Friday, May 29, 2015


"Do you have any explosive bombs or gasoline in your luggage?" This was the third time I had the man at the security screening in the Narobi Airport repeat himself. Partially because of his thick Kenyan accent and partially because I wasn't sure why he was asking me if I was bringing bombs on the plane. "Ummm nope, definitely didn't pack any of those..." What if I was a terrorist and had packed explosives though, is this where I was supposed to confess? "Yep, I have a few bombs and gallons of gasoline in my bags, you caught me. Killer detective work by the way."

Anyway, airplanes are awesome because they're speedy and can get you plus tons of other people plus all of your luggage (without bombs) anywhere in the world. But when you have four plane rides, two layovers, and four days of traveling to get where you need to be it seems a little less impressive. Still impressive, don't get me wrong, but instantaneous teleportation is really something we should be working on.

Flashback to the airport security in Africa where they intensely questioned Oliver, Zach and Alisha's 8 year old son, about the football he was traveling with. I guess footballs are dangerous...? Rachel's tweezers were also confiscated. God forbid the tweezers and football had both been on the plane because some serious shit would have gone down. Obviously. So yeah, get on board with the teleportation.

I'd also like to point out to my dad that "wearing tennis shoes so I can run away if the plane crashes" was not necessary. What a surprise.

During our layover in Kenya (why the flight from South Africa to Madagascar stopped in Kenya is something I'll never understand) we stayed at this rad hotel. The gate surrounding the hotel had lots of barbed wire. I don't know about you, but nothing makes me feel more at home than barbed wire. We were also warned to keep the door to our balcony closed in order to keep baboons and monkeys out of our room. For some reason no questions were asked.

After arriving at the airport in Madagascar we had someone drive us to Tana, the capital. And if you think New York City traffic is bad, then you're correct because it's definitely horrible, but Tana traffic is NUTS. I think driving on the right side of the road is more of a suggestion then an actual law. There are also tons of people walking across/on/around the streets. I honestly don't understand how the roads aren't littered with dead people. According to Zach, "pedestrians don't have the right-of-way here so if a car hits you it legally doesn't have to stop." It's very safe. At one point this kid jumped out the back of a taxi bus, ran over to a street vendor to buy a cigarette, then ran through traffic and jumped back onto the taxi bus where he held on with one hand and continued to smoke his cigarette. Meanwhile, another guy started peeing on the side of the road.

After a few hours of driving through this we got to our hotel, where we'll be staying for three days. I love it. It's old and rundown but so beautiful and comfortable. Plus the staff is awesome and the food is terrific. I mean it's mainly rice but the rice is really good for rice. If that makes sense.

Being a white person in Madagascar is very strange. Especially a white person with blonde hair. (I'm white and have blonde hair in case you've already forgotten what I look like.) Everyone stares at you (and not just because of my insanely good looks) and they swarm you at markets, trying desperately to sell you something. Plus they're speaking Malagasy (here is a reminder that Malagasy is not a language I'm familiar with) so I have no idea what they're saying. One dude followed me half a mile back to my hotel trying to sell me this musical instrument. Persistence is key, right? Well, not in his case, sorry dude.

In a day or two we're leaving the city and entering some less populated rainforest areas where we'll begin our research. I won't have electricity or running water so please enjoy that for me. That's it for now! Sorry that sometimes sarcasm  takes over my writing. The moral of this post is that I love Madagascar, love the people I'm with, and am so excited for this adventure to continue.

Note to future Keely back in America: buy macadamia nuts

Monday, May 18, 2015

Do you think I can have a pet lemur when I'm in Africa?

Have you ever been on a run where the trail ends? So you’re like okay I’ll run on these train tracks for a while. Then you think you see a different trail on the other side of the James River so you swim across it but it turns out it isn’t a trail. And you bushwhack through weeds and thorns which brings you to a highway that you have to run across. Then you slide down a hill to get back on the train tracks and eventually find the trail again. No? Does that not happen to a lot of people?  

Anyway summer is going REALLY well. I’ve spent a lot of time with my cats and I cut off three inches of my hair in my bathroom a few days ago. Plus I leave for Madagascar in one week. ONE WEEK. To prepare for my trip I plan to watch The Penguins of Madagascar movie because I’m pretty sure that’s all I need to know, right? Contacting me will be realllly difficult so try not to miss me too much. If that doesn’t work then picture me walking through rad rainforests with a sweet safari hat while talking to local Malagasy people about their diets. I get back to America on July 10th so if you want to text me or send me a fruit basket or show up at my house or bring me a million dollars then that’s when you should do it. Once I get back I’ll either be in Richmond shadowing a Physician Assistant and working (someone please hire me, I’m poor) or possibly maybe but probably not going to New Mexico and working as a zipline tour guide until school starts again.

I also figured out what I want to do with my life and it includes a dietetic internship, the Peace Corps, Physician Assistant school, traveling the world, and being the happiest person on the planet. I would discuss it more but I need to finish season six of Lost before I leave so I guess you could say I have important things planned for today.