Friday, March 6, 2009



Boy a month has flown buy, currently I am in the Kenyan Continental hoteli. Tomorrow I will go back to the coast by mash poa busi. So why am I in Nairobi? I broke a tooth, one of the front ones, on some pilfered beef jerky. Serves me right for eating it. 10 years ago I broke a tooth and every 4-5yrs or so it breaks again. This time it is done, no more superglue. The dentist was very nice and came up with two solutions for my dental delima. One is a root canal, the other (which I prefer) is an orthodontic solution. It would require 6mths of pulling down the remaining of my living tooth and putting a crown on it. I enjoy it b/c it keeps the life span of my tooth. A root canal is an eventual tooth death sentence. The hotel is quiet tonight and it lends itself to thinking, about up coming training about so many things happening in the US.
When you eat in Nairobi you eat alone. All told it was a poa (cool)experience. Last night I ate at a nyama choma joint, a nice one. Expats and Nairobi businessmen with their girlfriends, it was an interesting juxtaposition. It was out of a movie I might just rent. It gets very lonely at times though, always on the outside of what is going on lakini it seems here no one is on the inside. I could write a whole entry on the emotions involved with eating chakula (food) in Kenya. Mayhaps I will make it a later well thought out diatribe. Tonight I ate some of the best Indian food I have ever had, I finally had a vindaloo. For all you geeks keeping score the vindaloo is the dish the one of the main characters of Red Dwarf was always eating. I decided a long time ago if I ever got the chance I would eat one, and I got that one out of the way.


The mash station, my cool Kenyan jeans and a footballers jersey. I know I'm cool. Its good to be me. Today I got dropped at the mash station. The Mash is a bus company that runs from Nairobi to Mombasa several times a day. They do other runs as well, but I am not interested in them at this time. Going to Nairobi I took the Mash Cool which I have on good authority (Kenyan mama's aren't wrong about this type of thing) is the mzungu bus. Sure enough she was right. I sat next to a US couple that were on vacation and there were missionaries.

The Tourists and the Middle Eastern Bwana

So I had the privilege of hearing Americans interact in another culture. Trying to understand a culture and present their ideas in a constructive fashion. It didn't go so well. Next to the tourists from other regions south of Kenya was a man of great opinion from Mombasa who took to informing them about a culture they didn't have the tools to deal with. The men seemed to start off in an innocent conversation about shiria law and polygamy and ended up with a theological debate. Both seemed to think their ideas were absolute and mutual exclusivity was assured. In not going into the arguments they used but I will say I got a good look at how Americans are in the rest of the world. The man who spoke of values but stated they were secular seemed unaware and denied the fact America was started by the religious as a refuge. He talked down about theocracy while supporting countries based in religion. It is my hope that while opinionated in the US I could see my arguments and the fallacy involved in their emotional content. The topper is while the men so protected their pride and talking points even taking it as far as talking about the state of Kenya they completely ignored the current relevant issues of the day. The bus passed shamba after shamba of maze crops in hatari (danger) of failing due to the prevailing weather patterns. When I made an attempt to quell the religious discussion” and point out the importances of aid and domestic issues I was dismissed. This is when I realized neither person was interested in getting along or learning about the other only in point pushing. In the end it was a conversation I can describe in two words, boorish misanthropy.

Post dated Pickles

Pole Sana.. Connectivity issues and slowed my blogging.

So whats the deal about pickles? And kwa nini they always seem to been green? I decided I am going to get to the bottom of this mystery as well as many of the other mysteries about picking in the up coming month. My first experiment is pickling tomato and onions. Later, meats.

Variations on a theme: Family in Kenya part 1
To my readers: I have a kiswahili test coming up so there will be some words you might be unfamiliar with.

Not surprising families in Kenya very much the same as families in America, there is a mother, father, sisters, brothers, grand and great grand all sorts of things and cousins coming out the wazu. This however isn't where this blog ends.
While the players are named the same often the roles change. Mama's tend to be the heart of a family. Between raising the children and cooking the food they all find the time to work some bodies shamba (a small farm) for food. A family with out a mama at the helm of domesticity falls apart. Baba's work, mainly. If a good baba is out of work then he is out either hustling (working many small jobs) or standing by his wife in the family shamba planting for his family. There is a difference between men and women in Kenya. Its all contained in one word: Polygamy. While it is on its way out both socially and legally there is still quite a lot of polygamy. I hear about it everyday, an old wife pushed aside by a much younger one. It isn't as common as all that but it does happen in places other than Tanzanian bongo flicks. The Kiddos, they are everywhere. If they are lucky the are going to school with a chance at a future. Not all children get to go to school. The educations public and free, but the parents must buy the uniforms. You want to meet some of the most grown up children on the planet you come to my village. A place where even the five year olds put a seat out for you because you are an elder. I was never so well behaved. Well, there is one area for improvement. This is for anyone planning to visit anywhere ever. DO NOT GIVE THE CHILDREN STUFF, and by stuff I mean, candy, pens, money, bicycles, fruits or anything you might just have in your hands. It doesn't help anyone, no not even the childern. Other than that they are the biggity bomb. I know several whose missions in life are to give me a high five. You can almost see the train of thought on the child's face. “Nitakupiga sana mzungu mkono.” Then the next thought occurs “Nipe parimende!!” As we all have heard this a million times I give a quick “sina parimende mtoto, pole sana, labda kesho.” or something like that. But before I tell the kid I don't have any candy and it occurs to the kiddo I might just have something to give them the only mission is to slap that hand and good!! Easily the best part of my day. I didn't even know I liked kids so much till I got here. In America I am always worried about conflicting the directives given by overprotective parents, here the community helps to raise children. They help look after socially acceptable behaviors and have the right to turn in mtoto mbaya to their parents. You can trust me when I say that is the last thing the child wants.

In other news:
Now is the time of Linux. I'm giving it a try, its not so bad. Music, finally after all this time.

This past weekend great get together and camping on the beach.

Next weekend, medical, and a little after that a LANGUAGE INTENSIVE. It will be a blast.

Tune in here for all your news dates coastal and Kenyan.

Oh ya, Amelia, Happy Birthday... I give a call if I can.