Wednesday, July 28, 2010

maybe last post from kenya?

July 25th

I’m back out in the mara after a few days in Nairobi and narok. I got a lot of work done over the past few days and have a lot of stuff to do now, until I leave. Then I have a lot to do when I get back. I have some really sad kids that I HAVE to find sponsors for. I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick up a brother and sister that stopped going to school, because their dad died and so they have no real means to pay for their boarding/tuition. They are both very very bright and it’s a complete waste for them to not be learning. We had to visit them, and a few others, at their village, instead of at the school. While we were there, the teacher that was with me was talking to him in Swahili and once asked him if he wanted to study in school, and he replied “sana,” meaning “very much”, while sadly looking down to the ground L.

I realized the other day how much stuff I take for granted as “normal” here. So out of my feeling of necessity to bring attention to them as amazing, I’m going to list few that I think of off the top of my head –

- The other day I took a taxi to a school that’s in the bush, and out my window I casually looked at the zebra herds grazing alongside a couple giraffes.

- Every few days I end up meeting with another elder of a community. Someone who is very important around here and I get to hear the history of Maasailand out of their mouth.

- Sitting here in our center, working on scholarship stuff, and hearing cowbells jingling all around from Maasai herding their cattle near our site.

- Having solar power out in the middle of the bush and being able to do work out here every day.

- Just spending this much time out in Kenya, in the bush, in communities with people who care so much for each other

I fly out a week from tomorrow. It’s pretty crazy how fast time has flown by here this year. The summer is almost over. Two weeks from today, I’ll have just had an amazing night at the wedding, and will be floating down a river drunk. I can’t wait :D

July 27th

I came back to narok for a couple days to finish up at the schools. I visited my last one today around noon and now to get to work on organizing it all into the database. It’s so hard, because every kid I’ve met I want to be able to tell them right then and there that I have a sponsor for them that’ll stay sponsoring them all the way through secondary school. I even wish I could just sponsor them all.

So now I’m just sitting in the hotel with nothing really to do until I get back to the mara. I could go use the internet, but I should be back in Nairobi pretty soon where it’s free. The plan for the rest of my stay is to go back to camp tomorrow (Wednesday), then stay there for a couple days, then head up to Nairobi on the 30th (Friday) to do some last minute work in the national archives for the land rights case and also just to get ready to fly out. Then I leave on the 2nd! Just 6 days from today.

Every day it gets closer to the day I get to come back and see everyone. I’ve started thinking about all the things I want to do when I get back, like where to go to eat and stuff. Things like the Chinese buffet, little Tokyo (sushi), and big truck taco! Annnnnnd I don’t know if I told everyone or not but I’m going to have a dog when I get home! Right when I get back is when the puppy’s are able to be given away from their mother, so it’ll be brand new. I can’t waaaaait. Oh ya, and I get to see you guy too…….

july 28th (today)

so i'm still in narok, there was a change in plans. I'm leaving here tomorrow morning to go back to camp in the mara, and then leaving for nairobi on the 31st or 1st. Which is good for me, because it means less days sitting in nairobi. i can't wait to see you guys, less than a week till i'm home!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

long post


So i figured i would just blog when i was bored at camp and use word and date it, then post them when i got here, so here they are.

PS. i tried to upload videos, but i don't think they're gonna make it. I'll try putting them on facebook too to see if they work better there and try them again here later.

July 9th

So I’ve been spending some time in the mara lately. Actually I’m here now, and writing this blog in Microsoft word again. Things here are great. I’m not sure who I’ve told how much so I’ll just brief everyone. The organization I’ve been working with here for 4-5 years now (MERC) has built a center out in the bush. We camped around every other year and developed relationships and proved to the people that we weren’t just another group coming in with ideas on how to save the Maasai. Just last year construction on the center started. And this year, amazingly, it’s almost finished. All that’s left is a few things with our solar electricity and the floors and furniture. The solar is pretty much done though, right now, we have enough power to keep about 10 laptops running during the day, along with all the lights inside the center. It’s pretty amazing. So now that we have more trust of the communities around us things will go a lot better for us. Over the years we’ve brought tons of books so we have a huge library in here with a huge section on land rights and indigenous rights. I didn’t bring my cord to connect my camera to my computer so I can’t take pictures and put them on the blog with that, but I’ll try to use the webcam on my computer to take some, but I’m not sure if it will work or not.

A brief rundown of the building is there are four offices, one for Meitamei, Mary (the professor from Prescott that works with MERC year round), Kaitlin (my friend here that used to go to Prescott and now TA’s for the course and also helps immensely with the work), and one office for me! There are two rooms that we have set up with table/desk things and lots of outlets that will be used by people like interns, community members in need of the material here, researchers, etc. There’s a room that we plan on creating a radio station for Maasai news and music and stuff. There’s a woman who specializes in putting radio stations out in the middle of nowhere for this very purpose. She’s supposed to come out around December to get to work on it. The biggest room is the conference/classroom. It’s a room that can hold around 40-60 people and will be used for meetings or class or other things like that. All is completely open to the public to use for their needs as well.

We’re trying to get internet here but it’s kind of tough. Right now one computer can be online at a time, and it takes like 10-20 minutes to load one page, so it’s not really practical. Hopefully we’ll get it working better soon.

We’ve only been at camp for a couple nights. Pretty soon I’m going to start heading out to schools to get more kids to put into the scholarship program and also to pay the fees of the kids that I was able to get sponsors for.

I’ve been having dreams about home a lot lately. Makes me sad and miss everyone. But I know when it’s time for me to leave I’ll be really sad to leave the people here.

July 14th,

So I finally got to go to some schools yesterday, well just one. We went to Oloototo Primary School and I got about 150 names. Now the next step is to take this list and look at it to decide which kids we’ll put into the program. We’ll have to look at the names and see which come from families that are in need of a lot of help and which ones come from families that are a lot better off. After we do that then I’ll be heading back to that school to get more information from the kids we’re going to put in the program.

I’m going to be going to Nairobi on Sunday (which is probably the day I’m posting this) so I thought when I felt like blogging, I could just write in here on word, and then post it all online at once when I’m around internet, even if it is the longest blog ever.

I remembered that I brought my little flip camera thing, and if I remember right, it has a usb thing built in so I can upload videos whenever I want. Sooooo I think later I’ll record a video tour of the center and maybe our campsite so I can let you guys see what it’s like here.

We’re heading to my favorite school, Siana Primary Boarding, on Saturday. I can’t wait to see the kids there again, and I’ll try to take some flip videos there too to post for y’all.

Three weeks from now I’ll be sitting back at home. It’s going to be great to be able to see everyone. I can’t wait.

Monday, July 5, 2010


so i wrote this while i was in amboseli just using word when i was bored one day, so i'll go ahead and post that and then give you updates on it:

Oh hi guys,

Does anyone still use these things? I guess I could check in a second but I thought I’d go ahead and write this first.

So I’m in Kenya. Having a great time as usual. My favorite part about this place becomes more and more each year getting to see familiar faces and old friends here. This place is so full of amazing people.

I haven’t taken many pictures so far this year. In fact the only time I even took my camera out of my backpack was when my family was here and we got to go on a hot-air-balloon ride to see the migration. It was probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen and heard. I probably won’t be able to put pictures up until I get home because the internet is so slow here that it would cost me a fortune. We even got to see a crossing, where the wildebeests cross the Mara river. While we were sitting there watching them leap off the cliff side into the water, we even got to see a crocodile come up and snatch one of the young ones away.

Oh! My big news from yesterday! My middle toe on my right foot was feeling kind of sore, so I looked down and saw that it was a little swollen. I pushed on it and blood squirted out! I’ve seen this before, and I’m happy to say that I’m lucky enough to have more EGGS LAID IN MY TOE! Well, actually I have a jigger in my toe right now that is in the process of laying eggs. I named him Michael. I have to let him grow a little and finish laying his eggs before I can pull him out, or I may leave some eggs behind and they’ll hatch under my toenail and be no good. So I just stare at him every day now, and cuddle him so he grows up strong. I’ll probably pull him out and kill him tomorrow though. Maybe today depending on when I wash my feet.

Hm, other than that I miss all of you so much, and can’t wait to come back in august! I might write on here again later. I think I’m heading back to Nairobi on Sunday, but who knows out here.

ok, so

sadly, the jigger turned out to be a giant blood thing that we don't know where it came from. We cut it open only to find blood :( oh well.

it's really hard for me to write about my experiences here, because i can't come close to doing them justice. There are no words to describe what it's like, to be in a maasai village, lit only by moonlight, with around 40 people standing together in a giant circle dancing and singing. The dancing and singing is so powerful. It's more than just singing a melody and doing a little swaying. The women do doing very intricate shoulder moves that cause their jewelry to bounce making a rhythmic jingling, while at the same time singing and doing other types of dances. the men do a very strong powerful lunge forward stomping on the ground in different rhythms for different songs. the singing is a very loud, almost yelling kind of singing. it's all really really hard to describe, and i'm not coming close to doing it justice. While i was dancing with them this year, i was thinking how lucky i am to get to be a part of this. I have such special bonds with these people after coming here for years and years. It's really amazing to see the difference in the first year i came and they were singing for me, and now they are singing with me.

Amboseli had it's worst drought ever for the past 4 years. It's normally the driest place in kenya, and four years absent of the little rain they do get each year was devastating. The drought ended this rainy season and the land is green now, but the drought's effects are still there. The village i go to every year lost literally all of their cows to starvation, and most all their goats and sheep. They have 3 goats and 2 sheep left. On a normal year, after sleeping in the village, we wake up in the morning and go help milk one of the 100's of goats, or apply tick medicine to some of the 100's of cows there. This year, we helped fetch some water and got to see the 5 remaining animals. It was very very sad. Kaitlin and I both took all the money we had with us and gave it to them put towards getting more cows, and plan on doing a joint fundraiser when we get back to america to get them some more of their livestock back.

the drought didn't just hurt the people, it also killed off a lot of the wildlife there. For the first time ever, the kenya wildlife service actually brought in animals like zebra wildebeest and gazelle from other areas like the maasai mara and tsavo national park. Without doing this, the lions, cheetah's, and leopards would have also starved.

i miss you guys a lot each day. When i get to see/do really cool things, i sometimes think about how i wish you guys were here to experience them with me. One day! i can't wait to see everyone in august :)