Tag Archives: bush life

August 11

Let’s just start from the beginning…

Hot chapati and chai–this day has potential.

Washed the privates–this is going to be a great day.

Then it was off to Sarah’s to see some of the beadwork that she does. I left with four bracelets and one ring. That woman is the epitome of Maya Angelou’s “phenomenal woman.”

It was also a youth day so I spent the morning and afternoon in a meeting with them. I wanted to tell them more about myself and see if they had any questions for me. One boy said that he had heard in the news that gays and lesbians had equal rights in America and was curious if I agreed with that sentiment. I explained that yes I did agree with that and how the culture regarding those individuals was completely different in the States. A part of me thought he was hoping for that answer because he might be gay.  In Kenya, homosexuality is still believed to be a taboo invented by Western nations. I’m still trying to figure out how exactly to approach this situation.

We then went to play some volleyball and of course had to stop when our ball got punctured. I have bought four balls here and literally every one of them has gotten punctured.

Fundi, the repairman, known here as an engineer, is usually able to fix them, but he charges 100 Ksh. We decided to have a snack while we waited, but when we went back two hours later,it still wasn’t done. Oh, and it started pouring so we didn’t even play as a team. It had looked like it was going to rain all day so when Moses asked if we would play, I said “I am down to play as long as the rain doesn’t stop us.” He then looked to the sky and then said, “Me, I think it will rain at 4:00.”  Sure enough, right at 4:00 PM it poured buckets.

It turned out that most of team was there waiting for the ball to be repaired so we ran through the rain for some hot chai. Some of them of course tried to push their luck and order more than one tea, but this mzungu wasn’t having that.

Following tea, I was off to the home of Alpha and his family. They have one of the nicer houses I’ve seen in this area, but it was still very basic. They also built two traditional manyattas for visitors to stay in that were neat to see. Despite the rain, Alpha was all about playing football. I, of course, fell in the mud.

Franco and I walked home after saying our goodbyes and arranging a time to meet for tea and football the following day. Paulo had left before us but we found him at Penina’s family’s home and decided it was best not to interrupt–it may be about time to negotiate a bride price.

On the way home, we stopped to gather the roots of this bush that would be good for our colds. We cut it up and put it to boil and then mixed it with our chai. Man was it bitter…We’ll see if it works.

And with that Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m off to wash my feet and head to bed.

In other news:

  • An elephant was found dead so the Kenya Wildlife Service was all over it. However, if a human is killed by an elephant it takes months to have the case reviewed.
  • Some members of parliament are refusing to pay their taxes even though they were the ones who passed a bill saying everyone must pay taxes. The President has already paid his.
  • Two people came up to Joseph saying, “The white man brings kids to play football and volleyball on our land, he must pay!” Um, about eight of those kids are members of your family. I will not fuel your drinking problem. This frustrated me to no end.
  • Five people were trying to cross the seasonal river on the way out of town and were swept away. They formed a chain and three survived, one was found dead, and another is still missing.

August 8 & 9

With my ankle still swollen, I need a reason to not have to hike around the bush. After receiving yet another hot water massage, I am in need of a break. I asked Joseph about the possibility of taking a motorbike into Nanyuki since it was then 11 am and I had missed the 6 am matatu by about 5 hours. To be honest, I didn’t really want to take a matatu anyway. We went into town and Joseph called a few of his pastor friends to see if any of them wanted to make the trek into the city.

Eventually, someone I knew walked up who I knew owned a motor bike–John Seleon. I was happy that I knew the person driving, although I felt bad that he was taking me for only 1000 Ksh when it normally costs 1500 Ksh. He came and got the money so he could buy some fuel and then pulled up on his bike. Before spreading my legs (get your mind out of the gutter) to get on the bike, I looked him in the eye and said, “You have to be careful. If something happens to me, my mom will find you.”

I thought that I had exhausted all of my bad luck for the summer, but when Mother Nature started peeing on me I knew I hadn’t. However, seeing three giraffes grazing in one of the parks on the way and then about 50 zebras made up for it.

We arrived at the Ibis Hotel and he helped check me in for 1000 Ksh (about $11) and then had the most expensive tea in Kenya (40 Ksh) and walked around a bit. John hated for me to be lonely, hence his accompanying me despite him becoming later and later for his classes at the local bible school. John’s English is also sub par so me telling him that I was okay and he could go was a waste of my breath.

After he left I continued walking around and stumbled upon Nyama Choma Village for dinner, the nice place I came the last time I was in Nanyuki.  I ordered Chicken Choma (roasted chicken) and chips (Fries) and a massive coke because they were out of fresh mango juice. The waiter here was super friendly, partly because they had a smile that went from ear to ear.

I have yet to really master the eating of chicken here. I’m having a hard time deciding between using my fingers or a fork, but either way it’s good. The chips also provided a nice reminder of home, even if what I thought was ketchup turned out to be sweet and sour sauce.

Following dinner I searched for an open bookstore that had a “Swahili Phrasebook,” a task that would carry on into the next day since most of the stores had closed at 6 pm. The internet was also down so I just went back to the hotel and sampled of few of Kenya’s fine beer offerings (Tusker, Pilsner, and White Cap) and talked to Humphrey, the waiter.

Bed came early, around 9 PM to be exact. I think I’ve adjusted time wise because I woke up every hour just about. It seems that some people in Nanyuki never sleep. At 4 AM there were still people outside yelling and carrying on. Going to bed early means waking up early. At about 7 AM I got up and flipped the switch to turn on the hot water and got back in the bed for about 20 minutes to give it a chance to warm up. The hotel provided shower shoes, but I couldn’t get my fat feet in them–that’s not good for the ego. Forget the shoes…that shower was amazing. I really took advantage and washed every nook and cranny of my body…several times.

For breakfast I went to this really “white,” or Western (to be PC) place. I had a mocha (OMG good), a ham and cheese omelette (a real one, not a flat egg w/ a piece of swiss cheese on top), roasted potatoes, and toast! Can you say breakfast of champions?

The rest of my day was similar to the day before except I used the internet and got some blogs posted. I also bought my first Maasai shukka (a big piece of fabric morans wear when herding and around town), as well as some mangos, and all the food for the youth event on Thursday.

I thought that I had exhausted all of my bad luck but on the motorcycle ride home when Mother Nature peed on my yet again, I was reminded that my bad luck is inexhaustible. This time there were three of us on this motorcycle and we were completely drenched! We made it back to Doldol and a friend saw me and took me up the hill on his motorbike. He showed me our house from several kilometers away and handed me the car battery that powers our TV and I was on my way. I got lost twice… I thought it all looked the same without the rain, but with the rain the trails were nearly impossible to see. I would get frustrated, set the battery down and stand in the pouring rain looking up at the sky hoping for some divine insight. Luckily I saw one of the sisters and was so relieved my heart nearly skipped a beat.

Home at last, soaking wet, but home.


Day 5: August 3

What a day yesterday was. I woke up at 5:15 am to hike into town and catch a matatu to the nearest city, Nanyuki. I had to go buy a soccer ball and some water and also figure out what was wrong with my phone; I hadn’t contacted my parents since being here.

The trip into town took about an hour and a half this time compared to four the last time. I ended up buying  a new phone for 2000 Ksh (about $20), that way I would be able to charge it and everything in the town close to where I live. I bought a “Nokia” that feels like it something I played with when I was three. I used quotes around the brand because I don’t think it is legitimate; instead, I contend that it’s one of many cheap Chinese imitations that have flooded the market. The sides are a bright red plastic and give the illusion that there are volume buttons, but they don’t exist, the same with the imaginary usb port. I can’t figure out how to change the volume, so I just used speakerphone.

We had chai in a really nice place on the second story of a building, but the chai was the same as what we drink where I’m staying. Then, Joseph took me down some kind of sketchy hallway to a place for fruit salad (I hadn’t had any fruit since being here) and fresh mango juice. It was delicious, except I’m not a fan of the avocado texture with the other fruits. The juice was incredibly fresh, literally straight from the mango!

I managed to get everything I needed after standing in line for the ATM twice; I didn’t put enough zeros–I’ll probably never have that problem again in my life.

In one store I found a “Teach Yourself Swahili” book that I’ve already started using. I also packed my bag with bananas and a pineapple to take home.

I almost managed to fall asleep on the matatu on the journey home until we stopped and someone sat on my lap and remained there for the next thirty minutes; I should mention that it was a grown man. It’s hard to recover from that. He was extremely close; I could have caught mono. There were 15 people, three children, and two babies in a matatu with 12 seats, including the driver.

Ah! I almost forgot to mention that I saw a herd of giraffes grazing with a zebra from afar. I also managed to see an elephant’s ears flopping in the trees. Up close I saw this specific type of gazelle that stand on their hind legs to eat from the trees. All of those sightings were truly remarkable. I think I might have been the most excited passenger on the matatu until we saw the elephant and a few other passengers showed some emotion.

Needless to say, I slept very well last night. I went to bed around 9 and woke up at 7:30. Living the Maasai life, I’d say.


Part 2: Day 4: August 1

Tonight the stars were amazing. I’m pretty sure I could see galaxies. Out in Maasailand it is easy to determine the planets from the stars because ever single twinkle can be seen.


Day 2: July 30

Today was a day with a lot of first-times for me. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Planted eight mango trees
  2. Handled cow, goat, and chicken poop with my bare hands
  3. Drank milk straight from the cow (because of which I passed gas for ten seconds straight, another first)
  4. Pooped in a while in the ground in front of a calf
  5. Used a single wet wipe to bathe

Sam G

I absolutely dig adventure and travel!

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Verbal tantrums of a writer & an anxious spectator of life.

Mathematical

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