Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ice cream quality control issues (Alternate title: why buying ice cream in East African towns is sometimes a gamble)

I feel like something interesting always happens when I go to Kimana.

Sometimes it’s something small, like getting offered a giant bucket of pico de gallo and eggs. Today I was offered two giant buckets of pico de gallo and eggs. I’m not really sure why this stranger thought I needed any eggs/finely chopped tomatoes but I guess I must have really looked like I wanted some to go with the Sprite I was drinking. Writing this now, though, I actually do kind of want a hard boiled egg. If only I had bought one. Darn.

Other times, it’s just a Maasai warrior taking his goat to Church. No big deal.

And sometimes it’s something big like getting proposed to in the market (don’t worry, Mom and Dad, I politely declined. I don’t think he’d be willing to cough up my incredibly large dowry of 60 cows anyway. I am totally worth 60 cows.) Note: Cows are pretty much wealth in Maasai culture so at 40,000 Kenyan shillings per cow and an exchange rate of 85 shillings/USD I could probably make some bank in a dowry. We could open up a cultural manyatta and I’d have an excuse to wear my excessive amounts of Maasai fabric and beaded jewelry, and I could put my vertical jumping skills to use.

I’m sure all of this would be very popular back in West Lafayette. Indiana natives would flock from all over the state just to see it.

Other than that, classes have really swung into full force. Our first assignment for ecology was due today (so if you want to know about vigilant behaviors of yellow baboons or locomotive strategies of African pigeons I’m your girl.). Tomorrow is another non program day, but we have another assignment due on the 26th and then another due on the 27th, so overall BUSY BUSY. It’s okay though because my classes are super awesome. No legitimately they are SUPER AWESOME. You know how on really nice days you just wish you could have class outside but your professor would never do that because logistically it doesn’t make sense? I have class outside. All the time. In front of Kilimanjaro. IT IS AWESOME. And even when we don’t have class in front of Kilimanjaro it is still pretty awesome. For example: we got to tromp around Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary and look at hyena tracks and elephant poop while zebras just wandered around us. IT WAS ALSO AWESOME.

We don’t ever have Kiswahili class outside but my teacher is great, so I am still INCREDIBLY enthusiastic about that class too. Our teacher showed us a music video he was in. It was Maasai Gospel music. It was pretty neat.

Yesterday marked the two-week point. Weird that last time I did an SFS program this was the half way point! I’m so excited I decided to come back for a semester. Although I’m starting to miss a few things from home (washing machines and ice cubes), I can’t imagine my life without this experience. Super cheesy, sorry! There’s something about the new adventure that being here brings every day that’s truly exhilarating. And even though I’m covered in layers of sunscreen, bug spray, and dirt, even though I have to shoo baboons away from my housing (and actually out of my housing… those things are bold.), and even though that every single shrub is super thorny and pointy and trying to kill me, I totally love it here.

Here’s a funny quote from my textbook to end this super random entry:

 “At night, however, baboons will usually not budge, but manage to discourage intruding humans very effectively with a rain of stinking excrement (author’s observations).”

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