Kenya, Pictures, The Farm

Thanksgiving “feast”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!
Sara and the girls

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).

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Kenya, Pictures

Warthogs have the right of way!

… 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.
Making dinner in Nairobi
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).
Kenya, Pictures

Alan at VSO’s officeKaribu sana to Kenya! That is, “Welcome very much to Kenya!” We’ve arrived and all is well; the in-country “training” seemed long, but served as a week-long transition period we and the other fifteen or so volunteers came to appreciate. Aside from lectures on VSO’s development goals in Kenya, this first week was spent venturing into the hectic city center, visiting VSO’s office, taking Kiswahili lessons, and practicing our “my name is” and “I am from” phrases with the staff at the guest house. We ended the week of training with a nice dinner at a local pub before all the volunteers and employers set off to their corners of Kenya. Sister Euphemia had come from the college for the training and she happily took us shopping in Nairobi for household necessities before bringing us to our new home at the Holy Rosary College.

Alan and Sara at dinnerWe’re now settling into our quaint little house in the fairly remote village of Tala. The village is only about an hour and a half east of Nairobi, but it’s far enough that the electricity is shotty, the water needs boiling AND filtering, and the only internet connection for miles around is the 128Kbit link at the college we are living at. Did I mention the town is small? It appears as if there are only one or two non-Africans in this town any given year. One day Sara and I walked the twenty minutes into the center of the town and caused quite a spectacle for the locals, especially the elementary-aged crowd! They either point and yell “Mzungu” (which means “white person”) or ask “How are you, British?” It’s pretty hilarious.

Johnson teaching us to make chapati!Our house!Aside from the epic battle between Sara and the bugs which takes place nightly at dusk, we’re slowly getting used to the “simple life.” That is, doing our laundry by hand, showering with a bucket of water, burning our trash, sleeping under a mosquito net, and going to bed at eight o’clock at night. It’s kinda like camping, and you know I love camping! Sara’s still warming up to the idea of a two year camping trip. We immediately realized that our kitchen repertoire is rather limited, and luckily we’ve made a friend in the college who loves sharing local recipes. Yesterday we learned how to make chapati! Chapati is delicious.

That’s all for now, so hang tight and stay tuned. Please bear in mind that although the college has an internet connection, it is slow, unreliable, and shared with both the college and community of Tala!

Thanks for reading!