Less-than-average rains this past year mean Kenya’s hydroelectric dam at Masinga is bone dry, forcing the government to start rationing electricity. There are so many reasons why failed rains suck (not the least of which is a pending famine), but here’s one I haven’t heard anyone talk about: how does an electric security fence work without electricity? You see, in addition to security guards, every private compound has a wall around its perimeter, topped with either broken glass or a few rows of electric cables. How are those fences going to zap intruders if power is cut from 6 AM to 6 PM three days a week? That’s not to say I’m worried about my security (I live on the fifth floor of my building, behind a bullet-proof door), it just seems like it would be a serious concern to some people.

The lack of rain is agitating in other funny ways too. For example, it’s hard to wash your hair when there’s no water in the house. This is, of course, a complication of the government’s other new rationing program: water! The worst-case scenario here is sleepily assuming you’ll be able to take a quick shower and snoozing your alarm, thereby grabbing an extra thirty minutes of sleep before work. This is fabulous until you wake up and crawl over to the shower, only to flip the knob and watch an anything-but-impressive stream of water dribble out. It’s happened to me twice in the last week! By the time I capture a pot of water, heat it on the stove, and wash my hair with a cup another half hour has passed and I’m cursing myself for nabbing those extra Zs… but they are always so sweet, so there is a good chance I’ll do the same thing tomorrow morning!

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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