worried of how they are doing, hoping they will all survive if there is any bombing and the elections next year. We’ll hope it doesn’t get that bad as it was last time..

If you want to go and do your practical training in Kenya, here is a tip for you; be open minded! Do not trust anyone (especially if there is money involved) and find out a lot from the country already before you go, also when being in the country, you have to be active, or else you may not get much help.

That’s about it.. bye!

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Nairobi and around!

For the last two weeks we have been travelling and seeing Nairobi a bit. Our practical training has been going on and we have enjoyed our stay here in Kenya.

First of all we went to Masai Market on Saturday one week ago. Lots and lots of nice stuff you can buy, but the prices are really high unless you know how to bargain. Sometimes they ask you to pay three or four times the price.. So just be rude and suggest something like one third of the price or half. Then on Sunday we went to Karen Blixen museum, Bomas of Kenya and Kazuri. Karen Blixen museum was nice and we got quite a lot out of it because we took a guide to tell us about the rooms. The guide was speaking very quickly and wasn’t very interested in questions but it was quite easy to get the idea. Also the guides in there don’t cost anything but you are expected to give some tip for them. To get in to Karen Blixen museum costs 800Ksh, even tho it says in lonely planet that it is a lot cheaper.

Kazuri is a factory where single mothers go to do pots and beads from ceramics and sell them there and also all over the world. The place is awesome and the work they do is absolutely beautiful!! You can imagine we spend some money in there.. 😀 Kazuri means beautiful and small.

After those we went to Bomas of Kenya, which is a place where small African villages as samples from different tribes are. It was quite interesting and our taxi driver walked there with us and could tell us more about the villages. There are no signposts that would tell you much about them, so I think it was good we had George with us there.

On the next week there was a national holiday, Kenyatta day, or hero day as some of them say. We were asked to go to climb up Mt Longonot with a youth group and so we went 🙂 We left from Nairobi on Wednesday to Naivasha which is supposed to be one hour drive away from Nairobi. Well this time it took about 3 hours in the matatu.. On the next day we woke up early and went to have breakfast, to wait our ride to the mountain. As normal in Africa the ride was a bit over two hours late.. Finally we got to the mountain and it was awesome! I really recommend you to go there as long as you remember you need also warm clothes and that also this park is under Kenyan wildlife service, which means you have to pay the whole 20 dollars when you get there, or if you are under 23 years old, do the student discount letter two weeks earlier! We had some problems with the money things and found out that the boy who booked it for us (and we trusted in) told it was more expensive that it was supposed to be and took the money from us.. It is hard to find people you can trust in money situation here.. So be careful!

After the trip to longonot we found out that the situation in Kenya has got worse and the Al-shabaab has threatened to attack on Nairobi. New news come up every day about the kidnaps, security, corruption, suicide bombings ect. Nothing so big hasn’t happened yet, but the school told us and we also figured that out, that it is not safe for us to be here anymore.. So we are all flying out during this week and the next one, hoping to get back one day. The trip here was nice, but not easy. There are a lot of things that are hard to get used to but you can also get a lot from your time in Kenya. Lets hope the political situation gets better soon, tho I think it might be quite bad for the next year because of this Al-shabaab thing and also the elections that are supposed to be next year.

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Something in Nairobi

We had our first group meeting on Tuesday. Our students liked it a lot, at least it looked like they did, but the teacher who was there with us to translate, wasn’t too happy just translating and was saying things against our will and trying to change things and didn’t let us explain things for the students. I don’t know what we should do.. At least we need to talk to the teacher, but how can we tell her that we are here to learn and want to do the mistakes for ourselves and that we want to be the ones who are guiding the group and she is there only because of the language problem and to observe. Well we’ll see how it goes next week. We have this same group every week once during the time we spend here. We are also having these creativity guiding sessions in one class per day a few times a week. This is how we decided to do our internship here, because we wanted to work with all the students at some point and give something nice and different for them to remember and also of course to practice planning different things. I think this is the best way to learn it.

African time is so different to Finnish time that we have been quite a many times annoyed and amazed by it. Some teachers arrive to school 30 minutes late and the students just wait in the classroom doing nothing and not having anyone to supervise them during that time. Also every time we were supposed to go somewhere with the school the bus or some people have been late, some even for two hours or more! This week we are going to have a lady here who’s going to make braids for me and Anna. I heard our principal tell her to come on Wednesday and Thursday mornings very early. That was the only advice she got, the only time, very early! I asked the principal “what means very early” and she told me it means 7 or 7.30 or 8.00.. I was ready at 6.50 waiting for the lady on Wednesday morning. She never came. She called though at 8.30 she called that she can’t make it today she will be here on Thursday and Friday.

I think to the African time there is also included the “how long something is going to take”. Usually they always say it is going to take about one hour or two hours. It means it can take anything between 30 minutes to five hours 🙂 so that is something to be aware of.

Tomorrow we are going to west lands, which is a part of Nairobi where all the rich people live. There are also all the embassies ect. We are going there to buy something healthy to eat 🙂 like oats, muesli, yoghurt, lakritsia, some bread and so on. It is also worth seeing the fancy part of Nairobi as we haven’t seen it yet.

Now it has been quite cold for the few days and we have got some rain too. Some of the teachers have told us that is the short rains season. What that means, I am not so sure, but apparently it is going to take 2weeks to 6 weeks and then it is going to be very warm. At least that’s what they say. We’ll see about that. But now some warm socks made from wool, fleece long sleeves, good shoes and scarf have really been useful!

Trip to Nakuru

We went for the weekend to Nakuru which is one of the big cities in Kenya. It felt good to get out of Nairobi for a while again, this is so busy!

We were supposed to go there on Friday by matatu but that was easier said than done.. We couldn’t get any matatus from Mathare to Nairobi city center and therefore we couldn’t take matatu to Nakuru. It is good we have this taxi driver who is always ready to take us where we want, this time he took us to Nakuru 2,5 hours and 6000KSH (42€). We thought it was quite expensive because the matatu would have coasted us only 400 shillings per person, but we really wanted to go!

During those few days in Nakuru we went to Lake Nakuru national park, which is famous from flamingos and rhinos. We saw a lot of animals and the park itself was very beautiful. The minus thing from the park is that you have to be under 23 years old to get the student discount, which we didn’t get and then it is really expensive: 75USD… So I guess we are not going to visit that many parks, at least if they are under Kenyan wildlife service, we just can’t afford it.

In Nakuru we met some locals (they were a friend of our friends) and they made dinner for us. It was really nice to talk to some local and ask about things, see an African home and eat homemade dinner. We even saw the news there from the TV, although I don’t know if that is a good thing because we all got a bit scared from them. The situation in Somalian border has got a bit worse and I am a little worried if we can go to the coast during our stay here at all 🙁

Nakuru was really nice city and a lot more relax and smaller than Nairobi. I would like to visit it again.

On the weekend when we got back to Nairobi and to our own Matatu stop in the city center I had my first experience of pickpockets in here. Someone opened my backpacks small zipper, but didn’t take anything because of course I didn’t have anything valuable in there. But apparently it is true that there are a lot of them in Nairobi.

Now we are back to our work and the weather in Nairobi is horrible, cold and very rainy. We’ll see weather or not it is going to get any warmer.. I hope it will anyway.

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African Funeral

We were yesterday with Sinikka in our first Kenyan funeral. Our schools deputy died for cancer two weeks ago and they asked also us to come for the funeral. So we left at 7am from the school yard with the school bus and two small cars. We were told that the funeral will be held in a small village 2hrs drive away. Well it took us a bit longer because our buss broke down on the way and we had to try and get another one. We got one of these big matatus and so we continued. First we went to this place where people go and see their lost one and then collect the body and take it home for the ceremony and to be buried.

The teacher’s home was a beautiful place with a lot of banana trees. There the ceremony was held on the backyard with at least 100 guests. Most of the guests were standing during the whole ceremony which lasted almost 5 hours! Ceremony included a lot of photographing around the coffin (they asked also us for two photos), many speeches, some singing (I think it was gospel, tho I didn’t understand anything), a lot of sermons from at least 4 priests. We were able to understand half of our principals speech plus on sermon from a priest, and it felt like he meant that sermon for us.

We got back around 7pm without eating more than a few bananas and drinking only a little water during the whole day. It was very long and interesting day, also very different to Finnish funeral. People were wearing anything from black to bright yellow and some were crying, some laughing. I didn’t take any pictures during the day.

Tomorrow we are planning on going to Nakuru national park and to Nakuru city for the weekend. The school is now closed for Thursday and Friday because of a mid brake.

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Second week

Also this week we have been going around in the classrooms and assisting where we can. Activities they do in classrooms are similar; sorting out colors, writing from a model, practicing alphabets and numbers, some mathematics and English. With older students they practice how to prepare food, how to clean and also some tailoring (like pearl job). We still have tailoring class and workshop to go to, those ones we are going to do tomorrow and Tuesday.

On Monday we need to discuss with Phanice how we want to do our practical training in here. I hope we can do something that would be useful for everyone, for us, for the kids and also for the teachers.

On weekend we went to Masai Mara to see all the animals. We had a three days two nights package which included 3 game drives, meals, accommodation, guide, driver, transport ect. It coasted us 340 US dollars. We were really happy with this tour and we saw a lot of animals! The camping site was nice, food was good and our driver was really good at finding animals from the huge park.

I will load up some photos here again, from preparing the food, from the slum and from our trip to Masai Mara.

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First week in Nairobi

First week is almost gone now and I can’t really say if it went fast or really slowly.. It feels like we have been here already a month. Days feel sometimes long here in the slum when you don’t have much to do in this small yard and apartment. I have books with me and of course a lot of schoolwork to do (but I can’t do the yet because I don’t have that cheaper internet yet).

We have been working from 8.15 or 8.30 to 14.00 or 15.00 everyday. So far it has only been orientating us with the school, kids, teachers, classes ect. We have been now in three classes so we still have quite a few to go. After we have been one day in each class we will decide how we want to do our practical training.

On Saturday we were in this big event with the school where they celebrated the inventor of Special Olympics. There were some games, music, dancing ect. It feels like these people like to dance everywhere, it is amazing how they can move their bodies like that!  The day was nice but long. We were on that trip altogether for 12 hrs. We were supposed to leave at 7 am but we waited for some of the kids and we left two hrs after that. Also the bus trip was supposed to take about 45 minutes. It took almost 2 hours, again because of some waiting on the way.

On Sunday we went to Fourteen falls near Thicka which was amazing! It felt so good to get away from the city and the slum to the countryside for a day. This country is really beautiful outside the cities 🙂 The falls were nice and we all got an adventure that we really needed. We paid 4000 KSH for the taxi driver to take us there and back (it took 1,5 to 2 hrs, on way) and we also paid 800 KSH for the guides at the falls. Then we had to pay entrance fee which was 400 KSH (residents would have paid 60 KSH) + 500 KSH for each cameras we had. Of course we only had one… so it all came up to maybe 15 Euros.

Miisa was washing her clothes so now we have electricity break (I think it’s our shower that does it because we also got one the other night when I was taking a shower..) so I can’t write anymore, running out of battery soon.

Some pictures from our first week:

First days in Nairobi

First days in Kenya

So we arrived to Kenya in the middle of the night, which made us a little nervous because all the stories we have heard. We had called for a taxi driver people from this school knew, so that he would come and pick us up. He didn’t come, but we found some other guy who took us safely to our hotel. The hotel seemed quite scary too at two a clock in the night so we didn’t sleep much.

Now we have been here in Mathare special training center for one night already and this place seems nice. I probably wouldn’t go walking outside the school walls in the middle of the night, but at day time this area (even tho the neighborhood  is the Mathare slum) seems quite safe. Also our facilities are pretty good. We have hot water in the shower, we have toilets with water, we can do cooking and we have also oven, electricity, locks on the door, nice beds ect. Everything is not always working (like at the moment we don’t have lights and our shower does not have hot water, but the fridges are ok) but it’s the same thing back home right?

Today we were first time in a same class for the whole day. We went to primary two, which had six pupils, teacher and teachers assistant. Some of the pupils were very excited and did the exercises well, but some of them didn’t do anything. It is pretty hard to work with people when you don’t know any of the language they speak. Maybe we will learn some and maybe we can teach the children some. Also this gives us a nice challenge for few of our school projects.. ;D

Today after work we went to Nairobi city center by Matatu (Matatu is like a small bus made out of a van). The city looked big and different and also quite confusing, but there were some really nice buildings and Anna and Sinikka (who came here one month ago) knew quite well where to go. This time we only took care of “running business”, went to the post office, ATM, supermarket ect.

So tomorrow we have a new day. we’ll see how it will go. Maybe we go travelling or then stay in Nairobi and explore this city. I will write here again when I have the change 🙂


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packing and prepearing

Now I have only two nights before our plane leaves to Nairobi. I haven’t packed yet at all, feels too hard to do it alone, so I invited my friend to come over and pack with me. Everything else is pretty much done. I took the vaccinations already during the summer, got the prescription for the malaria medication ect. We also got the plane tickets quite early, train tickets and filled in all the forms for school.

We have been collecting money for the school, so we can go together with the teachers to buy stuff for the school and children, but tomorrow I still have to go and change some money, 50 US dollars and some Kenyan shillings. US dollars are for the visa we will get from the airport it is easier to pay with the dollars I heard. I will also go to buy some stickers for the children, take my car to my parents place and get copies from my passport and plane tickets. So even though we started to plan everything early I still have quite a lot to do. I am excited but also a bit nervous for leaving everything here for three months.. I know it is going to be great, but this all just feels quite absurd and unreal still!

Now I really do have to start packing  🙂

A little about me

Hey you all!!

My name is Iina and I am a 24 years old student from JAMK University of applied sciences. I study social services and I am specializing on disability carework. I am going to Kenya next Tuesday for three months to do my practical training in there. My practical training place is in Nairobi Mathare Special Training centre and I will be there working together with my friend Miisa. This blog is going to be about my stay in Kenya, about practical training and some travelling too. I will try to upload some photos in here too, so you can see what it’s like.

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