Category Archives: Preparation

Packing my galoshes

The rainy season is supposed to be over.  That goes for SF AND for Mombasa. But the weather is wonky the world over, it seems, and Mombasa has been experiencing a shocking reprieve from its recent drought: Flooding due to the rains!

Here is an article from Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, from 2 days ago: “Kenya floods death toll rises to 1oo.”  The picture above was taken this week in Likoni, Mombasa – the neighborhood I’ll be living and working in!  I do hope it dries out a bit before I get there, and that the damage done hasn’t wreaked havoc that will take many years to undo.

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Fear is a prick

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid of needles.  I always described it as “the one fear I couldn’t talk myself out of.”  ‘Afraid’ is really not quite the right word though… rather, it’s a reaction that I couldn’t control.  Is that all fear is?  Whatever it is, or was, this one particular thought would enter my mind and it would trigger me to pass out.  And I couldn’t predict or control it.  This thought was that smooth, cold metal was intentionally being slid into my body, either removing fluid from me or forcing some new fluid in.  And as soon as my brain settled onto that thought, out I went.  And out I went, a lot.  So many times it was silly to begin counting.

But as with all of my other fears, I’ve been working on this one.  I’ll conquer this one too.  And preparation for this trip has helped me lessen the fear quite a bit. Vaccinations were a must-do, and I had to get quite a lot of them.  It was my choice, and it was important to me as part of readying myself for this work.  Remembering this made it easier to keep my nerves settled.

Yellow fever, polio booster, typhoid (that one had a pill option though!)…  I was pretty sure I’d gotten one of the Hepatitis vaccines, but didn’t have a record, so I even had some blood drawn to be tested for antibodies.  I was right, Hep B was in my system already.  So today I went back in for 4 more shots: Hep A, meningococcal meningitis, the flu shot and the H1N1 shot.   2 in each arm!

6 shots, and I got blood drawn, and I didn’t even come close to passing out!  I was good at keeping myself distracted, and keeping that thought far from my brain. Injections still weird me out, but I feel like I have more control over how it affects me now.  And I have to give thanks to the two physicians at the SF DOH Travel Health clinic who were so accommodating to me – they have mats at each station for lying down on while they stick you, and give you as much time as you need.  No brush-off “oh you’ll be fine” from them – they give shots all day long, they know it’s an ordeal for everyone involved when someone goes unconscious on them.

So yeah, you might not have been expecting a post like this, but hey, I’m new to this blog thing, anything goes right now  🙂

Oh and my visa arrived, pasted into my passport!  Visa and Vaccinations – the big Vs.  Now it’s just time to pack up my life into as few boxes as possible, and loosen my load of material possessions before I go!  I leave SF in 20 days…

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My life got flipped-turned upside down

Welcome to my blog!  I’ll be moving to Mombasa, Kenya in June, and will be writing about my preparations leading up to then, and once I’m there, I’ll be sharing about my experiences working with a local grassroots org and living in a developing country.

I’m expecting the rest of 2010 to be an exciting ride of new challenges and people and lifestyle, and I hope you’ll join me for the tale-telling.

Curious about life in Kenya?  The header for this blog is a picture from flickr user Lvovsky’s set of Kenya pics from earlier this year.  Thank you Creative Commons and thank you Yura.  I’m looking forward to the day I turn a corner in Mombasa and find myself standing in this scene.  🙂

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Filed under Preparation