I have friends. I have friends!
As my former professor always said, “If it’s important, say it twice.” And yes, friends are important. Friends contribute to my happiness. Go figure!
I have to thank Mark for disrupting my isolation. Our two-year friendship revived two weeks ago when he returned from South Africa. We first met during my Kenyan exchange semester. Then, last year, he ended up coming to Minnesota for some months. Now, we’re both back in Kenya. Funny, how timing works.
Mark, his friend Zack, and I ventured to Town for a music video release party. It was some trendy Berlin-Nairobi collaboration featuring several local artists. Although the video never played (the Germans were upset; the Kenyans were like, “Meh”), the night was great because I met more of Mark’s friends. Little did I know, I’d be seeing them again very soon.
To keep an emotional story blog-appropriate, I’ll say this:
When I got home, I decided to move out. I stayed with my new friends (okay, strangers) that night and moved in with Monica the next morning.
Yep, that just about sums it up!
Two weeks later, I’m in a much better place. Monica is supportive and understanding. Yet it’s only so long I’d like to live out of my suitcases. She’s moved to a smaller place since I was her host daughter. Now, I share a room with her 10-year-old and our househelp, who sleeps on the floor. In a few weeks, her 14-year-old comes home from boarding school, which means I’ll sleep on the couch. Of course, there are much worse living conditions in the world— actually, right outside. So, I hope I don’t seem ungrateful. Just trying to stress how much I’d like to find work so that I can get my own place.
The government internship never happened. Every few days, I called to hear this: the boss is still in the Hague. Once he’s back, you can start. Maybe he never returned? It was supposed to be my in-the-mean-time internship. Well, in the mean time, I’ve actually been offered two other internships. Onward I go.
Admittedly, the first is thanks to Abdi at the government. Remember when I said he made all of those phone calls? Well, he got his friend at the BBC, James, to take off work and show me around town.
First, we went to Internews, a resource center for freelance journalists. They have a computer lab, workshops, and even camera rentals! The fun stops not. It turns out his cousin works in HR. So, I got to sit down with her and discuss a potential paying position; AKA a J-O-B. Not exactly news reporting, but if I get it, I’ll be so grateful. And then, I’ll give more details. 😎
Second, we went to his office— the BBC East Africa Bureau! I met with an editor, who told me they get new interns monthly. Guess who gets to be on the November team? 😎
James has been so helpful, which is incredible considering how busy he is. In addition to reporting for BBC, he researches for InterMedia; not to be confused with Internews. Hah. He told me about a big assignment he was working on, and I offered to help. He took me seriously, and I ended up making two Excel charts. Cha-ching! SPJ officially hasn’t wasted their scholarship on me.
The success continued last Thursday when I met an executive from Camerapix, founded by late photojournalist Mohamed Amin. I honestly didn’t know much about the company, or that Monica’s friend, Louisa, told her executive friend that I hoped to intern there. In less than 10 minutes, he told me to come in on Monday.
I had a great first day. I learned that Camerapix owns Africa 24 Media, which produces Africa Journal and Africa’s Voice. Already, I got to record a few voiceovers for upcoming Voice episodes. Tomorrow, I get to see their partnership office in Town, Reuters, and then attempt scriptwriting. It’s a great, hands-on internship, but I’m concerned about time. Hopefully being there weekdays from 9am-5:30pm won’t hinder my job hunt. Then again, I’m extremely determined to get what I want.
It is possible to advance here— just ask a handful of the staff who started as interns. The catch? Sticking around for five, six months first. Considering I wanted to leave by March if I can’t get a job, it appears I won’t be working here. May I be the best intern I can be.
If in case this is confusing, here is my current plan (and yes, it changes nearly daily):
Now until November— intern at Camerapix
November until December— split time interning at BBC and Camerapix
December until January— intern at Camerapix
January until March— intern at news station
March— home, sweet home
If for some reason that last news internship falls through, I’ll certainly stay at Camerapix. If I find a job, I’ll stay in Kenya for another year. If by March I’ve only had internships, I’ll go home. It’s not that I don’t want to be here, it’s that I can’t afford it. It’s only a matter of time before I run out of cash.
By the way, I’ve passed the one-month mark! It usually takes me 30 days to overcome homesickness, and I’m right on track. Please know that I’m alive and well, despite recent changes.
Mark says if my Kenyan life were a movie, it’d be called “Kiya on Safari.”
Readers, please forgive my delayed post. The last two week’s successes and disappointments overwhelmed me and gave me writer’s block. Writing this has helped me focus.
Thanks for reading,