In our quest to find the right location and facility to host the Diaspora of hope art camp Moses (head of the Inspiration Center in Mathare) and I got on a bus thursday night and headed to Mombasa to scout out the best place to take the kids! We left at 9 pm and were dropped off in the town at 4:30 am. It felt like beach town meets Nairobi in a very muggy and warm climate. So when we first got there the best option was to wander around Mombasa half asleep walking until the sun came up and it was a decent time to meet with the 2 places we were looking at for the camp. 2nd option was the winner by far- “Rise and Shine Academy”- includes bunk beds and mattresses, dining area and open-air kitchen, many classrooms to teach, a lot of outdoor space, a soccer field across the street, and is 10 minutes drive to Pirate’s Beach!
And of course, since we had to be thorough in our analysis of the area, we had to check out the beach, just to make sure the sand wasnt too gritty and the water not too cold for these dear children we are bringing! Ok, so the Indian ocean, at least the part by Mombasa, is completely different from American my version of ocean… crystal clear water, warm (not shockingly cold), no waves, and only came halfway up legs even though I waded in a very long ways. So I just sat and floated and I think this is what finally woke me up!
After the ocean Moses and I met up with his friend David for lunch and had some matoke and pilau before meeting up with another friend, Theresa, and all of us heading to see Fort Jesus and negotiate with the guards to let us bring our whole group in for a very low price. Theresa then helped us book our bus tickets for the following morning and had us over to her place for chai before we met David back in town to go to his house for the night. Once we arrived to David’s home I was so worn from the day that it felt great to be able to sit, eat, wash, and curl into bed that night. David and his family took such good care of us for the time we were there and I only wish that Moses and I could have stayed longer and not had to rush back the next morning. But, then again, we are coming right back next week! Only this time we are bringing 26 volunteers and 60 children!