Food, Kenya

Eight Months Left

I just realized the other day that I only have eight months left here in Kenya. Not that I’m counting down, but because I arrived in October, 2007 I should be leaving in October, 2009 I guess. I haven’t decided if I will leave early or extend a bit. Since I came back from the evacuation after last year’s post-election violence I have steadily become a full-time lecturer at the college. That’s important to note because we will have a semester beginning in August/September or so, and if I leave in October I will leaving more-or-less in the middle of the semester. Not cool! So we’ll just have to play it by ear… whatever that means, haha.

Alan at Musau's chemist
Alan at Musau’s chemist
I’m very used to life in Tala these days. I walk around like a local and it shows. When I walk into any of the cafes I can just make some small talk and then say, “Kama kawaida” (“like usual” in Swahili) to get my tea and chapati. Even my afternoon students know that after class I’ll either be going to eat chai/chapati or Kisumu ndogo. Kisumu ndogo, which means “small Kisumu” in Swahili, is a place in Tala where you can eat delicious fried fish. It comes in small pieces, served with ugali (corn meal staple food) and some kachumbari (kinda like salsa fresca). Tala’s a funny place, a few months ago I noticed a new place called Kisumu kubwa (big Kisumu), which serves whole fish. Kisumu, by the way, is a town in Western Kenya on Lake Victoria, and the people there are known to eat a lot of fish.

I took some friends to eat samaki (“fish”) yesterday and it felt like I was a tour guide or a local resident, walking around greeting people in Kiswahili and Kikamba, taking my friends through the back streets to my favorite spots. They’re four young German volunteers who stay somewhere around Tala. I had been seeing them for some time, always waving from a distance but never really running into them. Last week I crossed paths with one and we exchanged numbers, so this week we made plans to get together in the market and hang out. They’re all in their early twenties and pretty funny, so we have a lot in common and had a lot to talk about. We ate a few rounds of fish and then had chai/chapati before they had to get going. I don’t know if I’ll see them much, but it was at least nice to laugh and talk with some other young people doing something similar to what I’m doing.

On another related note, I am going on a small trip to Fourteen Falls with Pat, the Peace Corps volunteer from the next town over, tomorrow. I saw that Mark, the previous VSO volunteer here, had gone there with one of his buddies in 2005, so I’ve been meaning to go but plans kept falling through.

So stay tuned for some more pictures. I’m off to drink some tea and finish my notes for Monday’s Unix class. Maybe I’ll also watch some “TV” on my laptop.

2 Comments

  1. liz Mildred's cousin

    Hi there!!
    Let me sound real. you will miss Kenya not only Tala.use ur remaining time well and jienjoy sana.
    l have gone through ur web and i was happy to see the Naivasha wedding photos.take care and avoid all things that will make you sad. SAWA?

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