From My Diary

About Cursed Water & Blessed Rain

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I don’t normally believe in anything supernatural. But life has a way of shaking up your beliefs sometimes.

We were looking at a bonfire in the Samburuland, sitting on a log in the woods, eating the goat slaughtered for our arrival. In front of us, morani were dancing. I had no idea people could jump that high. Samburu girls were dressed colorfully, their beads elegant, their young men partially wrapped in shukas, hair long, spears in hands, a deep sound coming out of their throats and serving as a beat to the song, ululating in between the lines, endless energy in their voices and moves.

Dreaming of Africa
Samburu morani & girls

We had just gotten back from a mini safari ride to the Olentile lodge, and without stopping by the manyatta to drop my things, I went straight to the bonfire. Read the rest of this entry »


The Beautiful Samburu

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I stayed somewhere between Nairobi & Tanzania border, we drop to the forest past Dol Dol :)
I stayed in the Maasailand southwest of Nairobi; we drove north to Samburu, a little past Dol Dol

I hope that after a sad post, this one will be a breath of fresh air. “I’m hearing only bad news from radio Africa” comes to mind… Well, there were some negative things here and there, but I definitely have more positive memories about Kenya.

This was supposed to be a post about my somewhat unbelievable Samburu “adventure”. But then I got carried away describing how I ended up in Samburu and what I was doing there. I didn’t want to cut that short, because I think that’s interesting, too. So here’s the story about Samburu. I’ll write about my crazy adventure next.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two Cows for a Childhood

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I lower my head and step into the darkness, where a teenage girl welcomes me with a smile, a little boy cuddled in her arms. Her worn out white dress, studded with tiny blue flowers, nearly reaches her ankles, creating an image too serious for her age. The boy must be around 2 years old, and the girl is in her teens.

“Where is the mother?” I ask the woman who brought us here.

“She is the mother,” Virginia says. Read the rest of this entry »

A Gift

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“If I know a song of Africa… will Africa ever know a song of me?”
– Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

I miss you, Eunis

(From Fri., Nov. 7)

I was on my way home for a lunch break when halfway through, on a reddish path amidst a bunch of thorny trees, I heard someone calling my Kimaasai name, “Naisoi!”

I turned around and saw a girl running after me. I recognized her. She was the one who grabbed my hand Wednesday and promised that she’d bring something for me today. (We had no school yesterday because of the “Obama day”).

She caught up with me and pulled two colorful strings of beads off her wrist. She then put them on mine, twisting the two together into a pretty shape, a sea wave of every possible color. Read the rest of this entry »

Life in the Maasailand: school and family

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Maasai women and some students at a school event in Olmaroroi
Maasai mothers and some of their students at a school event in Olmaroroi

I love the Maasailand. It is hard not to. It is so easy to like and be liked here, to give and accept, to listen and hear. People are kind, sincere and humble. They take great pride in their ways, yet they open their minds easily. You have to keep your mind wide open too, because new experiences await you aroud every corner. While people are good, life is often hard, and it is important to be flexible and patient. Read the rest of this entry »

I Bless the Rains Down in Africa

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We took a long walk during my second day in the Maasailand and met some boys who showed us their dogs. I never left the house without water and sunscreen again.
We went to a nearby village during my second day in the Maasailand and met some boys who showed us their dogs. The two-hour walk was somewhat of a survival lesson. I never left the house without water and sunscreen again. The dog lost balance and fell. And yes, the boy wore my shades upside down : )

To experience true rebirth of your world, wait for the rain in Kenya. Wait just long enough during the intolerably hot dry season and you, too, will be reborn.

We had a week of the most impossible, scorching heat, when the back of your neck feels like a skillet, and the tiny drops of sweat emerge just under the tip of your nose. Read the rest of this entry »

Ngong Hills and Little Blue Uniforms

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Grade 4 in Saikeri Primary School, Ngong Hills, Kenya
Grade 4 in Saikeri Primary School, Ngong Hills, Kenya
…or some of my most memorable Kenyan moments

* A forth grader with a beaming face jumps up and hits himself in the chest, shouting out loud, “She’s my teacher! She’s my teacher!” as I’m introduced to one of my classes.

* A tall girl from my team hits the ball my direction and yells “mzungu” (a white person) so loud that all eyes turn to me. Volleyball is not my game, but these are my seventh graders and I can’t let them down. I feel my knees shake under pressure as I score. Read the rest of this entry »