Kenya, Pictures, The Farm

Be thankful for electricity…

Thanksgiving “feast”Things are picking up here in Kenya! As you can see from the photo we had a glorious Thanksgiving feast (scrambled eggs, vegetables, hash browns, and hot chocolate). The power was out all day until just about after our feast was winding down. Luckily we have a gas stove and several rechargeable lanterns. Therefore I submit that Thanksgiving be held in Kenya next year as well… come on over!
Sara and the girls

In other news Sara and I have made many friends in the staff and students at the college. Lately we’ve been socializing with the staff at tea and lunch breaks, and hanging out with the girls in the evenings and at the market. It’s strange because they’re about our age (around 20, give or take a year) but because I’m staff and hold somewhat of an authority over them it might not be good to spend TOO much time with them or get too close. In any case, they’ve been helpful in navigating the market and learning some of the Kiswahili slang and some basic words in other languages (there are some forty two ethnicities in Kenya). One night the girls bought some extra vegetables and made a dish especially for Sara and I. It was full of cilantro (which I love!) and delicious. The picture of me with the huge lump of white stuff is from that night as well… it’s ugali (a staple here, made from corn and used kinda like naan, chapati, or a tortilla for scooping other food up).

Alan with a monster pile of ugaliAlan and Sara’s backyardSo I’ve started the 8 – 5 routine at work. The first few weeks were for getting used to everything around here, but now I’m full-fledged! My computer lab consists of about 15 really old Windows machines (booo!) and two Linux servers (woohoo!). No Macintoshes here, not by a long shot! I spend the morning reading news about computers and politics, and then I have to reinstall Windows, Microsoft Office, and anti-virus software on at least two machines every day because there are evil spirits which go into the computers at night and break things. Who knows. The power is usually on, and only goes off for a few hours on a few days every week. Remember I said “usually!” The college also runs a cyber cafe where members of the community can come to type, use the web, etc for a small fee. Our college is, as far as I know, the only place in Tala where there is internet. When I arrived nobody really told me “this server does this,” “that one does that,” “our software installers live in this directory,” etc… I’ve just had to figure it out for myself. Good thing I love Linux. At 10 O’clock we take a tea break and this is just wonderful. The tea is pretty delicious.
More backyard…Alan working in his “shamba” (farm)In other news I AM A FARMER NOW!! I decided that there is NO good reason why I should not grow my own food. I was talking to the grounds crew at the college about how much land I have around my house and I decided I would create a “shamba” (farm). I’ve started tilling a small area, and I’ve got a friend who comes to help me (a real Kenyan farmer!). So far I’ve planted spinach, skuma, onions, bell peppers, and cilantro… and more is on the way. It’s not that vegetables in the market are expensive, I just wanted the experience (look out, Chico, Alan’s gonna grow some veggies!). I will have more pictures soon, just you wait! Corn, potatoes, and tomatoes are coming next…

Ok, enough for now. Kwaheri!

7 Comments to “Be thankful for electricity…”

  1. carolynn

    poa sana!good to know your sharing your experiences with the world thats wonderful!shiko says they should know how good your in kikuyu and i say in a few months you will be good in luhya too

  2. Piper

    The ugali round looks HUGE… is it raw dough? I am soooo envious of both the Kenyan cooking and gardening you are learning!

    It is GREAT that you are updating the blog weekly with photos and descriptions. What a wonderful record of your time there you will have, and it’s fantastic that we can “see” what you two are up to week by week! Great to have some photos of your students too. I know what you mean about negotiating the T / S relationship. They want to hang out w/ you, they are available and fun, but you are still learning the nuances of how to demonstrate an appropriate level of distance and professionalism, from their cultural perspective, particularly if you will be formally assessing them at some point. It’s tricky, but my sense is that you and Sara are both exceptionally adept at figuring out such things!

    Sounds like you both are having a great time!


  3. Randi

    alan, nice belt! i see that. how much was that again, 47 cents? Swoop!

    I am also planning on making a package very soon to try and send your way. what will be in it, I do not know.

  4. AKulecho

    Oriena Alan,
    Anyway Alan the evil things taht go on the comps are really the………ask them they will tell you and its good ur shambe is doing well. Tutakuja kukula kwako we only eat straight from the shamba


  5. Ken Orth

    Hi Alan,
    Sure looks like a great adventure, for what it’s worth I’m very proud of you for what you are doing.

    Aloha, Uncle Ken

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