Kenya

A Vision of Alan’s Future in Kenya

Well I’m back in Tala, and it only took two days before I feel like I never left. As I walked up the dirt road to the college I greeted the bike “repairmen” under the tree at the corner. Thanks to British Airways my pace was quick (please find my bags by the way!), and I arrived at the Holy Rosary compound in record time. It appeared as if nobody got the memo about my return because there was no “Welcome Back” party waiting for me… That’s right, no balloons, streamers, music, or mandazis. Pole sana.

After making my rounds with staff and students I headed back to see what a month’s absence can do to a farm. Dead! All dead! I wish I had pictures to show you (thank British Airways again), but I couldn’t wait and I’ve already torn up most of the crops and cultivated the land in preparation for the coming rains. My deep sleep lastnight was interrupted by a torrential rain, or maybe the tin roof just makes it sound really intense. I could hear the corn, cilantro, and bean seeds in the other room… begging to be planted. This brings me to my next point… points.

I want to use my time in Kenya to do some worthwile things, and here is an early disorganized list sorted in order of how excited I am about undertaking the item:

Use my small farm efficiently and responsibly

  • Rotate crops.
  • Use legumes for nitrogen fixation.
  • Cultivate a healthy composte.

Save the college’s IT program

  • Computers get old FAST.
  • Old computers break. Often.
  • An IT program without computers is not an IT program.

Recycle tin cans

  • Cans don’t burn… not even with kerosene.
  • There are no recycling programs in small Kenyan villages.
  • Burying them isn’t a viable long term solution.

Yes, I realize the first one is easy and fun, and the other two seem daunting, costly, and boring. Call me lazy but to me this just screams “modern civilization doesn’t work.” Why did we have to make life on Earth so damn complicated? Two of these problems didn’t exist until homo sapiens sapiens decided to come around and change the way we did everything. Hell, we were hardly even farmers before the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago (more like “hunter-gardeners” as Daniel Quinn would say)!

Something awesome I did today was walk to the market with my good friend Mr. Musau to pick out some tools for my shamba (farm). 350 Kenyan shillings later and I am now the proud owner of a brand new tilling fork and a really sharp panga (big, long knife). After that we stopped by a barber and I had the man trim my beard and shave my neck for twenty shillings! So I guess if British Airways never finds my bags I’ll at least have a solution for losing my shaving razors.

Good times in Kenya.

Alan

p.s. When I typed this entry five days ago (I haven’t had internet since then!) my baggage was still lost in the air somewhere… but British Airways has since found them and the baggage is now in my posession. Woohoo!

4 Comments

  1. Jon

    Me too Alan! Hope it works out for you with those plans, definitely need to have some goals goin! My job is dying a slow death out here, but I’m still keeping busy with a few web site projects and the sisyphean fight against USB-key viruses–2 more months :(. Keep up the good posts dude!

  2. Piper

    Glad to hear your garden is up and running again. It was so sad to hear you had come back to find it dead! We had our first bumper crop of pei pah (loquats) here, from a seedling Ah Ma and Ah Yeh gave us a few years back. They are very sour so no one likes them but me, but they sure are pretty!

    Do critters go after your veggies?

    Piper

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