18 September 2014

6 days, 4 lads - Camping at Olorgesailie in Maasailand, day two


100 years from now, it won’t matter what my bank account was, 
the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove.
But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
~ Forest E. Whitcraft


Enjoying a few moments of solitude before the boys wake up

I just met Jack (gray sweatshirt) recently. He's a neighbor of mine at my new house (since late March). But I've known Jeremy, Derrick and Jim for over 12 years and have watched them grow up. Jeremy (blue sweatshirt with stripes on the sleeves) was a baby in his mom's arms when I met him.

The guys spent six days with me during their August school holiday. We had a wonderful time together!
One of the highlights was camping at Olorgesailie.

Derrick really enjoyed cooking his own eggs for breakfast!


Fetching water

Such beautiful landscapes!


The campsite is basically in the middle of nowhere! We walked for 90 minutes to reach the nearest village market, Ol Petesi.

Once there, we waited another 90 minutes for a vehicle going our direction. You can see from the fact that we're walking right on the highway, that there isn't much traffic!



 The termite is small but it creates an enormous anthill behind which animals hide.
~ Ghanaian proverb


At long last, we arrive at Ol Petesi

After our 90-minute wait for a vehicle, finally a lorry arrived. One of the guys jumped out of the cab and announced, 'Kiserian'. I hopped up off the large stone I was sitting on and asked, 'How much?'

With an answer of '150-bob each' ($1.75), I didn't hesitate one second at this chance and told the boys, 'Come on! We've got a lift!'

They sat in the back with a few other passengers and huge piles of mangos and watermelon. I squeezed in the cab with three other people.

In spite of the less-than-ideal ride and the horribly rough road, we were happy to be on our way home after our wonderful adventure!

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17 September 2014

6 days, 4 lads - Camping at Olorgesailie in Maasailand, day one


100 years from now, it won’t matter what my bank account was, 
the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove.
But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
~ Forest E. Whitcraft


Derrick and Jim cooking hot dogs for lunch

Jeremy and Jack doing the dishes

My 'deluxe' banda, with Ol Petesi in the background

The boys in front of their 'standard' banda - Jack, Jeremy, Derrick, and Jim

I just met Jack (sweatshirt) recently. He's a neighbor of mine at my new house (since late March). But I've known Jeremy, Derrick and Jim over 12 years and have watched them grow up. In fact, Jeremy (in the striped shirt) was a baby in his mom's arms when I met him.

The guys spent six days with me during their August school holiday. We had a wonderful time together!
One of the highlights was camping at Olorgesailie in Maasailand.



Evening meal

It isn't really camping unless you make s'mores!
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16 September 2014

6 days, 4 lads - Hiking Ngong Hills and flying kites over the Great Rift Valley


100 years from now, it won’t matter what my bank account was, 
the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove.
But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
~ Forest E. Whitcraft


Trying to spot downtown Nairobi's skyline, through the haze

I just met Jack (green shirt) recently. He's a neighbor of mine at my new house (since late March). But I've known Jeremy, Derrick and Jim over 12 years and have watched them grow up. Jeremy (in the striped shirt) was a baby in his mom's arms when I met him!



Hanging out with a flock of grazing sheep


The guys spent six days with me during their August school holiday. We had a wonderful time together!
One of the highlights was hiking up to Ngong Hills with a sack lunch.

We've tried flying kites at Uhuru Park (in downtown Nairobi) numerous times while picnicking.
However, the wind is too light and very unstable... to say nothing of the trees there.


But up on the hills, overlooking the spectacular Great Rift Valley, proved to be a perfect place to fly kites.
In fact, we didn't do as much hiking as I had expected.

For a full two hours, the boys were quite engrossed in the challenge of keeping up their kites.
Of course, there were many interruptions to make repairs, untangle the strings, etc. But that's all part of it.

The valley is over 2,000 feet below where we were.



We all agreed that we must do it again. It was so much fun and you just can't beat that view!

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10 September 2014

A very colorful Maasai wedding, at Ilkiloret in Maasailand 'bush'

Some of the wedding party

Rebekah, the bride, got ready in her mother's manyatta


James and Rebekah were united 10 years ago in a traditional Maasai ceremony and now have three children. But because James is a pastor in the community, they decided to now formalize their marriage with a Christian ceremony.

Rebekah, followed by her maid-of-honor, and James, followed by his best man.
It's common in Kenya for the woman to walk behind the husband.

A cluster of Maasai homes

Anytime you're in Maasailand, you'll see livestock kicking up dust - either goats or cattle.

Venue for the reception

Typical Maasai home, called a 'manyatta', made out of sticks, mud, and cow dung

Grace, in the foreground, owns a tailoring shop in Ngong town. They designed and made the clothes for the
entire wedding party and also my blouse. Jessica and I got a lift with her to the wedding.

There wasn't enough room for everyone inside the church

Grace with the mother-in-law and grandmother of Rebekah

Typical way Maasai men dress

Rebekah's grandmother is almost blind

Jessica and Rebekah's father wait to be served lunch, which included a lot of 'mbuzi' (goat meat).

With my friend, Jessica

Jessica, a friend of mine from church, invited me to join her for the wedding. She's a friend of James and Rebekah. We got there early and helped decorate the church and the reception area.

Including the rough and dusty ride to and from the venue, it was a tiring 12-hour day. But I'm glad I had the opportunity to attend. I love the barren landscapes of Maasailand and I admire the way the Maasai have held onto their traditions.

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08 September 2014

Humans of New York / UN World Tour 2014 / Some of Brandon's photos from Kenya / #2

Nairobi

When they don't think I'm watching, they do the funniest things. They are always dancing together. I found them in the kitchen yesterday, pretending to cook.

"What's your greatest worry as a parent?"

Their health. They're always getting sick from the cold and the dust. Sometimes the dust gets so bad, they lose their voices.


Nairobi



I want to be a pilot.

"What will be the hardest part about being a pilot?"

When the plane crashes.


Nairobi



I want to be a lawyer.

Nairobi



She gives lots of kisses when she comes home from school.

Nairobi



Camera shy


Nairobi



Even if you punish her, she's singing two minutes later.

Nairobi

"What surprised you most about being a parent?"

The feeling of being called 'Dad'. It's the best feeling on earth.

The first time my daughter called me 'Dad', we were playing hide and go seek. I was pretending that I couldn't find her, and I kept searching and searching, until finally she screamed: 'Dad!'
It almost made me cry. It made me feel like Superman.


Nairobi




On the closing day of school, they chose him to be the presenter at the awards ceremony. He got up and sang 'The Wind Beneath My Wings'.

"Did you cry?"

Of course I did.












[Photos and stories borrowed from Humans of New York blog.]