On a more personal note, I also moved into my own 2-room apartment on Sept 1 – here everyone calls it shifting places. I then immediately spent five days with my friends Heidi and Joe, who were visiting Kenya and came to Mombasa to see me and my life here. We had a great time, and they got to meet my hostmama and hostsister, and to hang out with the kids at Twaayf and Madaraka, and we all worked on our tans. 🙂 So then I spent last weekend nesting a bit and getting used to the place. After 2+ months of living with 4-7 other people in my host family’s house, being back in an apartment with just me and no TV was so quiet. Luckily, everyone else in the building makes up for that. Music and TV are on loudly a lot, but I really don’t mind. I usually need to be up by 8am anyway, it’s cool.
Here’s a picture of me in my new apartment, and a picture of all of the plastic crap that I had to buy for it. The red wrinkly floor is included in that category, by the way. It’s what’s called “PVC carpeting” and it’s covering the floors in both of my rooms because new concrete floors soak up a lot of moisture from the ground and make the floor very damp at night. It eventually lays flat, and adheres thanks to this moisture.
My apartment is in a neighborhood of Likoni called Majengo Mapya (which translates to New Buildings). This whole area has been populated just within the past ten or so years I’ve been told – one person was given a huge tract of land by someone in the government, and eventually locals stepped in and took the land back and started building. Something like that. Houses are being built at a very fast rate here, and I wake up to hammers quite a bit. Though I now live very close to a mosque, so the call to prayer wakes me up even more – I’m getting used to it though. I’m very happy now that Ramadan is wrapping up, as that means shorter and fewer calls over the megaphones. The 5am one will be there every day though. I’m getting better at falling back asleep after it wakes me up…
Here’s a map of Likoni. You can see the ferry at the northern edge, just south of the island part of Mombasa. The green arrow is the Hatua Likoni office, the yellow arrow is my host family’s house, and the orange arrow is my new apartment. It takes me about 25minutes to walk across to the office now, and it took me 5min to walk from the other house, to give you perspective of scale. Most of my coworkers live on this side of Likoni, and you also see how much closer the beach is now, and those are 2 big pluses. The Likoni-Ukunda Road that is yellow and snakes around the edge of the map is the only paved road in all of Likoni. I can also walk to ferry easily. I just got a bicycle, and biked to work today for the first time, which was great! The roads are definitely very bumpy, and plagued by sharp coral-rocks, but I’ll go slowly and hopefully avoid punctures. I’m excited to explore more of the area – having my own means of locomotion always makes me a much happier monkey.