It’s Friday afternoon and Em and I just finished getting our hair braided before we go to the Masai Mara – this will help us from needing to wash our hair. Em looks great, sort of Middle Eastern and I look like a white Rastafarian. My hair hasn’t been this long over 10 years!
We are headed to Utalii college in a mintute to speak with a professor before we start our voluteer work. He’s going to discuss with us some health and conservation topics which will help us when we speak with the Masai people.
The weather here has been really nice, not too hot so far. I’ve only gotten one mosquito bite and Em’s in the clear so far :)
We rode our first Matatu (bus) yesterday. It was hot pink and called “Tranquilizer”. Inside there was rap blasting I mean blasting and they had a tv playing the video. It was crazy – i just kept laughing the whole time. We headed to a city market which is kind of touristy and we got HOUNDED by people wanting us to buy everything. We didn’t last long, it sort of felt like a cheap flea market anyway, nothing much looked authentic.
Everyone in Kenya is praying for Obama to win the election. There is probably 5 stories a day in the local paper talking about the election its crazy. I should have studied my history books, because everyone is asking us so many questions. They can’t believe it when we tell them that we already voted, they said, Kenya could never have pre-voting because of corruption. I’m glad I voted for Obama, I think it’s helping Em and I and certainly not hurting us :)
Well, I gotta run. I’ll be in touch probably in two weeks. Sorry this post is so choppy.
Hope everyone is doing well.
Love you all!Posted on October 31, 2008 by Keli · 9 comments Read More
Habari zenu ma rafiki (Hello my friends),
It’s our second night in Kenya and we are having a wonderful time. After a long travel day of just around 30 hours I think we are over our jetlag.
One of the many hopes and goals for my Kenya trip was to hopefully connect with some non-profit organizations (NGOs) or to see where there is a need that I could help out with part-time when I’m back in Idaho. I wasn’t sure how this was going to happen, but I hoped that it would. On our plane ride from Amsterdam to Nairobi there were a couple of gentlemen who were sitting behind us that work for an organization called One Global Economy. This organization builds portal websites as a tool to help transmit much needed information to people in the way they need it. That’s a simple explanation and doesn’t explain it all that well, but they were flying to Kenya then Rwanda to speak with the directors of some of the major NGOs in these countries. They were really great to talk with and invited us to join their seminar they were having the next day. So in less than 12 hours of setting foot in Kenya, Emily and I were in a room with the directors of about 20 of the largest NGOs in Kenya including the president of the NGO council. After we were there for a bit I turned to Emily and said, “is this for real, are you kidding me?” The entire day was so surreal. We got to listen to all the issues and challenges these different NGOs face and how this company’s solution could possibly help bridge a major gap of communication. We met many of these directors and obtained their contact information for further follow-up. We are starting to learn that Kenyans are very gregarious and want to share their stories so it was easy to connect to these “officials” and have great dialogue. As a “small” side-note, when we were eating lunch in the restaurant downstairs we were informed that Kenya’s Prime Minister was at the buffet table. The 2nd most powerful man in Kenya was standing 10’ away from me – just crazy. I couldn’t believe all of this was happening and once again I was amazed at the power of thought.
But I should retrace my steps a bit because there has been so much more to this short experience than this impromptu meeting. We arrived at the airport and were welcomed onto the boarding ramp with a sweet muggy smell of Kenya. For a moment I thought I was in Florida but realized there were too many Africans surrounding me for that to be true. We stopped and Em rolled up my “safari shirt” sleeves for me. We looked at one another and realized I that my face must have looked just like hers; big round excited eyes with a smile from ear to ear – we had arrived we were in East Africa!
Simba, our Kenyan friend from Moscow who made arrangements ahead of time for us to stay with friends and family in Nairobi made sure there would be somewhere at the airport. I hoped they would have a sign with our names on it because for some strange reason I’ve always wanted that. Both our packs arrived in baggage claim – phew – and we headed out the door to a wall of Kenyans holding up signs. Our new dear friends were standing down on the left with a sign reading “Kelly Keach ” and a photo of both Emily and I that Simba had emailed them.
Ombati, Pastor Kim, and Uncle welcomed us (Karibu) into Kenya with big smiles and warm hand shakes. The official language of Kenya is English but the national language is Kiswahili. Ombati and Kim speak both very well so besides getting used to the accent and the use of different words for things (petrol instead of gas) we were well on our way to making a great connection. These are great friends of Simba and people with whom he asked to take care of us while we are here.
We arrived at Cathy’s house (Simba’s sister) from the airport with our new Kenyan cell phone in hand (they bought one for us)- already making sure we have things we need while we are here to connect with them. It was 9:30 at night and we were ready for some serious sleep. After sitting for a bit with Cathy, Latif and Faiza, we were shown to our room upstairs which has two nice twin beds for us to sleep on. We fell asleep to the chorus of many crickets including one that sounds like an electronic beep of some kind. The crickets became the background for the sounds of monkeys calling to one another. As I laid there in bed I couldn’t believe that I was actually here and a dream of mine was coming true. I gave my thanks and told the monkey’s I would see them all in the morning. (oh, and to my fellow NRS monkeys you would just adore the Syke monkeys that run around in this neighbourhood, we’ll have some new photographs to decorate the monkey cage with )
Well, I see that I am getting a bit wordy and it will be impossible for me to write down all our experiences in detail unfortunately. So I will wrap up this post with a few more thoughts. Nairobi is a very large city with amazingly heavy traffic. There are few traffic signs and road lines. People drive like I’ve never before experienced and it’s CRAZY! Not to mention that they drive on the left side of the road due to being under British colonial rule until 1963. We have been having lovely sit downs with our host family and learning so much about Kenya and their lives. People here are very interested in our presidential campaign and we’ve been asked many many questions. Kenyans and many Africans alike are hoping for Obama to win so that perhaps the many diverse plights here will be at least recognized by the US. They hope that his roots will allow his heart to give some attention to their cause. It’s really great to be here actually and interact and talk with people about politics in such an interesting time in our history.
Well, tomorrow we are off for a full day of visiting an elephant orphanage, the city marketplace, and an outfitter called “Savage Wilderness Safaris.” This is company that does many different types of adventure trips and is a customer of my company NRS. We sell them gear for their whitewater rafting trips. We hope to be able to get on a trip sometime while we are here. Can you image, if I get the opportunity to boat in Kenya? As little Miles would say, “oh wow.”
I’m not sure if I will get a chance to post again before we leave for the Mara, the internet access here is relatively cheap but the connections are slow, so it becomes expensive pretty fast. We are headed to the Masai Mara reserve on Saturday for a few weeks to do our volunteer work and have our safari adventure.
I’ll close with letting you all know how beautiful the people are they we’ve met so far. They’re hearts are filled with love and their kindness and generosity is to be admired. They love to drink tea (with milk and sugar), share stories, joke with one another, and laugh a ton. The Sidi family, Ombati, & Pastor Kim, have taken us under their wings and are teaching us anything and everything we want to know, including Kiswahili which is something I think Em and I wish we studied a bit harder before we arrived. In just 48 hours I’m amazed at wonderful it feels to be here and how grateful I am to be given this gift of travel.
In case of an emergency we might be able to be reached at: (this is all that you need to dial from the US to Kenya) 011 254 715 220 654
Till next time….
Lala Salama (goodnight)
Well, it’s been many months since I decided to take a big trip and I can’t believe we fly out early Sunday morning. I’m so excited to be heading to Africa and for the experiences that lie ahead. I’m not sure how much internet access we’ll run into, but I will post to my blog as often as I can.
Em and I are really excited for this adventure and no worries to all who read, we’re in good safe hands with family and friends of a good friend here in Moscow.
Here’s a small map to show some of the locations we plan on making our excursions from.
Well, my next post will be from the soil we all came from, till then…
“Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time.”
~Leo F. Buscaglia
Well it really doesn’t feel like it’s been over a year and a half since I took pictures of Aubrey at 7 days old. Crazy how times flies, and yes how quick the little ones grow. I’ve been a slacker when it comes to taking pics of Aubrey so we headed to park on Sunday to have some fun and take some pics.
We had fun and I think a got a few good shots. The quality isn’t the best but here’s a little slideshow of the cutie.
You can also check them out at my Picasa Album if you want to see the images larger and clearer.
Hope it doesn’t take too long to load.
“A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer.”