June 24

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Winter Time in Nairobi

I know that it’s the end of June and for many of you it’s time to hit the beach and relax by the pool.  But here in Nairobi, it’s actually winter.  You may be thinking how could it be winter when Kenya lies on the equator?  Nairobi is 5,450 feet or 1,660 meters above sea level so it does not get as hot as the rest of the country.  The temperature will average 73 F or 23 C during the day and 55 F or 13 C at night until the end of July.  To most of us that would be ideal temperatures, but there are actually people wearing heavy coats here.  It seems very odd to be sitting in front of a crackling fireplace at the end of June.

That is exactly what I was doing last Friday at an off-site meeting with the group that I am working with at AMREF.  I was just finishing my second week on my PULSE assignment, and the managers of my group wanted to have everyone get away from the office and discuss how we could better serve the other departments in the NGO.  Many thanks go out to Ritesh for having everyone over to his house for the meeting.  The twelve of us sat in Ritesh’s family room by the fire and had very good discussions.  It was a very open and positive meeting where we exchanged ideas.  Any complaints that anyone had about certain topics were presented in a very informative manner.  It was not one of those bash the manager type of meeting.  Our 2 managers were very interested in what everyone had to say.  During this meeting I brought up how we handled certain issues that we encountered in my group back at GSK as examples of how we worked together as a team.  Our group at AMREF works well together, and this meeting was a good way to allow us all to continue to work together.  This was also a good way for me to get to know my team mates better.

Once the work week was over, it was time to go out and see some of the area in Nairobi.  Saturday was spent at the Nairobi National Museum.  This is a good place to visit to get a feel for Kenya before going out to the rest of the country.  The museum covers many topics about Kenya such as its history, culture, and wildlife just to name a few.  As a side note to any future GSK PULSE members who may work in Kenya, if you show a copy of your passport and special visa pass you can get into many places as a resident of Kenya and not a foreign visitor.  You can save at least 50% off the admission price to museums and national parks.

Sunday was time to see some of the wildlife of Kenya.  In Nairobi just outside of the national park there is the Nairobi Safari Walk and the Nairobi Animal Orphanage.  At the Safari Walk you can walk along trails and observe the different animals found throughout Kenya in a natural setting.  Since it is winter time here, some of the animals were not out because they wanted to stay warm.  The leopards, cheetahs, and giraffes didn’t mind the cool weather.  The Animal Orphanage is like a rescue place for wild animals that have been abandoned or injured.  Here we learned that there are 3 different species of giraffe, 2 different species of hyenas, and we were told how to tell the difference between the black rhino and the white rhino.  It has nothing to do with color.  Most of the animals here were brought in as babies so they cannot be re-introduced to the wild.  Our guides at the Safari Walk and the Animal Orphanage were very knowledgeable and could answer any question that you had.

It’s time for another work week so kwa heri for now.