Food, Kenya, Pictures

A month or so ago I a colleague and I bought a chicken at the local market. We took it back to his house and proceeded to slaughter and eat it. African style. I never got around to posting pictures, so here you go!


Although I was good at holding the chicken, the killing part is another story entirely. I figured if I saw it once or twice I might be able to do it myself. I am proud to say that I cannot even imagine what kind of instincts I would have to muster up (not to mention stifling a gag reflex) in order to actually kill one myself. I do believe that humans evolved as meat eaters (and of course, killers!), but wow… no thanks! I guess I just don’t like meat THAT much! In fact, a whole week will go by and I will have not eaten any meat!

By the way, in Swahili “kuku” means chicken. :)

Kenya, Pictures

Last week I traveled to Nairobi by myself for the first time. I had two items on my agenda: the first was to volunteer for UN International Volunteers’ Day (December 5th) and the second was to visit a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Clinic and shadow a dietitian. My trip from Tala to Nairobi was quite interesting. I didn’t end up leaving Tala until 4:30pm, by which it was prime evening traffic in Nairobi. The trip usually takes an hour, but two hours later we were still stuck in the suburbs of Nairobi not moving more than a foot every 5 minutes. As it was getting darker and darker voices of VSO Jitolee popped into my head, “You shouldn’t be out in Nairobi after dark, especially by yourself…” Dammit. Then, of course, the matatu gets a flat tire and pulls over to the side of the road. With the sky getting darker and traffic getting worse, options started running through my head. Contrary to my normal emergency plan, my instinct was telling me to get out of the matatu and get in another one heading downtown.

As I boarded my second matatu I envisioned roaming around downtown Nairobi alone at night with no sense of direction as to where the matatu to Westlands (where I was staying the night) was. Sitting next to me was a nice Kenyan woman, probably my age, who could tell I was worried about getting to my destination on time. She asked where I was going and offered to help me get there. By this time it was pitch black and there were hoards of people outside. It seems as though three times as many people come out after dark, which makes Nairobi seem even crazier than it usually is.

When we got into the bus to Westlands I thought I was home free, but that was not the case. As we were approaching Westlands I noticed the bus driver was not slowing down. I signaled the caller (the guy who lets people on and off) to pull over, but he didn’t seem to care. He just kept pointing up to the ceiling, and I didn’t have the slightest clue what that meant. Then I noticed a small red button on the ceiling that apparently you have to push so the driver knows to stop. This is unlike a matatu where you just tap the caller and he signals to driver to pull over. As I went to reach for the tiny red button it became apparent that I was about 2 feet too short. So here I am, hopping up and down in the bus trying to push that damn red button. When the bus finally stopped I was well past my destination and wasn’t too excited about walking the distance to my friend’s house. Then I remembered one of the last purchases I had made in California before coming here. Pepper spray! I flashed back to standing in line at Big 5 Sporting Goods with Alan, thinking, “I probably won’t ever need this, but it’s just good to have.” I quickly pulled it out of my purse and held it firmly in my hand, ready to spray anything so little as an insect that should happen to come within 10 feet of me. Thankfully I made it to Westlands with no problems, save having to cross two major roads with racing matatus on either side.

UN International Volunteers’ DayAfter a good nights rest we woke early to go to Nairobi River and pick up trash for IVD. When we arrived we were given trash bags and gloves. For the next two hours we walked along the river, picking up trash and avoiding the feces. I know it’s a little graphic, but the problem with the river is it’s the dumpster and bathroom for the neighboring slums. On the other side of the river is an even bigger pile of trash, which may make you feel like, “What’s the point?” but the side of the river we were cleaning up used to look like the other side. It’s still sad, any way you look at it, but at least we felt like we were making some sort of impact.

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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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