The first time I came, I had no one to meet me at the airport and just took a cab. The second time, my Ukenzagapian mentor arranged for another student to meet me. This time, my friend the taxi driver picked me up and brought me to my American friend's house. Her house feels very American (I've eaten half a dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies, for example) and I just spent 2 hours tonight listening to kids singing broadway show tunes. Kind of surreal, but it eases me into the reality of being in Ukenzagapia. It's interesting to see the continuity of American culture here, especially in their kids. But I digress. More importantly, I'm not starting over from scratch here- I've got relationships to build on both in the city and at my field site.
I'm also not starting over in my research. This trip's project builds on what I did last summer, and I've got a clear plan and timeline for how I expect it to unfold. It feels good to know what I'm doing based on 2 months of experience running around my field site last year. I know generally where things are and how far apart my study areas are (this might sound silly, but I didn't have a sense of that at all last year). I have a better idea of how to get things done and what the obstacles are. In short, I am thankful that I have a foundation to build upon for my time in Ukenzagapia because it will make the whole process easier.