Our internet had been working sporadically for the past few months, but now doesn’t seem to want to work at all. So if updates start coming slower in the next few weeks, know that it’s because wireless internet + rural village = ridiculous pipe dream. That said, I’m in Kakamega today to run more errands for work and I’m happy to post while I get the chance.
Two weekends ago we went to Amos’s home so Sarah could visit her first mud hut and experience life on a traditional Luhya farm and homestead.
We then worked for a few days and held our final parent meeting of the year (biggest attendance yet with almost 100 people!). Over the weekend we headed to Kisumu so Sarah could see the town, visit Lake Victoria, and so we could go swimming as the weather’s been heating up. However, it ended up being cloudy and rainy, which made for a rather low key weekend in Kisumu. (Nationwide flooding can really dampen plans, so to speak). We bought playing cards at a store near the Nakumatt and played on Saturday and Sunday nights. I think the highlight of the weekend for all three of us was eating good food… when there’s not much going on, food three times a day becomes the excitement of life. We had fabulous Indian food twice at Al-Noor and had pretty good Chinese food once for lunch. Yay Kisumu.
On Sunday we took the overnight bus to Nairobi so we could run errands in the big city on Monday and Tuesday (immigration, change flights, cyber café, print photos, buy fabric, etc).
Don’t burn the grass… a colorful matatu with a very friendly tout
Running errands in Garissa
We stayed in Nairobi till Wednesday when we finally got the chance to see Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai speak. Not only did we see her speak, we were the first ones to show up and got seats right up front and centre stage. She spoke for over an hour about environmentalism, and among other things explained how the Nobel Peace Prize committee relates the environmental movement to peace and justice. After her speech, we got to attend a tree planting ceremony and then Cindy and I each got to say hello to her and get autographs. She was a great motivational speaker and I’ll post more about the day when I’ve got more time.
After the Wangari Maathai speech, we jumped on the night bus Wednesday and headed back to our little village so we could be at work by 8:30am Thursday morning. Unfortunately the bus driver kept the radio playing loudly the whole trip which meant minimal sleep for all of us. After work we took naps and realized around 6pm that it was Thanksgiving back in the States. Thanksgiving is the one time of the year my family all get together, and I was sad to miss it but glad I had a cell phone and money to call home. I talked to my family for a few minutes (my parents had been up since 6am starting the turkey and making homemade pies) and then we threw together a super quick meal here with all of the supplies people brought from the States. We had cans and boxes to make Stovetop stuffing, creamed corn, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. We had our own local potatoes from the market and we made garlic mashed potatoes with rosemary and parmesan. Didn’t have time to go to a butchery in Kakamega to find a turkey to slaughter, but that was probably for the best. We didn’t have time to make a pie or cobbler either, so we threw together some banana pudding at the last minute as we were washing up our dinner plates. Not a bad Thanksgiving meal, especially considering we did it on a two burner camp stove and made it under 45 minutes.
Thanksgiving or not, it wasn’t a holiday weekend for us in Kenya and definitely didn’t mean we got to rest… Thursday was a work day after the overnight bus, and Friday was a staff meeting, market day shopping, and a visit to Angela’s. Saturday we spent all day from 10am to 4pm at our end of year staff outing and Sunday we spent all day trying to get to and from Nancy’s family’s house way, way, way out in the interior. It’s still raining and flooding across Kenya (global warming, anyone?), and the constant downpour made the three hour treks to and from her house quite a cold, wet, miserable, slippery, tiring adventure. I’m not saying we weren’t hysterical at points and that there wasn’t much laughter, but man… the weather really made for a lousy travel day. Six hours of miserable travel time for a two hour visit was just painful, especially as we were soaked to the bone and shivering throughout the visit. (Mud huts have lots of charm, but lack central heat). I actually found myself daydreaming about our water heater coil and longing for our return home so we could warm up and clean our feet in nice hot water.
Me and Nancy
Now it’s Monday and I’ve got less than two weeks till my contract ends at work. It’s been super busy for the past few months and these final two weeks promise to bring an insanely busy end to our year. It’s been a great year, but I think I’m ready to travel for a while. I’m definitely looking forward to life as an unemployed nomad, starting with some quality time on Kenya’s beaches in December.