Friday, May 20, 2011

i almost forgot...

Today I realized that I had not blogged about our dinner with Jane! Such an amazing treat....

Here in Kijabe we have a vegetable market of sorts. It isn't the best. The ladies liked it better when they could go door to door and just on Tues and Sat. For some reason this has now been made against the rules and so they have to spend 6 days/week sitting all day at their tables in this little market spot. I find it stressful to go there because I feel obligated to try to buy a little something from each person...there are probably about 8 ladies?? at any given time. Their products are not all it is the situation where you are thinking, "i need to buy tomatoes, i should buy something from her...her tomatoes aren't great...and those over there...where i already bought zucchini...are much better..." And on and on...The problem is, this makes a person like me want to avoid the place if possible and this is bad for business.

Anyway, I have become quite good friends with one of the vegetable ladies. When we introduced ourselves I was sure she said "jean", so I have called her Jean all year. Not too long ago, after being told by someone else that her name was actually Jane!? I asked her to spell her name. The accent makes it hard to discern between these two names. Sure enough, "j-a-n-e"...Jane. She has never corrected me. I am going to go with the idea that she probably can't really tell which I am saying...accents can be helpful!

A few months ago she came to me with a story about her granddaughter who was in the hospital...needing money to get out etc. I suggested that I could give her money to allow this to happen but maybe she could bring me vegetables...just to make it more like a transaction between friends. (So much of our life here is about people seeking donations from us.) She liked this idea and has brought us vegies several times. But the best thing happened...The transaction strengthened our connection. As a result, she insisted that she was going to have our group up for dinner when the kids were here...that meant 8 people! I tried to get her to wait so it wouldn't be so many, but she insisted.

It was a feast! Incredible Kenyan generosity and hospitality. I know we all felt totally humbled and honored...

Monday, May 16, 2011

seattle weather forecast.

Today a friend from home wrote and told me that it has not reached 70 degrees in over 190 days in Seattle??!? Wow. That is a long time...and 70 is not even a great target in my opinion. This is not good.

The closer we get to returning home the more we anticipate and the more we think about what we might miss. I know for certain that I will miss the weather. Kijabe enjoys some of the most perfect weather in the world. It has to be. We have sunshine everyday, most of our rain comes at night, I rarely need a sweater, never need a coat, and I have worn out a few pairs of flip flops because that is all I wear. I need to get out of this perfect weather place because my skin is getting too much sun! What a problem...

The Kenyans don't experience it quite the same as we do?? Not sure how this works. This is considered the "rainy" season...and the slight change in temperature is classified as "cold". Even when it was dry and a bit hotter we often saw people wearing down sorts of coats and children bundled like they were about to head out into the snow for a few hours. Warren has often removed balaclava type of hats from children's heads wondering if they have sort of grown with the hat on??, as it seems the child must have been a different size when it was first applied!

So apparently there is a lot to experience and perception, even with regard to weather. I doubt that a year in the sunshine is going to help us with having a positive perception of weather in Seattle when we return. We will have to readjust.

As we begin to anticipate all that we will find easy to adjust to upon our return(John talks about his favorite eating spots a lot!), we also think about what we will miss here. I am still obsessed with the sky...every day, and acacia trees, and the color of the air itself...I recently read a description of the African sky..."Everything stands out, as though...a fourth dimension of space has overlain the world."


Hopefully the impact of these experiences and perceptions will color our return and our life from here forward. One of my first goals is to find paint as similar to acacia bark as possible and fill my upstairs with that color! Since it looks different in every light.....should be an interesting challenge.

Ali and friends have reported in from Morocco. Their adventures continue.

Monday, May 2, 2011

another update from africa...

Alison and Myles have been with us for more than 5 weeks now! Katie has been with us about 4. It has been fantastic. It is hard for us to imagine that we will be back to our smaller group after Saturday, when they head off for more adventure in Europe and Morocco! We have shared a mtn climb, a beach trip, hikes, walks, runs, FOOD, animal spotting, piki riding, sports, games...and this weekend the kids went as a group to the Maasai Mara where they camped and drove to see elephants, lions, rhino, hippos...all with babies...and cheetahs and warthogs...etc etc. With some help from our friends and new Kenya connections they were able to do this for very little money. A huge treat!
Katie and Ali are going to leave here with hair twists, scheduled for tomorrow. This will make hair maintenance easy for the rest of the trip!
They have been great sports, tried everything, reveled in being here...and seem to think that Kijabe is the best place of all.
Times in Africa aren't without incident. And here in Kijabe we have recently had a terrible murder of a child and a break in at the hospital, not without some violence as well. The recent bombing in Morocco gave them a little they contemplate being there shortly.
But adventure includes just that...and they are ready for more! So off they go on Sat. And we will miss them!!

As for us...we have about 11 weeks left here!? John has started his last term of school and Warren has a teaching/training trip planned to another place in Africa. Erika will be with us until mid June. There are a few more guests coming and going and various things to finish before we leave.
We are starting to feel excited about coming home, with bits of realization that there will be hard things about saying goodbye as well. The time is going to fly by!

Warren has been doing a bit of mtn biking. Yesterday he arrived back at the house absolutely covered in mud! And his words were, "i have to learn, i am not 25 anymore...but i really do still think i am!" Apparently, and obviously!, he had taken some amazing falls...including one where he landed head first on a of head to rock. It was a good test for the helmet. After quite a long soak in the tub and a lot of work on clean up he seemed pretty ok. Learning that he isn't 25 will take some more time.