Friday, December 17, 2010

The Northern Frontier, the Ambassador’s Christmas Party, and Close of Service

“This bus ride sucks.” I said for probably the 20th time to Matt when we were bouncing over dry river beds with dust swirling around and landing onto us, Kenyans, more specifically the Turkanas, their women sporting awesome mohawks and a full neck of necklaces piling into the bus until we were suffocating.

We were going to Lodwar, near Lake Turkana, with the objective of visiting the lake and doing some cool things around there, as our last trip before our Close of Service (COS), and just because we thought it would be something cool to do.

In a way, it was truly the perfect last trip for Paul and me, who will be leaving Kenya today, after two years of service (and Matt, in a few more months), as it was the truly bush Kenyan experience, nothing like our trip to Zanzibar.

Bargaining was definitely on the menu on this trip. And wasn’t about to leave at any point on this vacation until we jumped on the plane back to Nairobi.

We bargained the price of the tour of Lake Turkana, met with numerous people in the Kenya Wildlife Service, who we think probably wanted a piece of the pie we were providing, a few people from the other side of the lake, all wanting some certain amount of money.

We bargained the price of the cab from the crazy town of Kalokol, we bargained with the Beach Management Unit guy on the shore of Lake Turkana (and to this day, we’re not sure why we paid him, nor what service he was supposed to provide us). We bargained with the driver of the boat about not only the cost of the trip from Kalokol to the defunct Fisherman’s Lodge, but also from the lodge to Central Island. We bargained for the matatu from Kalokol to Lodwar, and for almost everything in between. Just writing about how much bargaining we did makes me tired.

Matt and I agreed – jumping onto that plane was one of the best decisions we ever made.

Last night, a group of us COSing PCVs along with a couple others went to the Ambassador’s residence for the annual Christmas party – which was exactly the opposite of our trip to Lodwar. It was almost like a company Christmas party at that place, a lot of food, a lot of drinks, and a good way to spend our last night in Kenya.

This morning, I finished the final few details and took care of the last few pieces of paperwork I had to do, and I have now officially finished my Peace Corps Service. I will be flying out this evening to meet a dear friend in Ethiopia, beginning my three months of travel.

I hope to be able to post a few photos here and there, but just a warning: posting will be very light, probably until I return to the States in mid-March, when I will try to figure out what to do with this internet bloggy thing.

On that note, I, along with my students at my school want to wish you a fantastic holiday season, a great New Year’s and hope to see you all next year!


This blog consists of my personal thoughts and opinions. It does not in any way reflect the position of the United States Government or the Peace Corps.