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!



Posing with our backpacks It is finally time to meander over to Kenya! We have waited so long to learn the mysteries of this vast continent, and soon we will uncover important truths like the proper pronunciation of “Kenya.” Is it “Ken-ya” or “Keenya?” The jury is still out, but will convene soon (probably something like three days from now). Our itinerary has us waking up before the crack of dawn to fly to Chicago, and then we touch down in London’s Heathrow and then finally, sometime on Friday, we fly into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta. Wooo!


Cut that hair, baby!Yesterday Sara trimmed my fro and today I did a final number on my beard, so I think I look pretty presentable now. We spent our last day in America packing, enjoying a pre-departure feast at Denny’s, and watching Into The Wild at the movie theater (great movie, but the book was even better). I don’t know about Sara, but one of the comforts I will miss the most is American-style breakfast. I’m not usually a “bacon and eggs” kind of guy, but after two weeks of eating curry for breakfast in India I was ready for some freakin’ pancakes, ya know?!

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