"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Building Futures, Inc.

Building Futures, Inc.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I have to admit that adding pictures to the blog is much more difficult than it should be.  Sadly, for simplicity's sake, I may just add the pictures at the end.  We'll see how tired I get after today's blog.
We woke up early enough for 9am mass in Kisumu.  Normally, we would hear the mass in English, then Luo, then Kalogen, then Loya... and so on, depending on the mood (or position) of the priest.  We managed to get there just as people were filing in.  We managed to occupy almost an entire pew - Job and Isaac chose to wait outside with the van.
Although it was another cool morning, once the church filled up, it became quite warm.  The procession began as expected led off with young children dancing.  They were followed by nuns, alter servers, deacons and what I suspect were some lay people.  After correcting some microphone difficulties, the priest finally began to speak.  It was all Kiswahili.  All of it.  He threw in 5 words of English to start his homily, but that was it.  The singing was beautiful!  The church has extremely high arches like you'd expect to see in a cathedral, so the sounds echoing off the walls added a nice quality to the sound.  While the choir sung, the older women could be heard adding their commentary. It sounded like a soprano yelling "eye-eye-eye-eye-eye-eye," very fast.  I don't know how else to explain it.  The heat was beginning to get to Karen, so Andrea left with her half way through the mass.  The rest of us stuck it out.  Kevin kept looking over at me... "Is this communion?" he'd mouth to me.  "No, they're bringing up the gifts," I'd say... there were three more exchanges similar to this one before things became more recognizable.  If he didn't recognize the Our Father (yes, in Kiswahili), he certainly realized the sign of the peace.  Communion soon followed.  I had everyone grab their pack and said, "Follow me."  Sadly, they did.  We received communion, and although my plan was to stand in the back of the church so that we could exit quickly to find Andrea and Karen, it didn't quite work out that way.  They have priests handing out communion in three spots in the middle of the church, and we were between the last two.  We couldn't walk past the last priest, that would be inappropriate.  Well, apparently I thought it was acceptable to stand behind him and wait for him to finish. Thankfully, a young man led us out through the front of the church.  The cool air felt nice as we left.  I often wonder what the catholics back in the US would say about these masses... when we left, we were just passing the 80 minute mark.
We ran to Nakumat immediately.  That's the Kenyan version of Walmart.  I grabbed another modem (and hopefully a faster one), then some supplies... mostly nuts and snacks.
From there we went to the Masai Market.  Kevin and I love to haggle with the people here. It's actually a lot of fun if you don't let the hawkers get to you... and there are a lot of them.  Beatrice runs one of the first shops on the left.  I like going to her because she remembers me and gives me pretty good pricing.  We divided and conquered.  Kevin took half the crew and I took the other half.   I had a ball, and I think Kevin did, too.  It's great to see him so immersed in the culture here.  He has no problem standing and talking to just about anyone.  He really feels at home here.

We left the market with our bags full of items... most of the ones we picked out for friends were sandstone.  Note to self:  sandstone's not light.  I'll be reminded when we pack our bags for the ride home.
Kiboku Bay Resort was our next stop.  It's a really nice hotel/restaurant on the water.  The interesting thing is that this oasis is surrounded by a slum.  We did manage to see real yellow ducks - you know, like the rubber ducky that Ernie used to have?  I've never seen a live one until now.  They're like a swan in revers, though... adorable when they're little, and they're pretty unattractive when they're older.  15 minutes on a typically bumpy Kenyan road, and we arrived at the resort.  Karen/Kevin and Job started off with chocolate milkshakes.  We had guacamole for an appetizer and dinner was excellent.  Just before we were served, we asked Job if he would like to join us at Masai Mara.  Most Kenyans have never actually been to Masai Mara, and Job was there for 15 minutes last year when he traveled with a small group to the Mara to meet up with us after a connecting flight was missed.  Read the earlier blog if you want the entire story.  Regardless, I thought tears were going to begin flowing down his face.  He was so excited!  The food showed up rather quickly (most of other meals require at least an hour of waiting before we are served).  Everything from garlic shrimp to tilapia to curry beef to lasagna.  We were interrupted by a insect that bit Karen on the arm.  It must have really hurt because she flinched, yelled "ouch" and Andrea and I immediately said, are you ok?.  "No," she said.  Andrea was out of her chair before I could even push back my chair, which was good because she pulled Karen back in her chair.  Fortunately, there was no stinger.  The bite mark started to raise, so we brought her inside and put some ice on it.  About 20 minutes later she was back to normal.

We returned to the table and finished our meals.  After a quick picture of everyone, we headed back to the car to go to Kit Mikayi.

The pictures say it all.  The stones in this place are enormous!  It looks like the only way they could get there is if someone place them there. We went on a tour through the stones where we learned that warriors came hear to gain confidence, and people continue to come there for guidance, sometimes sleeping on the rocks for days.  The pictures are quite striking.  Some of the pictures that other took were pretty cool - they positioned the lens in such a way that it looked like you were holding the rock up!  Pretty neat.
As we made our way down the mountain, we were greeted by some traditional dancers who asked us to join in.  Andrea broke the ice, then the Carrs, then Isaac, then Katie and Karen, then Job.  I was the only one who sat this one out.  I participated last year, so this year I got a pass.


It was a 45 minute drive to The Peacock Guest House, closer to Maseno.  They are hoping to get our business.  It was a beautiful place when we pulled in.  They have a bar in the front and a nice seating area on the side and in the back with tables surrounded by chairs, and covered by a thatched roof.  Very "Kenyan."  The waiter came right over and said, "Thank you for coming.  We are the best!"  Well, if being the best meant it takes two hours to get your meal, they're right.  We arrived at 6:30, and got our meals at 8:30.  I don't think they've won our business.  I will say that the fried chicken was outstanding.
It was dark as we made our way home.  It's always a nerve-racking drive in the dark, and this was no exception.  We drove white-knuckled and nervous, but made it home safely.
Tomorrow's going to be a busy day.  Lala salama.

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