Monday, October 29, 2012

Footprints of Kenya

My time in Kenya has officially come to a close, and I can’t help but feel a bit homesick for KBC. We had an emotional day, and while I was grinning from ear to ear making the drive from Arusha to Rhotia, up and over the hills with a gorgeous view of baobabs and Lake Manyara, with dinner came our daily reflection and with reflection came tears. We all got pretty choked up thinking about all the friends we left behind in Kenya. But being sad is okay, because it just really means you’ve formed meaningful bonds and had wonderful experiences and while being sad is rough, we’ve grown so much from our time in Kenya and will continue to grow in Tanzania.

And a good friend of mine pointed out, if you are bound and determined to come back, you will.

And after that was when I started crying at dinner. Because while I was sad to leave KBC, I was so happy to find myself back in Tanzania. I was in a place that I missed every day when I was back in the States. I had made it back to Moyo Hill (and was greeted with a huge hug from Askari Bura!!) and I was sitting in the same spot I had sat 16 months earlier wondering how I was ever going to get myself back here. It was really then that I accepted leaving Kenya. While I miss KBC, I have the memories forever and I’m still surrounded by people who are able to share them with me. And I know that I will make it back to KBC again because, honestly, if there’s one thing about me that I know, it’s that if I say I’m going to do something: I do it.

Also this is really stupid, but something that made me happy: They’re still using the compost bucket Kira and I painted (poorly) one day.  I went to throw out a banana peel and I just kind of stared at the bucket for a minute wondering why it seemed more familiar than the other buckets until it struck me that the oddly sized polka dots were my own handiwork. I grinned kind of stupidly to myself about that.

I’m so glad the painting I made for KBC is much more big and obnoxious and has our group name on it. Future cohorts are going to wonder why EVERYTHING says “Fall 2012” on it, but it’s only because we legitimately got involved in every part of camp. KBC left its mark on us, just as we left our mark on KBC.

Kwa heri, Kenya. Our paths will cross again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Being sappy when I should be studious...

Today was my last day in Kimana Market… not ever because I don’t want to say ever. Just for a while because I’m kind of going to Tanzania in 6 days and it’s kind of unavoidable.

When I left for Kenya, I kind of just thought it’d be a stop on my way back to Moyo Hill, but KBC and Kimana have become just as special to me. There’s something really wonderful about the bustle of Tuesday markets, the beautiful reds and oranges and purples of Maasai fabrics swinging gently in the wind, and really the joy of everyone I encounter.

We’re finally at the point where we’re pros at navigating the market. A single “not today, mama” with a smile actually stops very insistent Maasai women from trying to sell you bracelets now. We ask prices and barter in Kiswahili (and people actually answer us in Kiswahili! ). Kids still point and yell “Mzunguli!” (My mzungu!) as you pass, but giggle when we look around confused and jokingly shout back “Mzungu ako wapi?!” (Mzungu? Where?!)  I met a little girl today, Kiri, who was very amused at my search for the mzungu. We chatted for a little bit (well, we pointed at different things and said English and Kiswahili words for them) before she gave me the two small rubber bands she was wearing on her wrists. She put them on my thumb to wear as rings, but later I moved them to my watchband. She gave me a red one and a green one, so, on my black wristwatch, they make the colors of the Kenyan flag.

I will truly miss how genuinely friendly everyone is here when I go back to the states. I walked into a restaurant a few weeks ago and there were no open tables for my friend and I. We awkwardly asked a man reading a paper and drinking chai if he minded us joining him (we weren’t quite sure what the etiquette on disturbing strangers was…). To our surprise, he legitimately did not mind and he was happy to chat with us as we drank our chai. I’ve done something similar in dining halls at Purdue, but I can’t say anyone’s ever been quite as happy to have a stranger join them for a meal.

We stopped at a curio shop on our way to Nakuru. It was the same curio shop we had stopped at on our way to camp from the Nairobi airport. No longer jetlegged and with some serious experience on bartering, we were much better prepared this time. One of the sellers was chatting with us, and of course trying to sell us some wares but quickly stopped when we started conversing with him in Kiswahili. Suddenly, my willingness to buy a woodcarving wasn’t nearly as interesting to him as my recount of our absolutely miserable loss in soccer against the local secondary school kids. He was genuinely interested in hearing my story and genuinely happy about our speaking to him in Kiswahili. He told me to go to the bookstore and buy a Kiswahili book for practice when I go back the States. He was very insistent that I shouldn’t forget my Kiswahili when I went back to the states. I really hope I can keep that promise.

I sat and talked with the tailor for a little while before expedition. We talked about a lot of things like my hair cut, sewing, and school (her husband had studied wildlife management). She told me about an American student that had stayed with her for two months named Amanda, and how she really missed her. She asked if I had a Maasai name. I told her “Nashipi” and she laughed and said it was fitting. She said it was her sister’s name. She introduced me to her mother and her brother-in-law who were in and out of the shop. Her brother-in-law asked my name and I told him "Colleen." He shook his head and corrected me with my Maasai name. They asked what Colleen meant and I had to admit that it just means girl in Irish. They decided they liked Nashipi better (sorry, parents). I wanted to go say good bye to her today, but her shop was closed by the time we got to Kimana. I think we’re going in once more this week, just not on market day, so I’ll try again then.

Yesterday, the student affairs manager and I took a quick trip to Kimana to buy some paint for my camp beautification project. There was a man at the gate talking to one of the Askaris and my ecology professor. He was heading home and lived between camp and the hardware store, so we gave him a ride. Of course when we dropped him off, his wife came to greet us and we were invited in. His kids were all very polite and very excited to shake our hands. We sat down in their living room and I (attempted, to they were speaking very quickly okay) follow along the conversation in Kiswahili. I caught bits and pieces. They were so warm and welcoming, and I wish we could have stayed longer but we really did have to go to town to buy paint and fencing for our garden. He was a pastor named Isaac, and his wife’s name was Veronica.

And nothing can really quite match the warmth and welcome I got from my Maasai mama, Jen. I think about my homestay a lot, and I’m really looking forward to my next one in Tanzania as well. We’ve invited the mamas over for lunch this week, and I’m really excited to extend the same friendliness and hospitality all the mamas showed us when we stayed with them. The attitude and friendliness of everyone here has really made a huge difference, and I can’t think I would have even had a fraction of the amazing experience I’ve had here without it.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

“The rain is just like a free rinse cycle. Eco-friendly!”

Time is passing waaaay too quickly for comfort and I know I am going to miss Kenya dearly. I truly enjoy each and every day I spend at KBC. I contribute most of that to the fact that our Kenyan staff are just so ridiculously awesome and crazy and ridiculously crazy awesome. Our professors are hilariously quirky. Like, for my Purdue friends, they are Dr. Graveel levels of quirky.

My wildlife ecology professor has this totally BOSS lab coat with birds all over it and he likes to wear it at all times in the field even if what we are doing totally does not call for a lab coat. He also has this really hilarious way of saying “Hello” when he thinks we’re not paying attention and it’s just kind of like “AL-LO!” And he is so enthusiastic about science and I love it. He will take us out into the field and basically we will tromp around in dung or spiky vegetation or something and comments on how we “will see science EVERYWHERE!”

My Kiwsahili professor makes up the most ridiculous English phrases and then pretends like the actually make sense. He says that if we’re having trouble we need to brew “Sawhili soup” (and sometimes he says we need two cups of it). But he also says that Swahili is easy because “one plus two plus three equals a PB&J” (I haven’t quite deciphered by what he actually means by this other than PB&Js are somewhat simple and formulaic like Swahili?? I DON’T KNOW.) My favorite though was one night we were discussing the phrase “wee hours of the morning” and how he always thought it was “weird hours of the morning” because people that stay up that late are very weird apparently.

Environmental policy has it’s fair share of ridiculousness too.  He likes to compare himself to a squirrel. It’s not that he is like a squirrel. It’s that he IS a squirrel. He also used the term “stepped on by a vehicle” during expedition to refer to road kill, which was a little sad but a little bit hilarious. He was sad that sometimes squirrels get stepped on by vehicles…

And last but not least is our wonderful wildlife management prof. He was actually one of my professors last summer in Tanzania, and I’m really glad I got to come back and take his class in full force. He can be a bit reserved and serious but has these moments of total and complete passion for the environment where he just exclaims something really loudly and it takes everyone by surprise the first time it happens. He is totally camp dad and clearly loves teaching and wildlife management and all of us. We are his “sons and daughters” and I actually got a bit misty eyed as we had our expedition debrief and he started talking about sending us off to Tanzania. I know I love Moyo Hill and I am SO SO SO excited to go back, but the thought of leaving KBC definitely leaves me feeling a bit sad. On the drive back from expedition, I was actually grinning as I watched the terrain change back to the dusty, arid environment that I knew. When we drove back into camp, I wanted to jump out of the car and hug Kinyako, the askari (gaurd) who works the gate during the day.

Note: Kinyako is one of the happiest people I have ever met. He smiles ALL THE TIME. He lets me out of camp when I’m walking to Kimana and even though he knows where I’m going every time, we always do our little try-and-make-me-explain-in-Kiswahili, which only ever works out half as well as I anticipate because I always make silly mistakes because languages are hard. Perhaps the best conversation I’ve ever had with Kinyako was at breakfast when I noticed there were no more mugs to make chai. I turned to him and tried to say “hakuna kikombe” (There are no cups), but ended up saying “Hakuna kiboko” which means “There are no hippos.” Now while that WAS  factual statement and there were indeed no hippos in dining area, it gave Kinyako a good laugh. Now he tells me to watch out for hippos whenever I leave camp.

I am just very glad to be BACK at camp though. Yesterday we made the 8-hour drive back from Lake Nakuru National Park where we were for expedition. That whole trip can be summed up as the following:

Things that were awesome about expedition:

Things that were not awesome about expedition:

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Kidding. You think I could go for 5 days in a Kenyan National Park and not have something ridiculously awesome to elaborate on? Clearly you haven’t been paying enough attention. Actually so much awesome stuff happened that I had to pull out the journal to remind me of what happened, which is actually kind of strange because usually I write different stuff between them but luckily I had the good sense to note what would make an interesting blog post so HERE YOU GO.

Nakuru Expedition: THE BLOG POST EDITION

So getting to Nakuru is kind of an adventure in itself. Kimana is an 8 hour drive away from Nakuru and going anywhere with 30 people + staff + all our stuff is certainly an ordeal for any amount of driving let alone a whole day’s worth of it. It was so neat to drive out of the rain shadow of Kilimanjaro for once, though. The change from the dusty, arid Kenya I live in everyday to a lush, green one. It honestly felt like I was in a different country. We made a couple of stops along the way including Tusky’s, the only grocery store I’ve ever been in that has a security checkpoint where I debated on whether or not I should buy this weird chocolate cereal that I’m pretty sure I ate in El Salvador (Mom, Dad, help me out. Tell me I’m not imagining that this cereal existed somewhere else. It was chocolate and had a cartoon bear wearing a space suit on the front of it and I’m SURE I’ve eaten it before…). We also stopped at a few curio shops along the way but that was mostly so we could use their “bathroom” (AKA pits) and I didn’t really intend on buying anything UNTIL I was just peaking around, looking at some wood carvings and I saw that one stand had bird carvings. I looked a little closer and saw something I had never seen before: GUINEA FOWL FIGURINES. I exclaimed “Kanga ndege!” which made the shop owner burst out laughing. He gave me a great deal (probably because I gave him such a great laugh), which was good because I was way too excited to barter. He’s now sitting on my dresser in my banda looking adorable and clueless, just like his real life counterparts.

After a long drive through some dicey traffic in and around two of Kenya’s biggest cities, Nairobi and Nakuru we finally got to the park and it was BEAUTIFUL. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Nakuru before. All I knew was that there was a lake, it’s fairly small, and that it’s fenced. I honestly felt transported, though. And there were so many BIRDS. Lake Nakuru is all about the birds. Its motto is actually “A birder’s paradise,” which is no understatement. It also had signs everywhere saying things about conservation and the environment that were sometimes funny because they would be in English but leave out a word so you’d have to sort of figure out what they were actually trying to say. My favorite actually DID make sense and it was “Bird watching is a wise use of a wetland” and almost every time I passed it there was usually a guinea fowl standing nearby and it always made me smile.

Besides birds, there is something else Nakuru has a lot of: African Cape buffalo. Nakuru actually has the highest biomass density of buffalo anywhere in the world. And that is why I was okay with the fact that we ditched our tents for the Kenyan Wildlife Club hostel/dorm/thing in the park. Because while camping in tents and sharing a space with wildlife is cool? Buffalo are NOT something I would want to mess with. Ever. I knew a guy who worked as a game warden Kruger National Park for like… ever and he said the only animal he was afraid of was the Cape buffalo.

We rolled into the camp, which was basically just a permanent building where we could cook and eat surrounded by a few smaller ones that were filled to the brim with beds and just outside the fence (I use the term fence lightly because it was pretty much chicken wire that couldn’t keep anything that really wanted to get in out) was the BIGGEST herd of buffalo I had ever seen. It. Was. Crazy. Then there was some big commotion and we started getting shuffled back into the cars, which made us grumpy because we had just spent all day IN the cars so our ecology professor shrugged and told us that it was optional to see the lions which, of course, was all we needed to hear. We piled back in the land cruisers and drove less than a kilometer out of camp and there were just four lions chilling near the road. Living their lives. Being lions. IT WAS AWESOME. 


Then we drove back to camp and I sat in my bed, oblivious for a little while, until I realized there was another commotion going on outside, and I legit witnessed something STRAIGHT OUT OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC except in real life so it was so much more boss. The huge herd of buffalo had become very angry at an Acacia tree about 50 m outside of camp. They were huffing and grunting and hitting the tree with their hooves and I asked someone why and I got quite possibly the best answer ever.

There was a lion in the tree.

Let me repeat that: THERE WAS A LION IN THE TREE.

One of the lions had stalked a buffalo, but they caught on and charged at it (Sadly, I missed this because once again I was busy being oblivious 20 m away). The lion in response jumped up into the tree and was trying to wait it out. It was still light enough that we could see it sitting in a fork. I was too busy practically peeing myself in excitement to get any photos but someone has a video (next big youtube thing??). It was about then that we also realized that this fence would never stop one buffalo, let alone over 100 of them and they would probably go after the lion who was likely to just sprint to the closest tree which happened to be the one we were all standing under. So our student affairs manager told us that if the buffalo charge we should run in the opposite direction, which is a pretty solid contingency plan I guess. Good risk management. Buffalo may be strong and angry but they are also kind of stupid and might get distracted and just try and trample the slowest person. I think I could outrun at least one person. We watched the buffalo for about an hour because this is our TV except WAY BETTER and then the buffalo started to slowly forget why they were so angry at this tree and started to move away because they just follow each other. One large one would remember though and start grunting and huffing at the tree again which always prompted a few more to come over and be angry again. Finally, they all moved away and the lion began to stir. It was getting fairly dark, and one of the askaris grabbed his spotlight and got it pointed on the tree just in time to watch the lion slink out of the tree and scoot away.

Great start to a great trip.

It rained a lot though. I guess the only two things I didn’t like about expedition were the rain and lack of mosquito nets. If I was going to get malaria, it probably would have happened in Nakuru. Very grateful for my malaria prophylaxis right now even though I have been having SUPER bizarre dreams because of it. It also rained at least once everyday and my “water proof” boots finally proved otherwise. I did manage to avoid getting stuck in mud both on foot and in the car, though I can’t say I had much to do with the not getting stuck in mud in the car part. There was some excellent driving on our drivers’ parts though. At one point we drove over 1 km in reverse up a muddy hill. I guess I did kind of help with that because I had to shout out when there was a curve and look out for other cars as we were driving backwards kind of wildly. It was awesome though.

Also I helped avoid baboons though I wouldn’t have been too crushed if we had hit them. I was sitting in the passenger seat and had to pop my head out the window to make sure all the baboons were getting out of the way. They have no sense of urgency. Neither do guinea fowl but at least I love them. No guinea fowl were stepped on by our vehicles, either. We did have one that almost did mostly because it kept flying up to avoid the car but still landing in the road just a few feet ahead of us. They really are kind of clueless…

Other ridiculous safari/field exercise moments:
1.     Our wildlife management professor’s total and utter complete failures at attempting to spell scientific names of invasive plant species
2.     Listening to a Nakuru radio station and Kenny Rodger’s “Know when to hold ‘em” coming on
3.     “Please do not make this the party vehicle”
4.     “Is it possible the baboon stole the GPS?”
5.     Getting stuck behind a group of tourists taking pictures of guinea fowl… my kind of people

Also I saw a black rhino. Actually I saw TWO black rhinos. Or it may have been the same one, I’m not really sure. I also saw some tourists who thought a white rhino was a black rhino but it was really just covered in mud and clearly grazing… But I was SO excited and so pumped to not only FINALLY see the last of the big five because I have been to this continent now three times and it really was about time. I also saw a striped hyena which was totally boss. And lion cubs! Overall we saw totally awesome animal things. One group saw a honey badger, but sadly I didn’t. Maybe one day!

Just a black rhino, nbd.

Overall expedition was really, really, really super great. I spent lots of time counting animals, doing cool assignments, assessing tourism impact, and other academic stuff but I loved it all though. I also finally reached my true potential as a Midwesterner and learned how to play euchre. There was lots of euchre playing going down. And not only did I play euchre… I actually won a couple times. Considering how awesomely terrible I am at card games, I thought this was pretty good (having a partner probably helps) Also bananagrams. We are very competitive bananagrams players.

Finally, I reached one of my goals for the semester… being able to shuffle cards. Still working on the bridge. Progress is quick though. I may need to actually come up with a productive goal soon for when we move to Tanzania.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Kiswahili word for buzz cut is “Bzzzzz”

Before the events of this post happened, I had planned on not writing ANYTHING about it, partly because I kind of wanted it to be a surprise to those outside of Kilimanjaro Bush Camp and mostly because I didn’t think it would be relevant to anyone besides myself and therefore didn’t need to be written about here. However, the sequence of events that went down when I was trying to accomplish this task were just so CLASSICALLY “Colleen’s Adventures in East Africa” and “Interesting things that happen in Kimana” that I felt they needed to be documented and shared. I feel like this story pretty much sums up EXACTLY why you expect the totally and completely and utterly unexpected bumps in the road when trying to do even the most seemingly simple things while living abroad.

I shaved my head in Cool Cutz Barber Shop in Kimana, Kenya Tuesday, October 2, 2012, exactly three weeks after I arrived in East Africa. My barber’s name was Samwell.

Let me clarify actually, I didn’t actually shave my entire head clean. I mostly got it buzz cut down to about half an inch of hair, by far the shortest it has ever been. It was mostly for practical reasons. Long hair is incredibly high maintenance. It was constantly very dusty and tangled. Showering and shampooing was generally awful. Overall, I miss my hair but I am happy with my decision. I will go through an awkward growing out phase, but that’s okay. My hair grows pretty fast anyway (or I think so. I guess we can always compare the after picture to what I actually look like when I go home)

Like anything in Kimana, though, even buzz-cutting my hair can’t be anything less than a total adventure. We found the barber; that part was simple. There are many in town. We waited for him to finish up his current client. We took before pictures. I sat in the chair. I confirmed that I was actually going to do this. He shaved off the sides with an electric shaver.

Then the power went out.

I was sitting in a barber chair in East Africa with about half my head shaved and the weirdest mullet ever. I looked like a Maasai Junior Warrior (AKA Moran. I think I’ve posted pictures of them before. They have shaved heads with long red cornrows/ponytails). Really the only thing stopping me from crying and having a heart attack was the fact that I was laughing so hard because I like to have a good sense of humor about these things. After a couple of minutes, it was clear that the power wasn’t coming back on anytime soon. I’m not sure why we thought the Kenyan power grid was that reliable anyway. My barber said he knew a place where he could finish cutting my hair. I wasn’t totally sure what to make of that, but I didn’t exactly have many options. So, I wrapped my head in the scarf I THANKFULLY had bought earlier that day (Incredibly lucky, right? I almost didn’t buy it).

We, and by we I mean my moral support posse. along with a few other looker-ons because, uh, it’s not every day a weird white girl walks into a Kimana barber shop and asks to get her head shaved, moved across town to a new barber shop. I unwrapped my head, and the barber plugged in his electric shaver into a power strip that I’m fairly sure was hooked up to a car battery. The rest of my hair came off, and we moved back to the original barber to get a quick wash (it was moving back to the original barber shop that an SFS car with some other students drove through and everyone’s “Oh my god” faces were truly hilarious and I will remember them forever. I don’t joke around when talking about doing something like this! Everyone learned that well.). We took an after picture. The barber really wanted to get a picture with me. He was a good sport about all of it, and it gave him an equally hilarious story.

I think my head got sunburned when I was walking around town afterwards. I wrap it in a scarf a lot, partly to protect it from the sun, and partly because it mimics the weight of hair. I don’t miss my hair at ALL. I’m really glad that I shaved it off actually. It’s just weird to not have the weight on my head any more (the scarf definitely helps). I will be surprised if I let my hair grow longer than my shoulders ever again.

TL;DR I got my head shaved in an East African barber shop. It cost 100 Kenyan shillings. Here's a picture:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quality time with the Maasai

Jambo jambo!

So I have had an EXHASUTING past couple days. Literally last night I went to bed at 9:30 and was still in bed when the bell rang for breakfast this morning at 7:30. For reference, most nights I am in bed at 11, but up at 6 to 6:30. Note: I don’t actually mean to get up at 6-6:30 every morning but that’s when the birds start to get pretty talkative. Today was actually fairly relaxing in comparison to what we’ve been doing. In the morning we went over statistical stuff in excel, but it was fairly hard to follow along because we had no power for the projector. After that we just had our third to last environmental policy lecture! Then we only have field exercises left for that class. I enjoy the topic, but I’m glad that there’s not so many lectures left. I much prefer being out and interacting with people! Or just being outside the chumba at all. We only have one main building (the chumba) here and it’s awesome and open air but we spend a lot of time in here. We eat in here. We have lectures in here. We use anything that needs to electricity in here. We ended the day with a super fun Kiswahili lesson where we watched more Kiswahili music videos.

In between classes I got to do fun relaxing activities like taking a shower and painting. I have two assignments that I could have worked on, but my computer wasn’t charged and the power was out, so I pursued other activities. ALSO today was the first day that I not only tolerated my ice cold shower but I legitimately did not mind it (which was funny because I finally got the one shower that was apparently warm but the power was out so the heater did not work at all). So, since I was able to wash my hair relatively easily I decided not to shave my head. That’ll probably disappoint the barbers I was scoping out in Kimana who were probably looking forward to 50 shillings and the endless entertainment gained by the random mzungu who was seeking a drastic haircut. Oh well.

Then we moved 2 tons of water in about 5 minutes. SFS ladies are STRONG (and efficient at moving 19 liter bottles). Also I upped my resistance today with my resistance bands. WORKIN’ OUT.

We gained all those calories back by eating s’mores and by s’mores I mean not s’mores at all. I mean, they had marshmallows but they were East African marshmallows that melted in the heat rather than catch on fire. Instead of graham crackers, we used “nice biscuits” which  are just like coconut cookie things that get soggy if they’re even in the same tupperware compartment as my sandwich. The chocolate was the best part because our student affairs manager is the BEST PERSON IN THE WORLD and shared his nutella that he brought from the States with us. So they were chocolatey and marshmallowy, which was good enough for me. We sat around the campfire and sang songs and came to terms with the fact that we are basically 30 adults at really academic extended summer camp in East Africa and it’s okay.

Speaking of academics, things are getting TOUGH but that’s okay. We’re staring our poster and gearing up for directed research already. We had probably one of the toughest academic days the other day. We were volunteering with Kenyan Wildlife Services to help out with a complete census of Amboseli National Park and it was SO INTENSE. We got to drive around off road and had a super not-official looking sign that said “Do not follow off road” on the back of our land cruiser. We got super dusty and took like 8 pages of census data that was mostly noting herds of hundreds of zebra. Then we chilled out with KWS employees and other guides at the employee cantina and watched soccer. Apparently all Maasai are Chelsea fans. One junior warrior (Maasai word: Moran) put a Chelsea jersey on over his traditional garb. He was very enthusiastic about the match.

And since we like to keep busy, after that long day we had another! Our Maasai homestay which was legitimately super awesome. My Maasai mama’s name was Jen. She was very nice to me even though I was completely helpless at every task she gave me. She was also like 6 months pregnant and a total boss at cutting firewood with a machete. She also spoke just about as much Kiswahili as I did, so there was a lot of signing and pointing and saying things in Kimaasai and trying to figure out what actually was going on. We had an incredibly long conversation about my water bottle (I think). She was apparently very concerned about my hydration status. The day was filled with lots of fun things and a ton of chai drinking. At one point I had to wrangle baby goats and I think the kids are pointing out more goats to separate from the herd just to see me try and wrangle them. I actually did pretty well with that. Cooking ugali and cabbage? Not so much.

We also exercised our neck muscles by carrying water on our head. I’m not totally sure how to describe how we carried stuff with our head, so I’ll upload a picture later this week. It’s pretty neat though. My neck was sore afterwards.

Funny parts of the day: the door to our boma was latched from the inside. Jen was not worried about this at all. She just slid her machete between the door and the wall and popped the latch open. Also, she was always asking if I wanted pictures but wasn’t too interested in taking any herself at the beginning of the day. Then she started looking through my photos, though, and she got really into them! She really liked looking at my photos from Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary, which was cool.  She found my huge collection of Guinea Fowl amusing. She also got really into taking cute photos of some baby sheep near the end of the day.

Her boma isn’t too far, so I'd love to visit her another time. I’d also like to get some of the photos of her and her daughter printed out in Nairobi next time someone drives up there so I can bring her a few. We’re also looking into inviting all the families that hosted students to camp, which logistically probably is really tough, but I would LOVE to have them. Everyone had a totally awesome family and learned a lot! I had a great day. I felt so lucky to be invited into her home for the day. I definitely hope that isn’t the last time we meet!

Cook crew tomorrow so boo... but late breakfast so yay! It's 11:40 PM. This is definitely the latest I've stayed up in a long time. I feel kind of old.

Lala salama!