After waking up at about 9 am I went into the main house to unpack. Since most of the people coming for the month of July have not yet arrived, I lucked out and got one of the air conditioned rooms. Since I am slightly high maintenance when it comes to sleeping in the heat (ok maybe very high maintenance) this is a really good thing considering it is so hot and humid here.
The room I'm sleeping in is a large room split into 2 sleeping areas. This girl Kitty and I are on one side and Ann and Whitney are on the other. Kitty is a first year med student from NY, Whitney is from Winnipeg and is premed, and Ann is premed from MN. Ann and Whitney are 21 and 20 which makes me feel old!! Three others that are here on the program out on a safari, 3 guys just arrived from Ireland, and several more people will be arriving this week.
Lillian is one of the house keepers and Dolas is our cook. I tried explaining what gluten free was but I'm pretty sure she had no idea what I was talking about...it's a good thing I brought 3 boxes of cereal, bars, oatmeal and the list goes on...
We explored the grounds of the compound as we waited for Betty, the program director, to take us into town. There is a high fence that surrounds the compound with several pieces of sharp glass placed on top to keep intruders out. On the grounds there are orange and mango trees, large bright colored lizards and a pool. I was told that there were always monkeys hanging around the yard, but it wasn't until I walked into the pool area to find about 15 monkeys hanging from the trees and sitting on the roof, that I actually believed it! We got them to come real close by throwing food at them. Now I feel like I'm in Africa!
The main town is about a 20 minute walk down the road. On our way, we passed several other people walking. Most people here are extremely friendly and will say "jambo!" meaning hello, as they walk by. There are matatus (taxi vans) everywhere with guys hanging out of the windows trying to get you to get in. Those and tuk tuks (tiny three wheeled taxis) are apparently the safest way to get around Mombasa.
Once in town, we went to exchange money at a bank that was inside a casino, which I found a bit odd... Next we went to the Nakumatt (supermarket) where I had to get a new hairdryer since the one I brought started smoking. We were also on a mission to find a sim card for my iPad so I could connect to the Internet. Little did I know you would need a USB port to connect to the internet, which the iPad clearly does not have. After a wild goose hunt around Mombasa, we finally found a place that sold sim cards and now I have Internet!!
After we finished our errands we headed down the dirt path next to the compound in search of the beach. We were told it was a 5 minute walk, but it was more like 20. The Indian Ocean is beautiful and the beach was white sand, but other than that it was pretty dirty with vendors everywhere. I bought a few things, but having been to Mexico several times I know how these vendors can be...Ann on the other hand, who completely fits the Minnesota Nice stereotype (I didn't know people actually say UF-DA),kept buying things and getting ripped off because she felt bad. I had to literally pull her away from the vendors or else we were going to be there all day...We thought we got lost on the way home since we didnt remember standing in front of the mozambique consulate, but after calling Betty, she laughed at us and told us we were rigthe around the corner from the compound.
Dolas made us this meatball, potato and rice dinner when we got back which was so delicious, and the first real meal I had eaten since I left Minnesota. After a long, amazing day, I was so excited to climb into bed and use my fan for the first time. Right as I turned it on it blew out and started smoking. I'm now 0 for 2 with electronics...my luck