Sunsets, Stargazing, and Scorpions

Blog entry created by: Meagan

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Imagination VS Reality

What do you imagine when you think of Africa? Lions, giraffes and elephants? Rural villages and widespread poverty? Unbearable heat? If there is one thing I’ve learned during this trip, it’s that what I expect a place to be like and what it’s actually like are usually very different. No matter how much I think I know about a place there is always something that takes me by surprise.

Torrential Downpours

One thing I definitely was not expecting in Kenya was intense downpours. Before we arrived here I had looked up the weather, and was surprised to discover we would be here during a rainy season. Rainy season? In Africa? Surely it couldn’t mean much; Africa is supposed to be hot and dry… right? Maybe by rainy season they meant there was an occasional light drizzle. Within a few days of being at the village though, I was surprised to discover that the rainy season is much more than a light drizzle. When describing the rain in Kenya the phrase “all or nothing” comes to mind; when it rains, it pours! The first night it rained, Bella and I went outside for less than 3 minutes and came back completely drenched. The sound of rain coming down on the metal roof of the guest house is almost deafening; it sounds like a nature recording, like the ones people listen to when they’re trying to relax, playing on full blast through loud speakers. Although it’s loud, it’s quite relaxing; I find I sleep really well if it rains!

Side Effects of the Rain

While the downpours are incredible, they bring about another (less desirable) aspect of Kenya that I wasn’t anticipating: millions of GIGANTIC bugs. All forms of creepy crawlies (big beetles, colossal cockroaches, scary scorpions, etc.) emerge from the ground when the torrential downpours begin, swarming the air to avoid the muddy ground and the chickens that are quickly eating up the stragglers. I’ve never seen (or wanted to see) so many insects in the sky! It gets worse at night when all the bugs come inside, attracted to the light and the dryness of the guest house. It’s not unheard of to see a “tornado of bugs” circling the light of the main room. The almost nightly infestation has led to jumpiness and constant swatting by guest house goers, accompanied by the occasional scream. I head to bed, completely surrounded by mosquito netting, much earlier than I would normally, simply to avoid the bugs.

When the Sun Goes Down

Another thing that took me completely by surprise upon arrival at the village was the breathtaking sunsets! The sunsets here are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. This could simply be because I’ve never really taken the time to appreciate the sunsets back home, but I think it’s more likely that it’s because they are particularly magnificent here. Watching the sun go down in rural Africa should be on everyone’s bucket list!

Starry Eyed

The sun going down is just the beginning; the star covered sky that emerges after the sun has set is also something I will never forget. For people who are interested in constellations and astrology, this is the perfect place to be. One night we went out with a few of our fellow volunteers to look at the stars from the top of a water tank, and even though I don’t know any southern constellations, I was blown away by how massive the sky is and how many stars there are. I even made up a few of my own constellations! It was incredible, to say the least.

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Posted on: November 15, 2010 | Categories: Environment, Fun Facts - Cultures and Countries, Kenya, Well for HIV+ Village- Kenya



  • David Manglass says:

    It’s so nice to hear about Africa from so many different perspectives. I love the detail and imagery in this piece, Meagan.

  • Aunt Lori says:

    Fantastic blog, Meagan! I can imagine what it must be like just by reading your words! I laughed a couple of times….I’m sure you weren’t laughing (or even opening your mouth) experiencing the bug fog… I remember some really crazy insects in Japan (roaches the size of gerbils, and beetles with antlers) it’s weird the things you forget. I really hope you are journaling. I miss you.

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