May 16 - 26, 2012
The key phrase for everything related to preparation is, don't worry—especially if this is your first time making a big, international voyage. There's no way you can prepare for every what if scenario. So, prepare without stressing yourself out and trust that if a need comes up you didn't prepare for, it can and will be handled.
Below is the essential information to help you prepare for the upcoming retreat. If you have a question about something not covered, email me at celowman[at]movingtowardspeace[dot]com.
Read everything carefully. There are some items down there that require a response from you (e.g., your itinerary, diet preference).
You will notice I have omitted any kind of legal agreement. I trust though that you acknowledge you're coming of your own free will and have not been made any promises or guarantees about the experience and that you hold me and everybody on the farm harmless.
In case you need to call me, my number in Kenya is: +254 738329662 and we can always arrange a Skype call beforehand.
Traveling to Africa
You are flying to the Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi. I recommend booking your ticket 4 — 6 weeks in advance of the retreat—those dates, again, are May 16 — 26, 2012.
You’re going to want to arrive on Monday, May 14th and stay the night at a hotel close to the airport. Expedia results of nearby hotels, here.
On Tuesday, May 15th we will all travel to Kisii (about 6 hours outside of Nairobi) together in the morning. Wednesday, May 16th is Day 1 of the retreat.
If you can arrive on May 15th before 12pm and don’t mind an additional 6 hours in a vehicle, that is OK.
We will travel back to Nairobi on Sunday, May 27 and arrive early in the afternoon. Plan a nighttime departure (around 9pm) or stay at a hotel again and depart on the 28th.
Remember to email me your itinerary as soon as you have it with the name and number of an emergency contact.
Check now and make sure your passport is valid! :)
Customs is quite relaxed. Apply for the 3 month tourist visa in the airport, the cost is $50. If you are unable to bring a $50 bill, you can use the ATM in the airport to withdraw Kenyan Shillings and then go to a Beaurex de Change to exchange for US dollars. Average exchange rate is $1 for 85 Ksh, $50 then is 4,525 Ksh.
The only required vaccination to enter the country is Yellow Fever. The rest your travel doctor recommends are your choice. Know though that you will be staying in a very clean, hygienic area and drinking only packaged mineral water. Malaria pills (e.g., Malarone) are a must given the short duration of the trip.
You will likely want to purchase international travel insurance. This will cover emergencies such as being flown out of the country, hospital visits, lost baggage, canceling tickets, etc. At the least, get some protection on your airline ticket so that if I need to cancel for any reason (highly unlikely), you are covered.
It will be cooler and rainy in May, around 70F/20C during the day and around 55F/10C at night. Bring an extra layer.
You’ll be on a farm and it can be a bit muddy and messy, so I wouldn’t bring clothes that are too fussy or that you care too much about.
Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended. Culturally, ladies and gents dress in typical Western style.
We’ll probably do some hiking, so some light trail shoes would be good or something similar. Flip flops or something similar is recommended for travel to and from the washing area.
Outside of breakfast, lunch and dinner, you'll be receiving two (1hr) Jin Shin Jyutsu treatments/day, one in the morning and one 8 hours later, in the afternoon/early evening.
We will begin and end each day with a circle for silence and meditation and any kind of sharing about your experience.
Beyond that, the day is free and open for any ideas we come up with together, e.g., yoga, a hike, etc. Again, this is not a time of doing but undoing. It's recommended you use your free time for introspection, writing, sleeping and the like.
Let me know what your dietary preference is, veg or non-veg and any other special considerations.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served daily. Everything on your plate will have been grown by hand, with love on the farm.
Breakfast usually consists of African tea, millet porridge, and chapatis or andazi (a doughnut-like traditional Kenyan sweet). Eggs are also available.
Lunch and dinner consists of ugali or chapati with a vegetable and rice. Meat is also available.
Tea will be served in the evening and as desired during the day.
There's nothing too special you need to do before the retreat to prepare yourself.
If you take soft drinks, sugary and/or fast food, etc. I'd recommend you stop that a week in advance because the diet on the retreat is going to be very pure and healthy.
If you're not familiar with Jin Shin Jyutsu, definitely pick up or thumb through this book—it's a good introduction to it.
Be aware of any "future shocks." Irritable, mood swings, unusual memories that arise in you in the days/weeks leading up to the retreat. These are good and healthy. Some deep part of you knows what you are walking into and is already preparing you. Just notice and don't react.
Essential Travel Supplies
- Flashlight, extra batteries
- Rain jacket or something similar
- Flip flops or something similar for travel to and from washing area
- Travel size mirror (I use this one, it can't break)
- Water bottle
- Toilet paper
- (Optional) Medical kit (I will have one but they are good to have while traveling)
- (Optional) Mosquito repellant (probably not a bad idea)
Remember, there is no electricity on the farm. Plan accordingly.
Also remember, don't worry, if you forget something, it's very likely you can purchase the item in Africa.
Special Retreat Items
- Positive books (Avoid gossipy, mass market fiction and email me for recommendations)
- Paper, pen for writing
- Some kind of small trinket or photo to represent something from your past to let go of and one to represent a new direction
- (Optional) Maybe some basic art supplies for drawing, doodling if you are so inclined
What we don't want you doing is worrying about your regular life on retreat or getting so distracted with gadgetry that you miss the experience.
Any electronics you chose to bring should support your journey, like music for relaxing. Remember, again, there is no electricity on the farm! We can though recharge electronic devices, as necessary, at a store that does so.
There is cell reception in Kisii, so your mobile will work if you have international service. If not, don't worry. You can give a family member my mobile number in case of emergency (at top) and use my phone to make an emergency phone call.
I don't recommend calling anybody on the retreat for idle chit chat, it could interfere with your experience. Checking in with family a couple of times, of course, is OK. Checking in with work, not OK.
You want to let everybody important and who is dependent on you know that you are unavailable for 11 days and to make back up plans. Only in the event of a true emergency should you be contacted. Otherwise, trust all is well and you will happily catch up with everybody later.
I will have an internet connected laptop.