Week 1 in Nairobi and my days are empty.

At first the free time was nice. I caught up on sleep, on emails, on reading. I explored the city and started to learn Kiswahili. I prepared for my work to start next week. But now I’ve become lazy. I would rather lounge around watching The Office on my computer than catch a matatu into town. I have a list of things I want to do, but the only thing I’ve done today is laundry. It took me an hour, and I still don’t think my clothes are clean.

Laundry drying in the wind

Laundry drying in the wind

The women in my compound wash clothes almost every day with impeccable skill and speed. When I try to mimic their moves, I splash water everywhere. When I try to bend over the water buckets like them, my back becomes sore. My skills are rather pathetic. Laundry is just one of many daily household tasks here, and the women are remarkably efficient at them all. Their lives seem dominated by house chores.

Pauline, my CouchSurfing host's sister, doing washing

Pauline, my CouchSurfing host's sister, doing washing

I hate laundry days. And house chores. I haven’t left the house today except to buy bananas, and I feel restless. On the road down to Nairobi, I was completely satisfied with staring out the window and doing nothing, which is more relaxation than I’ve had in the past four years. But doing nothing in a house has a different effect, and I can’t even handle it for one day. I need to feel like I am accomplishing something more meaningful than clean clothes. I need to meet people besides the CouchSurfer with whom I am living. I can’t sit around all day, and I can’t stay in the house. I need something, anything that gets me outside.

Tomorrow I’m kicking myself out of the house. I don’t know where I will go or what I will do, just as long as it’s not another day of laundry and sitting around.

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