#1 of 25. Nairobi.

My #1 week in Nairobi.
My #1 week in Africa.

In physical terms it’s been a slow start. What I achieved in a week with on-boarding @work and settling @my place, I could squeeze in a day, in my other life back home. Yet emotionally, it’s been a fast train.

Now is the time when everything is new, interesting, charming, intimidating, intriguing. Time, when routine has not settled in, when habits are not yet formed, when small things make big impression, when you notice things you never usually notice, time of change.

Nairobi
It is a city of extremities, busy, dusty, lively, colorful. You see poor places, and rich places. As an European, you expect to stand out and yet you disappear in the chaos of the street. And the street is overflowing with cars and people. People selling all sorts of things, people leisurely strolling or sitting on the ground with no particular purpose, kids playing, busy pedestrians walking among cars, traffic jams, speeding matatus (minibuses), not observing any regulations, and beeping boda bodas (motorbike taxis), no traffic lights, no pavement on many walkways.


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And among all of this, there is something surreal, when you observe the order and tidiness of beautiful buildings, with gorgeous internal yards, surrounded by tall concrete fences, topped with electric wire and nicely decorated on the outside with bushes and greenery. When you see long orderly queues of people waiting for buses. The sign for a cycling lane. Kids in uniforms going to school on their own.


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Settling in
So, in the midst of all the street hassle, noise, traffic, faces, names, projects, emails, I try to build my world for the next 6 months. For now, I am more of an observer, and I am a lucky one. I have the great company of my new friends, Vyas & Mahendra, who pamper me from day 1, and Save the children team, who gave me a very warm welcome and take good care of me. Oh, and I discovered new neighbors today, or rather they discovered me? 🙂


Finally, I manage to find moments of silence, to make up for the feeling of coziness and comfort I miss from home. The smell of roses, beautifully decorated by my host. Cooking my favorite breakfast. The view from my window at sunset.


In those moments I switch off, to switch on again tomorrow, when a new day of adventures will start.

7th July 2016, Nairobi, country celebrates today Eid Mubarak.

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The PULSE Volunteer Partnership is GSK’s skills-based volunteering initiative. Through PULSE, motivated employees are matched to a non-profit organisation for 3 or 6 months full-time, contributing their skills to solve healthcare challenges at home and abroad. When PULSE Volunteers return to GSK, they act as catalysts to change the company for the better.