Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Eldoret to Lamu, Lamu to Home

The Saturday before flying home, our group of medical students headed to Lamu for a mini vacation to wrap up our time in Kenya. The medical student who came at the beginning of August--Elisa--also came with us, but she went back to Eldoret afterwards instead of coming home. Lamu is a Kenyan island located about 80km off the coast of Somalia, which is very close to prime pirate/terrorist territory. For that reason, I decided not to blog about where I was going until after I had returned home. I figured I'd be a good daughter and spare my parents the heart attack!

Our trip to Lamu was amazing. It is a very quaint Muslim town that has a lot of character. There are no roads and no vehicles on the island, so the only mode of transportation is your two legs or a donkey ride. We stuck to our two legs while we were there since we heard donkey rides can get more adventurous than desired. Aside from being woken up every morning at 4am by the Muslim chants over the mosque loud speaker and hearing the donkeys make interesting noises all night long, it was a very peaceful trip. The beaches are beautiful and we did nothing but relax and walk around town. Lamu has great restaurants right on the waterfront with fresh seafood that is delivered each morning. They also have impeccable juice smoothies that are to die for! All in all, the trip to Lamu was a perfect ending to our Kenyan experience.

Most of the days in Lamu were spent doing whatever we pleased, with no schedule to abide by. We took a walking city tour, laid out on the beach, went for a boat ride, and did some shopping at the local wood carving and silver smith shops. The town was so unique and very welcoming. The buildings are extremely close together, so their "roads" are about 4 or 5 feet wide. It was like we were living in a maze, trying to weave our way in and out of tight spaces. Lamu is famous for its dhow boat rides, during which you can view a sunset, go snorkeling or fishing, or visit the ancient ruins that are located on a separate island nearby. We took an afternoon boat ride out to see the ruins and caught a sunset on our way back. It was such a relaxing afternoon!! There's nothing like kicking back in a boat with a few friends and setting sail in Africa. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and I felt so small while sitting on top of the Indian Ocean.....a feeling I mentioned in my earlier posts that I love.

I've posted some pictures from our trip to Lamu here for you to see. I hope you find it to be as beautiful as I did. It was so nice to end our time in Kenya with a yet another trip that took my breath away. If I could pick an overall theme to my journey through Kenya, that would be it....it was absolutely breathtaking.

Well, after 39 hours of traveling, I made it back to Indianapolis this past Thursday, safe and sound. On Friday, I went up to Fort Wayne to visit my parents, and my brother Sean came in for the weekend as well. Though I could hardly believe that I was back in the U.S. and my time in Kenya had come to an end, it was so nice to see them after being half way around the world. No matter how much I enjoy spending time abroad, I agree wholeheartedly with all those who say 'There's no place like home.'

After getting a few short days off, I started my new rotation today with the Pediatric Infectious Disease team at Riley Hospital for Children here in Indianapolis. Though I'm looking forward to returning to normalcy and starting an exciting month filled with residency applications and college football, I'll definitely miss being in Africa. My trip there was a dream come true--something I had yearned for for a long time now--and I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to make the journey. Thank you to all of you who have supported me in years past and especially over the last two months as I ventured overseas. Your emails and words of encouragement gave me strength when times got tough, and I could not have pushed through without them. I hope you enjoyed reading my blog while I was away. I look forward to sharing my stories with all of you in person now that I am back on U.S. soil!!

Asante sana! (Thank you very much!)

God bless each and every one of you, now and forever.