First, there is no such thing as “lawn mowing” in Kenya (gotcha!). Second, unless you’re the the President of Kenya or the US Ambassador (they live in mansions with big lawns), there aren’t even any lawns to speak of. That’s not to say we don’t have grass. My goodness, there is grass for days and days! Forget Southern California, where strip malls and concrete effectively form one huge, 200-mile-long city; This is Kenya, bwana (“man”)! We have plenty of open space and it’s allllll grass (and sand, but that’s for another time)!
I had an epiphany the other day while walking home through an empty field. It had rained a bit so there was mud all over the place. I remember thinking it was good the grass was low because it allowed me to avoid the mud. The funny thing is, I’ve never seen one lawn mower in Kenya. I don’t even think the two words “lawn mower” have entered my brain once at the same time in the last two years… The only place I’ve ever seen anyone cutting grass is in my backyard and on the college compound, and they do it by hand.
What I realized was that the grass gets EATEN! Cows, goats, and sheep wander around all the time in search of grass. I am so used to seeing these animals around Tala all the time that I never realized that they are essentially the lawn mowers. I now know that baby cows are adorable and I pet them. Baby goats spaz out for no apparent reason (and they hang out with sheep if there are no other goats around). Oh, and baby sheep are not as ugly as the adults. On weekends there are some cows who come munch on the grass at the primary school next to my house.
On a semi-related note, Google hired a herd of goats to come and eat all the grass at their main compound in Palo Alto. I thought it was crazy when I saw a Maasai dude walking his herd of 100 camels across Jogoo road in Nairobi, but seeing 200 goats in the Silicon Valley of CA must have been a trip!