Sunday, April 22, 2007

Random thoughts on a rainy Saturday night

I just wrote a long update on the team blog. I'd love to upload photos of the past few days, but just realized that my USB cables were left in Kipkaren. I hope this doesn't happen too often now that I'll be juggling life between two places--having the wrong stuff in the wrong place. Oh, well.

So I can't upload a picture of my new chameleon. He is asleep on my plant. Barra Barra passed away recently, so John (who took care of him) found me a new chameleon. This one's the same type (side-striped chameleon), but it's far more yellow than Barra Barra was. And it's not yet as sociable. Nor does it have a name yet.

Some things I learned the past few days:
  • In the late 1800s, the British government disarmed all the tribes of Kenya as they continued invading the country under colonial rule. The Nandi (the people of Kipkaren and a sub-tribe of the Kalinjin) provided the most resistance. In fact, I'm learning a lot about the Nandi Resistance as I'm spending time with my new friends in Kipkaren. One of my colleagues, Richard, told me how his last name (Birgen) means warrior in Nandi. His grandfather was one of the warriors who tried to fight off the British, including shooting the trains with arrows!
  • In 1905, the last Nandi King was assassinated. The Maasai helped the British to kill the Nandi king. I'm told that due to the fact that the Maasai helped the government with killing the man-eating lions of the Tsavo in 1898 (the movie The Ghost and the Darkness was based on these lions' story) as well as with the assassination of the Nandi King, they were never disarmed by the British government.
Other random thoughts/facts:
  • I'm starting to think of more and more Swahili phrases in my mind as I do other things. Now I must just use those phrases whenever/wherever I can--a critical part of language learning.
  • At the campaign yesterday, I volunteered to get tested for HIV/AIDS. It's hard to try and convince others to be tested if you had never been tested. My results were the same is 99% of those tested. Negative. Not that I wondered!
  • Yesterday, I was actually craving Kenyan-style grilled corn, that is field corn grilled on an open fire. On our way back from the campaign, I stopped on the side of the road to buy everyone in the car an ear of freshly-grilled corn. It tastes a bit like burned popcorn (except it's good, while burned popcorn tastes terrible!)
  • It's been raining every single day since I've been home. Many days, there are some heavy rains around 2 pm. It has rained much of the night every night. This makes for some pretty muddy shoes and even muddier roads. It also makes for some challenges in getting laundry dry. I have a retractable clothesline inside my house which helps a lot.
  • Duchess hasn't been seen for a few days now... She may have fallen prey to a snake or an eagle. Or maybe she just found another home. I'm hoping it's the latter.
  • Today, I was at a 25th-wedding anniversary celebration that was supposed to be "starting at 11 and ending no later than 2." I have learned that with functions like these (including weddings and funerals) Kenyan 11 is usually 12 at the earliest. I showed up at 12. I was the second guest. We finally started at 1:30 and finished at 5:45, after 17 speeches. (Yes, I counted.)
  • There's a long-crested eagle that nests close to my home in Kipkaren. I watched it for a while the other afternoon, sitting in the trees really close to me! It's a good thing to have around since it eats rodents. But it'll also eat chickens, so that's not good. The birdlife around our base in Kipkaren is amazing!
  • Today would've been my Ouma's 96th birthday. She passed away 5 years ago, just short of her 91st birthday. She was a wonderful woman who loved Jesus!
On that note, I'm going to pop in a movie and relax for a bit. It's time to switch off this mind of mine.

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