Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ACCT International: End of Internships

After six weeks on the job, it was time for the ACCT International interns to leave their communities and come together in Mumias again to begin the journey home.

Though Andrew was unofficially the first intern to return to Mumias after we pulled him from the coast in response to the State Department travel warning and bar bombing. However, he continued to work for his partner organization from Mumias, so his internship was not really over at the time of his return.

Instead, Andrew joined Dr. W and myself for the first official pick up. Nolan. When Dr. W said he would come to get us at 6 am to head to Nolan's, I did not really believe it was possible. Yet there he was, bright and early. The drive to Ugenja is much longer than need be. It took us two hours to reach Nolan, who by distance probably only lived an hour away, max. The road to Nolan's is one of the worst we traveled. The problem with Nolan's road is that it is paved and the pavement is riddled with road-sized, meters-deep pot holes that force you to crawl along. More often than not, we were driving off the road on the shoulder than on the road itself. Had it been a dirt road, it likely would have been a quicker drive than this paved disaster.

Picking up Nolan was an emotional experience. There was hugging and speeches, of course, and Nolan's mentor spoke about his gratitude for Nolan through his tears.

While doing the Nolan pickup, Dr. W and I started looking at the schedule for the next two days and realized that it made more sense to pick up the ladies in Mbakalo today, rather than tomorrow. I gave Dani a call, "Hey...how inconvenient would it be for you if we picked you up today?" And so Dani and Jasmine rushed to pack up their lives and tie off their loose ends so we could get them by 3pm. Dr. W. went to Mbakalo without me, while I dealt with a small housing crisis.

A miscommunication had resulted in the guesthouse not having any rooms for us Friday night, though I had requested two rooms and was now hoping we could get three (since we were bringing Dani and Jasmine back early). Some quick leg work reserved us rooms at Guesthouse 70 (not far from the Mumias compound), which is owned by a friend of Dr. W's.

After Dr. W was back from Mbakalo, we took a short jaunt out of Mumias town to Shanda to pick up Megan at work.

And then, just like that, nine of the 13 interns were all in Mumias. I would say all under one roof, except I am not 100 percent sure they were all at Pam's house at one time that day.

Saturday, Dr. W was up even earlier for the drive to Kisii to retrieve Lauren and Stephanie. Though I offered to go, at the time we made the arrangements, we thought Dr. W would be picking up Leslie and Rob in Kisumu as well. With all those people and their luggage in the car, there would not be room for extras. To be honest, I wasn't too sad that I didn't have to get up at 5 am. However, Rob and Leslie ended up getting a ride from their partner organization to Mumias. So Dr. W was able to just retrieve Lauren and Stephanie.

Despite leaving so early, the Kisii folks didn't make it back to Mumias until close to 2pm. That was a long day of driving for Dr. W. This was also cutting it close, as the AFC Leopard's game began at 3pm. Cale and I were a little late for the game ourselves (along with Rob), as I was dealing with another small housing crisis. One of the rooms they had given us at the guesthouse did not have a key. So the occupants were unable to lock up their belongings or lock the door at night while they were asleep. This was unacceptable. After a little negotiating, we were given another room.

And then, all 13 interns were back in Mumias, ready to begin the journey to the airport in Nairobi, which we would begin on Monday with a bus ride to Nakuru.

— Sara

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