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).
This weekend was awesome! The rain and the mud were pretty lame, but a few of our friends came from Nairobi to visit us. I suppose I should get used to the weather because one of the rainy seasons is coming soon — maybe I’ll even buy some “gum boots.” This wet dirt road leads from the college to the highway, which runs through Tala and eventually to Kangundo a few kilometers down the road. As we were waiting for a matatu (like a taxi) by the highway I stopped to take a picture with this cow. Yeah, I know I’m not very close to him, but he had big horns and I’ve seen too many videos of stupid tourists getting eaten by lions and stomped by elephants. No thank you! We spent Saturday in a Nairobi suburb where one student wanted us to meet her family, see her neighborhood, and eat some African food.
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!
… has become a favorite phrase of ours. For those of you who don’t know Kiswahili, the literal translation is, “I am not a tourist”. From negotiating matatu fares to haggling for clothing, food, etc. I think we’ve used that phrase more than any other. However, I think the phrase means more to us than it does to Kenyans. Matatus are still scary and we count our blessings before getting into one, and haggling is still difficult and tiring, although we’re getting better.
Most of our practice comes during our weekend visits to Nairobi. Because we have lots of volunteer friends and we’ve needed several big-ticket items, we’ve spent a lot of time in the city lately. Last weekend we made a feast with some of the Nairobi-based volunteers and took a trip to Nairobi’s National Park “Safari Walk” (it’s really just a zoo… San Diego’s is better).