I want to make sure that anyone that reads the posting titled Dear National Geographic, regarding my adventure out in the field(the marriage story) knows that reading it requires and amazing amount of salt. It is a dramatization based on events that I experienced and embellished to create a funny and entertaining story. It was meant as a lighthearted joke and not meant to harm anyone’s psyche.
I was asked by a cousin of mine to share with her Africa in my eyes. I wrote here the following words and wanted to share it with all of my family and friends. I am hoping to set up a website to place my photos and things such as this and a journal, and the newsletters I write. So if any of you have any ideas or want to help please let me know.
I am serving Church World Service (CWS) in the East African Office…we have a website that I am running (www.cwsea.org). Check it out!
Kenya is so beautiful. I have seen the savanna of the Southern Province. Which is home to the Maasai and Kamba people. The Maasai are famous for their hunting of lions and the raising of cattle. The Maasai believe that God gave them every, that is every last one, cattle on earth. If they take cattle from you it is not stealing it is taking what is theirs.
The area is home to the most amazing sights. The land is full of rolling hills large open plains full of tall grasses and the most amazing trees you have ever seen. This is where the Great Rift Valley begins. Which is called the cradle of civilization and where man came down from the trees, evolving to humankind. I am suggesting the website http://www.kenyalogy.com to find out more about Kenya and the places I have described or mention. The maps are very good. You can even refer to them as I travel across East Africa.
The other day while on assignment I heard this phrase, “hey where are we? I think we are in Tanzania! Well then drive us back to Kenya!” It was one of the funniest things I have heard while I have been here. The Tanzania border is about 150 kilometers away, which is about 100 miles. I was traveling to an area called Kajiado where we are constructing retention dams for the Maasai people. This area was hard hit by drought and many people died and lost livestock due to these conditions. The dams will collect rainwater and provide water throughout the year for this region. As we were out in the bush, the roads were non-existent; we took a “shortcut” and drove around for four hours ending up in a zone that could have been Tanzania or Kenya. The driver thought we were in Tanzania. Hakuna Matata (no worries) is what they say. It is very true this phrase! If you look at the map of Kenya at the above website we where near Lake Natron and Lake Magadi. The village of Magadi is where we were trying to go.
When I have traveled to these Locations I go with a driver and 1-2 guys. I work with all of these people at CWS. As I visit these sites I record the site with video and photography. I also observe the working conditions of the varied sites and record the human interest or impact these projects have had on the local community. We will encounter projects ranging from food security, sustainable water supplying, women and girl child empowerment, capacity building, emergency food & water provision, disaster management training, round table discussions, facilitate negotiations during civil unrest, and HIV/Aids care and education/prevention programs. We accomplish these projects with local partners. This is why I travel and why they need someone to do what I am doing. I am also putting together a training class so the local partners can collect the information of impact, human interest, reporting progress, and observation. I basically aim to teach them how to be reporters of there local regions.
Since I have technology skills and can type faster than 30 words per minute I have become somewhat of a secretary as well. I have only traveled to the Southern regions of Kenya thus far. I am going to the Blue Nile region of Sudan the last week of November (this is the area near Ethiopia) to participate in a disaster management training session. It looks as if I will be traveling to Uganda, Tanzania (on purpose this time), and Rwanda. I am also slated to travel to the Tana River region, West Pokot, Narok, Turkana (home of the Jade Sea), and near Baringo all in Kenya.
I am allowed 1-2 weeks of vacation while I am here. If more is required than it can be negotiated. I work Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and sometimes stay till 6:00 pm. On the weekends I catch up on chores or sight see.
I will say it is a far cry from home when I have to do laundry. I wash everything by hand and hang dry it all inside of my flat. It is funny to see all of my stuff drying in my room. It is hard to do and takes me pretty much all day to do and makes me tired. It is a great workout! I have a cleaning lady that is provided by the flat office. I do also have to boil all of my drinking and food preparing water. This to is a laborious project. It sure beats getting typhoid or giardeia, again.
I hope to visit the Indian Ocean via Mombassa or Malindi. I may save this if Grant is going to come and visit me here. I have heard that I might be able to participate in a church retreat to Zanzibar, which is off the coast of Tanzania. I am planning on going with St. Andrews Presbyterian Church of Nairobi to Mount Kenya in December sometime. I crave all of the wonderful foods I love. I miss the good old American cheese burger. I miss my moms cooking and my dads BBQ. I miss Jewish deli’s. I miss Mexican food so much. I had a difficult time adjusting to the food here in Kenya. For the most part the food is bland and boring. You would cook this way too if all you had was maize and beans, and maybe a goat. I look forward to eating at the cafeteria at work. I love the chicken and beef dishes. There is this very spicy Ethiopian dish with chicken and eggs over rice, which is my favorite there. I also enjoy the fish they serve. We have real grocery stores here, Uchumi and Nakumatt. I shop at Uchumi because I can walk there. I can pick up milk, bread, cheese (Kenya cheddar is pretty good), rice, sweets, beef, chicken, pork, goat, mutton, and even breakfast cereal (this is expensive). I did get to sample goat at a place in the Ngong Hills during a Nyoma Choma (basically a barbeque style outdoor eating situation) and also tried gazelle, crocodile, and ostrich. I liked the ostrich the best. The croc tasted like fishy chicken and the gazelle was very gamy. I had beef Nyoma Choma with some friends and loved it! It was the freshest steak I had ever had. To date I have lost 35 pounds since landing in Kenya.