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Day three / 16 October 2008

...So on Monday, I had my last meetings with the people of D4L, had a couple of drinks with GianLuca, and on tuesday we set off early in the morning after a good Breakfast to Mombasa.

The bus was OK, not great, but it would do the job, we thought it be fast, but it actaully took us 8 hours with a 20 minute stop only for food to get down here, no aicon and I got a big mama sitting next to me, pocking me friendily at every village to let me know what tribe lives there, and to show me when something unusual showed up! Photograph of author and giraffe

We were travelleing on the high road from Nairobi to Mombasa, got to see giraffe, zebra, and some antelopes, as well as meerkats and baboons, but not enough of this all to make the journey worthwhile it was bloody hard going with no aircon nor fans and as we got closer to the coast the heat became heavier, humidity is huge, we were drenched in our t'shirts doing nothins, and the land scape was often and much of it monotonous Savanah, just low lying bushes, some times hills and many poor villages, incredibly in the most remote aeras where all one could see was a few straw shacks, at school exit time we still could see all these kids dressed in proper school uniforms and wondering where did they go to? As the school seemed really in the middle of nowhere...

We saw a few watering holes where women where filling cans and dragging them home to cook or wash, I imagine as we see on tv reports, and some children bathing in the water! so it made it worth seeing that that way of life really is not just in some areas out in the far away bush! nope it is actually the normal way of life of most people here, cattle raising local people of Kenya!

Once in Mombasa, we set off to find a hotel, all the very cheap ones too dodgy and the middle level ones mostly full or too expensive! we finally got somewhere for 1800 Kenyan shillings, which is about 15 quid, as the pounds has gone down and the exchange rate is now 120 to the 1 sterling! Nort so good for my small budget! but I'll survive!

One sorted, we had a beer and I called Kasena again ( I had tried calling on arrival but also before leaving nairobi, but the telehones here are a nightmare! unless one has a mobile phone which I havent got here!)

So we arranged for him to meet us today in the morning. We set off with another couple of Kenyans tring to9 make a buck out of us to find a restaurant, but it all seemed very expensive where being led to, we, or rather I as gianluca doesnt speak much English, made the kenyan guides aware that we're very well able to make our way alone, so we paid them a beer and told them to leave us be!

We set off to look for some sea food, but what we found was dissapointing, but we found several places to get beers at a variety of prices too, which was suprising as this place is really very Muslim - many veiled girls, and mosques and asian people.

What surprises us both is that we just don't see ANY tourists at all! if we see eight white people a day it is a lot! but that makes it even better to be honest! I am loving it here and yet again no troubles at all, although a guy got chased away from our restaurant as he tried to approach us! it seemed a bit aggressive!

This morning we were up and ready rather early, as the meeting with Kasena was at 9am, as he arrived we made our way by public transport again to his HIV/AIDs center and sat down to watch some young people rehearsing a play. I made a presentation to 25 young people of a variety of backgrounds, religion and sex and sexualities about my HIV status, about how difficult it was to come out as HIV+, and telling them about my project, before I started I looked for a few ropes, that I covered in an old t-shirt cloth, and hung it from the roof of the stage where the young people were rehearsing.

As I made my presentation I got onto the ropes and explained what kind of work we would be teaching them, how it would give them employment for the future, a new art-form to discover and a way to bring HIV awareness in deep kenya, traveling as a small local circus show! There was also a presentation from a girl from an American NGO. She is staying here till September 2009 to teach a variety of dances, from Ballet to contemporary and street dance. She made the link between circus and dance, the kids showed off their dance skills and asked the USA girl to dance a bit too. I had tears in my eyes, and feel really excited about all this, I have seen the faces of these 17- 22 year olds brightening up as I am present them with a new choice for life and they made me feel emotional and happy to try to do this for them! I just hope we can now get the money together for them.

They are clever kids, and asked very serious questions about insurance, security, and a gamut of issues that they worry about for the future! Also questions about my HIV status, my drug regime, etc. so it was really a good afternoon! I am not putting the pictures on now, as I want to enjoy some sunshine and beach now. I am stinking of sweat after doing my aerial tricks and teaching them some moves on the improvised ropes, and need a good bit of sunshine now! Photograph of elephants

Tomorrow we will probably rent a car to go to a nature reserve to see the big 5! also maninly an elephant reserve with a beach as well, and then the day after we will be heading more north to go scuba diving! So from tomorrow on the real holiday begins! Today my last duty as director of Cirque Nova has been done.

Mombasa seems less a big city although more chaotic and more traffic! the humidity is incredibly heavy! There is more poverty and crime! Drug use rates seem to be high due to many italins coming here on holiday and expecting to find a market in heroine, which there is and which has increased the HIV infections through needle use! so the HIV problems are different in diverse areas. Many gay Italian men seem to come to coastal areas for male prostitution! Malindi seems to be a big italian area, they call it little Italy in Kenya and apparently the locals speak more Italina than English!

hugs JMA