Saturday, December 22, 2012

Year End Clearance

I know a clearance is normally after the holidays, but I'm doing mine now.  So this will be a bunch of odds and ends I wanted to pass along and forgot about.

Whenever I am in Nairobi at the ghetto hotel, I walk past this gate and have a chuckle.  So last time I took a pic to share with you.  Wonder how someone lets them know they are outside, hmmm?
The nearest shopping mecca for me is Eldorett, which means Nakumatt.  I usually make the trek there every month.  Last visit, I wanted to have lunch at the newly opened pizza parlor next to Nakumatt.  They also serve pasta to order and chinese food to order--go figure.  The pizza is a treat but the thing I like best is real brewed ice tea with real ice cubes.  Yummy.  Sony also had put up a display truck hawking there stereos and had a couple of characters strolling the parking lot to drag over business.

These two guys were lots of fun and once we took our 'snap' everyone else wanted a snap too.

There are a couple of hotelis (restaurants) in Kabarnet where I will go for lunch.  They are owned by the same person.  I prefer Sportsline (no clue why it's called that) because the samosas are better there.  They actually have a sink where you can wash your hands instead of a pitcher or can of water.
I guess the sign works because I have never seen anyone spit.

Back on my compound there was a bit of drama a couple of weeks ago at 2:30am.  One of Mama Rhoda's sons came home and started beating his wife and children.  She was screaming, yelling, the babies were crying, pots, pans and dishes being thrown outside, Sukari barking like a crazy hound and no one did anything.  Remember I live next to the police compound and the deputy is my neighbor! It actually scared me because he didn't seem to be drunk.  I did mention the incident to the other son recently and told him if it happened again, I would be leaving because I would not feel safe here. Well, now the wife and baby are gone.  Mama Rhoda 'chased them away' because of the incident.  The woman always gets blamed in a domestic situation, huh.
This is the sweet six month old girl that was slapped.  I hope they are somewhere safe now.

Another baby cow was born on the compound a month ago and Sukari desperately wants to play with her.  In the beginning the cow feared Sukari but now just butts her in the head.
Also on the compound is a houseboy named Eric.  A really sweet 16 year old orphan. He is a total slave here.  Milking and pasturing the cows, doing laundry, cleaning the houses, cleaning the compound, watching the children, cooking all meals, doing dishes and this is seven days a week.  He left for the holidays a week ago for three weeks.  Then just this morning he was back.  He told me Mama Rhoda changed her mind about his vacation and ordered him back here or he would lose his job.  He would be 'chased away.'  He was crying and very sad.  He had gone to visit one of his brothers that he had managed to locate after 8 years.  He asked me to help him find another position.  You better believe I'm on it.  He is so abused here.
I will usually ask Eric to help me with cleaning and laundry just so I can give him some money.

For Thanksgiving I had no real plans to go anywhere.  Other peeps were heading to the coast and I didn't want to make the trek.  In talking to my pal Madame Roseline, she insisted we return to Lake Bogoria to celebrate the american holiday and also do some work brainstorming.  I'm in.


Her phone is permanently attached to her ear but she can certainly multitask.

Last time I went with her to the lake, we never actually went to the lake per se, just to the 'spa' near the lake.  So this time she was determined we would go see the hot springs and pink flamingos.  We decided to go later in the afternoon when it would not be so hot as the sun would be setting.
It really is beautiful and I was enthralled with this mating ritual of the flamingos.  They literally form lines and strut across the water passing each member of the other flock and moving on.

We drove on the see the hot springs and it was sad to see all the rubbish everywhere. There really aren't springs or geysers but just bubbling eddys in an area just off the shore of the lake.  It's hot though, with steam rising and blowing.  The locals like to stand in the steamy area and breath in the mist because they think it is healing.  Waaaaaay too hot and stinky for me.
As we headed out of the lake park area, the sun was beginning to set and colors were amazing.  I can only imagine what the picture would be like if I had a better camera.  The little pink bodies were so bright reflecting in the water that it is hard to separate them from it.
I was glad I got to see them but am not surprised the park was mainly empty--it's expensive to go there for the locals.

Roseline and I did discuss some business and created a plan to develop a demonstration garden on the plot near her office for her HIV groups to plant healthy foods.  I agreed to help and also teach some cooking classes if she would plant non traditional veggies like okra, spinach, broccoli and melons.  So we put out the word and had our first planning meeting with the groups.
I was amazed that about 50 people showed.  We divided the garden spaces and I talked to them about preparing the soil and maintaining a weedless plot.  We resumed the next week to begin to plant.
I was impressed with their hard work clearing the area of overgrown bush and weeds.  They had really paid attention!

There was still one remaining stubbon stump that this man managed to remove by the end of the day with his panga.

Roseline had installed a water tank to be used for the garden and I stressed the need to moisten the soil well before planting the seeds. On the end of the hose is a gizmo akin to what you would use to put oil in your car.

So now it is all planted and I will show you how the garden grows in the near future.

Soon my baby girl Stephanie will return for another trek thru Kenya with me.  This time we will actually have more time at my site than on her last visit.  So in preparation Steph, here is your daytime bathroom.  I will make sure you have plenty of tp and wet wipes.
And here is your night time bathroom.  This is because there is no light on the compound, there are critters outside and the rocks are slippery.  So start practicing your squats and holding your breath.  And if you get the trots at night--well you're on your own.

I thought about doing a thorough cleaning in my house but decided you needed the REAL Peace Corps experience.  So along with the bucket bath and washing your clothes by hand, you can clean the floors on  your knees and haul and purify water.  Woohoo!

So I'm heading out in the morning for the Christmas holiday in Lamu and then all the way cross country to Lake Victoria and Rusinga Island for new years.  Sukari and I wish you a very blessed season full of family, friends and love.
And when you say your Christmas prayers, whisper one for my sweet boy Cognac who is really struggling now.  He is 14 and really failing rapidly.  My Christmas wish is that he will hold on till I return. But only God has that answer.  Sure miss his sloppy kisses and happy tail.






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