Kenya, Rants, Teaching, Travel

Christmas Update

I know I’ve been out of communication for over a week, but it’s with good reason. I’ve been traveling all over Kenya for various goodbye parties, circumcision ceremonies, and Christmas celebrations. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Saturday, December 20th: Maasai village called Enkokidongoi for a goodbye party for a few friends.
  • Sunday, December 21st: Back to Tala to wash some clothes.
  • Monday, December 22nd: Back to Nairobi to in order to leave early the next morning to Western Kenya for the Kulechos’ rural home.
  • Tuesday, December 23rd: Mabanga, near the Ugandan border with cousins of the Kulechos because nobody was free to take me to the Kulechos’ farm.
  • Thursday, December 25th: Finally to Chepsaita, where the Kulechos’ rural home is. Bunches of family and villagers were gathering for the slaughtering of a bull for Tash’s brother’s circumcision ceremony.
  • Sunday, December 28th: Back to Nairobi in order to leave for Ethiopia on Monday.

I had never been to Western Kenya before but now I can say I know my way around a bit of Mabanga, Webuye, Eldoret, Chepsaita, etc… Western is much more green and fertile than Tala. It’s in the Great Rift Valley, the fertility of which made it famous for fostering early human development. I had to go to church on Christmas day, for two hours… and they made me come up and greet the congregation. Haha. Other than the church/Jesus aspect, Christmas day was completely different than in America. I woke up, drank some tea, went to church, and that was it; just another normal day in Kenya. No mention of presents whatsoever. The simplicity of it makes the United States’ consumer Christmas look terribly selfish.

The circumcision ceremony was more modern than the traditional Luhya (the tribe) ceremony. The circumcision itself was done in a hospital in Nairobi, but we slaughtered a big bull in the bush and invited everyone around to come partake. I’ve got some gnarly pictures from my camera’s crappy phone, I’m sure some of you would like to see them, so I’ll post them when I get back to my computer in a few weeks.

I am waiting to catch my bus to the border of Ethiopia and Kenya (one of several), Moyale. I have read lots of stories about people traveling by cargo bus (“lorry” in British English) with goats and forty of fifty people, but I found a bus in Eastleigh for 2000 shillings (about 30 dollars). That’s nice because the road is terrible, and it takes like two days minimum. The bus says it will arrive in 23 hours, but we’ll see, haha!

On a funny note, I was just sitting in a coffee shop in Nairobi killing time and reading the Ethiopian (Amharic) phrasebook that I haggled off a so-called Zimbabwean refugee a few weeks ago. I’m pretty sure there were four Ethiopians sitting at the table next to mine; if you’ve seen many East Africans you can tell the difference. I know they saw my book, and part of me hoped they would come talk to me, if only because Amharic uses squiggly characters and is completely unlike Swahili and English (more close to Semitic languages Arabic and Hebrew). Oh well, I’ve been in countries with squiggly letters before, and I did just fine…

I’m not sure if my Kenyan SIM cards will work in Ethiopia, so I might be out of communication via phone for a few weeks. Talk to you soon, most likely via updates on the blog.

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