Kenya, Nature, Rants

First, there is no such thing as “lawn mowing” in Kenya (gotcha!). Second, unless you’re the the President of Kenya or the US Ambassador (they live in mansions with big lawns), there aren’t even any lawns to speak of. That’s not to say we don’t have grass. My goodness, there is grass for days and days! Forget Southern California, where strip malls and concrete effectively form one huge, 200-mile-long city; This is Kenya, bwana (“man”)! We have plenty of open space and it’s allllll grass (and sand, but that’s for another time)!

A cartoon lawn mowerI had an epiphany the other day while walking home through an empty field. It had rained a bit so there was mud all over the place. I remember thinking it was good the grass was low because it allowed me to avoid the mud. The funny thing is, I’ve never seen one lawn mower in Kenya. I don’t even think the two words “lawn mower” have entered my brain once at the same time in the last two years… The only place I’ve ever seen anyone cutting grass is in my backyard and on the college compound, and they do it by hand.
Continue Reading

Animals, Kenya

Scorpion on my wall I posted back in April how the rains had come, and that I expected to get a lot of new friends in the house because of it. Well the rains have been scarce, but I think that post served as an invitation of sorts, because I’ve had some creepy crawlies. I saw this guy a few nights ago in the kitchen as I was cooking dinner. The scary thing to me is that it was on the ceiling; the five or so scorpions I’ve seen previously were all chillin’ on the floor.

I read a bit about scorpions on Wikipedia and was somewhat relieved to read:

Of the ~1500 scorpion species, the vast majority are only capable of producing a local reaction similar in scope and effect to a bee sting. Only around 50 species are known to produce venom that causes serious systemic effects in humans. Of these 50 species, only half (mostly in the family Buthidae) produce enough venom to pose a lethal risk to humans.

Continue Reading


Today was a holiday (Madaraka Day) so I didn’t have to work. I spent the morning and the better part of the afternoon listening to loud music, cooking fried rice, and making notes for my class tomorrow. By the time I walked to the market it was almost 4:00 PM. There’s a funny phenomenon that happens in the developing world that you don’t really see in the United States: crazy people walk around town. I guess some homeless people are pretty crazy, but I’ve never seen it as bad in California as it is here. There are a few wazimu (“crazy person?”) in particular who I see often.

One of them really put on a show today. As I entered Tala’s market I saw he had placed a large stone and some trash on the road, and was running around with a stick. He didn’t have a shirt on, but had cut a hole in some large black trash bag or something, and was wearing that instead. Of course when he saw me he ran at me. I say “of course” because it seems like the crazies and the drunks are always excited in their own way when they see me. A few minutes later I was sitting at a shop talking to some dudes and the crazy guy came back. This time he ran into the shop next door and stole a cardboard box. The lady in the shop was yelling, the crazy guy was yelling, and pretty soon he ran out and threw the box. We all laughed and talked about how crazy he was, if he was really crazy, etc. Haha!

Continue Reading