Tag Archives: elephants

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.

Day 6: August 4

It’s probably best that I waited a day to talk about yesterday; I was beyond frustrated and, quite frankly, ready to blow this pop stand (that means come home).

My legs, right hip and butt cheek are all covered in bites that I believe to be fleas. While the bites might go away, the infestation may not. Having fleas could make this trip feel like an eternity.

Oh, we also got a black and white TV yesterday that hooks up to a car battery for power. They couldn’t understand why the one channel they’re supposed to get wasn’t coming in. I’m sorry, but hooking up a TV from WWII to a car battery doesn’t get you a channel. However, apparently hooking a broken cable from the roof to a metal pan and then setting that on top of the TV does get you a channel (#onlyinthebush).

Other highlights of my day were:

  • bathing
  • chasing a camel off our property
  • almost seeing elephants on our two hour hike and
  • finally playing some football (soccer)

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.


Day Four: August 1

I woke up a little after the sun today and had water waiting for me to bathe. I  decided to just wash my hair since I wasn’t able to the last time due to my poor rationing skills. I poured some water on my head and yelped because of its scalding temperature. Wow, that is not something you expect from a shower in Africa. It was a very kind gesture for them to boil my water and I do not mean to seem ungrateful at all. Now, I know to wait for the steam to settle before touching the water to my bare skin.

There was no wasting time today before getting to the jobs. All the new trees and other crops needed watering before the sun rose to much and just dried it up, a lesson I learned from my own mom. We also had to remove some of the old fence posts. Following all of that, Joseph and Franco took me exploring for elephants, something I was originally excited about until I saw that they were carrying a spear, machete, and cane. I kept turning around to Franco and asking, “Is this safe? Are you sure this is safe?” I was honestly a little terrified. Although I tried to hide it, they could probably smell my fear–you know, one of those special Maasai skills.

Unfortunately, we saw no elephants this time, only the dung that showed they had been there. We did run into some Maasai groups in the process of migrating to another area, one of which had a herd of about 15 camels. They were dressed in the traditional attire, complete with beads, bangles, and shukkas, some even had the red clay in their hair for conditioning. Their dress gave them the appearance of something very regal and truly beautiful. It didn’t hurt that they stood against one of the most beautiful backdrops I have ever seen–mountains that kissed the clouds on which you could see other bright flashes of color where Maasai were leading their cattle to graze.

Even though we didn’t see any elephants, that trek was by far the highlight of my day. Following our walk, we had lunch and then I was told to go rest (still not sure whether or not that was optional). I also went back into the bush to chop down some limbs to reinforce the fence around the property that the elephants had knocked down the last time they came to drink from the watering hole. I’m not completely sure how the twigs we used this time around will stop them either, but maybe the thorns buried within them will.

Elephants hate the smell of their own blood, so if somehow they got cut, they would never come back. Joseph also has a bow and arrow that he shoots them in the butt with if they come around, that way they bleed and don’t die, then we’d have a court case on our hands.

Oh crap, I just noticed I was laying in a baby cow pie. Likes like I’ll be taking a “wet-wipe” shower tonight rather than the morning.


Sam G

I absolutely dig adventure and travel!

aanyafniaz.wordpress.com/

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

Mathematical

Madison's renderings of teaching and learning