Archive for August, 2007

Homemade checkers (Mark)

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Here’s a great picture I forgot about. This is a picture of Njagi and a shop owner named Francis (Who was actually going to study at Washington State University) we met while waiting around for a meeting. I thought it was pretty neat that they had made their own board and pieces from soda tops and a side of a cardboard box. It doesn’t matter that the pieces are all different colors, all you have to do is have one side play with the tops turned up and the other side play with the tops turned over. AND it’s 100% recycled material that’s something you don’t see in Kenya everyday.

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Home away from home (Mark)

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

I thought I would share some pictures of where we lived while we were in Nairobi. Jonathon has a beautiful compound with over 6 houses on it and currently building a meditation center. Most of the tenants were folks working at the UN, all expats.

As you can see the grounds are beautifully manicured, so you feel like you are in a gigantic botanical garden. The number of birds here were amazing.

The inside was small but very functional: bed, couches, kitchen, bathroom, etc.

Certainly not the typical Peace Corps accommodation!

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Kenyan fast food (Mark)

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

On almost every street corner in Kenya, maize is roasted over charcoal stoves. In Swahilli it’s called Mahindi Choma (Roasted Corn). I’m not sure why it took us so long to try it out, but after getting it in Mombassa, Bebeth got hooked on it. In the major cities like Nairobi and Mombassa you can get the corn with hot chilli’s, salt, and lime (right up Lisa’s alley). Personally I only really like it when it’s got the hot chilli’s on it. Bebeth on the other hand loves it any which way she can get it. While we were living in Nairobi, Bebeth would often treat the whole office to corn, kinda like bringing in doughnuts. The great thing about corn over doughnuts is that corn doesn’t raise your cholesterol.

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Looking back … (Mark)

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Looking back … (Mark)

Well since I’ve gotten my new laptop (Lenovo T61 if you are interested) I’ve been backing up old documents and pictures. As I’ve been going through the pictures, I’ve found lots that we never got around to posting. Over the next week, before we head to Cape Town, I’ll and post a few of those pictures to give you a better idea of what our life was like here in Kenya

One activity that took up a lot of our time (especially B’s time) was waiting. Waiting for matatu’s, waiting for the rain to stop, waiting for people to get back from lunch, waiting for shops to open, and waiting for people to show up for meetings.This is a picture of us doing just that. Njagi is in the yellow shirt, and Joseph is sitting next to me. I think on this trip the farmers were around a hour and a half late, not too bad in Kenyan time.

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Rattatui, Bungoma style …. (Bebeth)

Sunday, August 26th, 2007


The events are a little old, but still worthwhile to share. – Mark

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Since we got back form Nairobi we’ve had a few rats in the house. The first one arrived a few days ago and was very brazen and ran right between mark’s legs on the way to the kitchen. Mark quickly got up and ran to the kitchen. He shut all the cupboard doors and looked around for him, but couldn’t find him. The next morning we heard noises and Mark realized that the night before he had managed to lock the rat in one of the cupboards. We sat around for awhile trying to figure out what to do with it. Our options were a) open the door and just let it run away, b) try to catch it humanely and then let it go outside, or c) trap and kill it. We opted for choice b. So Mark fashioned a “trap” our of a cardboard box and put food in it. The theory was that he would be able to hear it crawl in and then he could grab the whole box out. I got ready to go and headed out with Njagi to a farmer meeting. Throughout the day I got text messages saying that he and the rat were still hanging out. The rat had managed to eat all the food out of the box multiple times. Eventually mark went and got a standard trap and just tried to kill it. Well…talented rat. He got the food out of that one too without ever setting it off. (Mark is doing all of this by opening the door quickly, putting something in, shutting the door before it could get out.) So just before we went to bed he made some functional changes to the trap, set it again, and WACK, we got the rat. Thank goodness.


Well, the next night Mark is standing in the living room and another rat runs OVER mark’s foot. It runs into the kitchen, out of the kitchen, into the bathroom, out of the bathroom, and so on. Finally we realize that he’s getting into the apartment through the bathroom window. So the next time he runs into the bathroom mark slams the door shut to the “shower room” and the “toilet room”. Before going to bed he puts the rat trap in the “shower room” and we hope in the morning it will be done with.


Well, the next morning I wake up and have to go to the bathroom very badly. I tell Mark that he really needs to go and check. So, dutifully, he gets up and checks both rooms for the rat. No rat. The trap is still set and there is no rat to be seen. Grateful, I rush into the bathroom and am about to go the bathroom when I see the rat IN THE TOILET. Yes….there was a lot of shrieking. The rest of the story isn’t so fun…it involves a live, but very hypothermic rat, Mark trying to let it out by anchoring a string to the wall, the rat pathetically trying to crawl up the string, Mark finally having to lift it out, Mark putting it into a bag … Needless to say it was removed from the house and we haven’t seen one since….



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The year of the hair

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

So, many of you have commented on Mark’s hair of late (especially the moms…who have been lobbying for growing out the hair for years!) Well, we thought we would post a few pictures showing the progression.

When we arrived in Kenya he looked like this….same as when he was home. Many volunteers had similar hair cuts (or adopted them quickly after arriving due to the ease of keeping it!)
After we left Bungoma for our long stint in Nairobi, we couldn’t find a barber who would shave Mark’s head for a reasonable price. They were all charging up to 10 times what we paid in Bungoma. So, 4 months later, this was Mark:
Finally, a few weeks ago Mark got a “real” haircut in Kisumu (on a side note, a “real” haircut involves going to an Indian barber who cut mark’s hair, massaged his head, slapped his back, and cracked his ear joints (who knew there were joints there to crack??….except probably Dina!) According to Mark this was the first haircut he had gotten in almost 10 years (as opposed to a shave). Ironically we saw a bunch of volunteers that weekend who we hadn’t seen in ages. They all though this version was the long version!! (If you can’t tell, he had close to 2 inches cut off!)
It’s almost like looking at 3 different people!
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Safari Pictures

Monday, August 6th, 2007

We have finally gotten back to decent internet, so we thought we’d put a few pictures up from our trip with Denise, Dave and family. We were very lucky and every day brought us new and exciting sights, but here are just a few moments. (Beware…there’s some guts and gore….literally!)

This mother seemed completely used to the fact that there were many vehicles watching her and her cubs…not sure if that’s a good or bad thing in the grand scheme of things, but we certainly enjoyed watching.

Early on we were fortunate enough to stumble on this recent kill. The adults were already sacked out from the large meal and the little one was left to feed on the remainder. We returned over the next few days to see carcass in its many states. (we’re only posting this one for now for those of you with weak constitutions.)

These guys seemed oblivious to our desire to get through. For some reason I kept expecting to hear Eddy Murphy’s voice from the one who was looking back at us…

I think the elephants were the favorite of the trip. They are so expressive that it’s really easy for you to imagine all sorts of personalities and thoughts (anyone aware of my family’s relationship with our dog Lucy will not find this surprising!)

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