16 December 2019

Feeling restless from the rain, #3 - A wonderful (wet) get-away at a wood cabin near the Aberdares (part 2)

Such a stunning view from the cabin!

Brilliant Lord, I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings.
    Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
~ Psalm 8, Message

The view across this vast valley changed constantly and was always a wonder to behold!

You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
made us lords of sheep and cattle.
God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world.
~ Psalm 8, Message

I truly love wildflowers and try to do my best photographing them.

The leaf does not immediately absorb the drop of water falling on it.
She slowly drinks with great pleasure!
~ Mehmet Murat ildan (1965- ), Turkish novelist

Just a few hours after arriving back home at Ngong town, I received the news that my brother, Greg, had passed away. I'm so grateful for the 48 hours I had at this cabin near the Aberdares, in such a serene setting. And then suddenly - in another 48 hours - I was on a plane heading back to the States. It's been said that 'life can turn on a dime'; it is certainly true that circumstances can change very quickly.

I believe the silence and solitude at the cabin prepared me for hearing about Greg. He also loved camping and actually owned a cabin for many years. In hindsight, it all seemed very fitting to me... almost as if God had arranged it all like that :)

I would very much love to stay here again!

12 December 2019

Feeling restless from the rain, #3 - A wonderful (wet) get-away at a wood cabin near the Aberdares (part 1)

As one who craves silence and solitude, I was thrilled with my 'home' for a splendid 48 hours!

After a precarious trip, I was happy to no longer be moving in the rain and mud!

In this video (less than a minute long), I narrate just some of the struggles to get to this place. Whew!

I grew up camping and also raised my kids camping (in tents actually, rather than cabins). I still absolutely love it!

Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers.
They don’t fuss with their appearance. 
Have you ever seen color and design quite like it? 
Luke 12, Message

The sky was stunning the whole time I was here!

[see part two here]

10 December 2019

Feeling restless from all the rain, #2 - An unexpected lift in a lorry, and grabbing a GeoCache in Naivasha

It's not unusual to see zebra, baboons, and Thompson gazelles along this stretch of the highway

Zachary (see my previous post, #1) waited with me at the highway for a long time. Finally I got a lift... and unexpectedly it was a lorry that pulled over for me. Ha! It is not easy to climb up into the cab of a truck.

As we headed on down the road, I really enjoyed watching the scenery from a higher vantage point. That's at least the fourth time in Kenya when I've unexpectedly gotten a lift from the driver of a lorry (British term for a large truck).

The 'turn boy' kept his eye on the rear-view mirror making sure their cargo was okay

People often throw food and trash out of the car windows, which is why baboons like to hang out along the highway

Kenya (like much of the world) follows the British style of driving on the left side of the road.
It's not unusual in Kenya for people to walk right beside a highway, as you can see in this photo.


In this brief video, watch how dangerously close people pass one another on the highway. Yikes!

Once we reached Naivasha, I gave the driver 300-bob ($3), climbed down out of the lorry, and found a 'boda boda' (motorbike taxi) to take me to Lake Naivasha Country Club. Fortunately it had stopped raining, because I wanted to avenge a previous 'did not find' for a GeoCache hidden on this lovely garden area next to the lake. As I entered the property, I walked among wild zebra and many beautiful Waterbuck.

I discovered the cache near Lake Naivasha, and was happy to log it as 'found' this time! Once I was finished at the lodge, I hopped back on the boda boda's motorbike and had him take me to a really nice and reasonably priced guesthouse for the night.

Kenya is indeed a fascinating country in many regards. I hope you enjoy my various experiences.

08 December 2019

Feeling restless from all the rain, #1 - Lake Elementaita, enjoying a hike, bird watching, and GeoCaching

Lake Elementaita, viewed from a spot between the lake and the lodge

An old ox-wagon formerly used by Egerton Cole, now preserved at Lake Elementaita Lodge 

Galbraith Lowry Egerton Cole (1881-1929) was a pioneer settler and farmer of the East Africa Protectorate. Cole's widow had this obelisk erected near where his remains were buried, but sadly the marker was stolen many years ago. Part of Cole's Kekopey Ranch at Lake Elementaita has been preserved as the Lake Elementaita Lodge.

Because it had been raining in most of the country for weeks, I had no idea if my trip would succeed. But I was feeling somewhat restless and thought a GeoCache adventure just might do me some good.  

After a quick 'chai na mandazi' (tea and fried bread) at my favorite spot, Noma, I walked to the Nakuru stage. Sure enough it started to rain - - ugh. But I kept my fingers crossed and two hours later, shortly before I reached the stage near Lake Elementaita Lodge, the rain had stopped. Needless to say, I was quite pleased!

When I arrived at the lodge, Zachary volunteered to escort me around the property and even all the way down to the lake. He wasn't familiar with GeoCaching, but caught on quickly. One of the GeoCaches I was looking for was no longer at its hiding place, so we re-hid a new one. We succeeded in finding all four in the area.

After leaving the small forest, we headed down to the lake, where I discovered Zachary is very knowledgeable about birds.
The fascinating hill on the left is called 'The Sleeping Maasai'

Because Zachary is a well-read and knowledgeable bird guide, I really enjoyed our time together. We managed to find a dry spot just near the lake's edge and spotted all ten of these birds, as he told me about their various characteristics:

The Greater and Lesser Flamingo, African Spoonbill, Cattle Egret, Great White Pelican, Great Cormorant, Egyptian Goose, Black-Winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, and Black Smith Plover.

It was quite a climb up from the lake to the higher plain, but Zachary kept a quick pace trying to avoid the nearby rain.

I did my best to keep up with him, and we got back to the lodge just minutes before the rain came!

07 December 2019

A few random shots of everyday life in Kenya

Two guys head to work; one carries the mannequins and the other carries used ladies' clothing to sell.
They'll find a spot outdoors under the sun and alongside the road, hoping to earn a few coins during their day.

I happened upon these two Maasai guys, out selling fresh honey (including pieces of honeycomb).
They'll spend the whole day walking along the road looking for customers, also in an effort to earn a few coins.

Road work continues just down the hill from where I live

I stopped to chat with these guys one day. They appreciate their job but don't get paid very much for a 12-hour shift, 6 days a week.

- - - - - 

African continent painted on the wall of a school in Nairobi

One of the classrooms at the school

A friend of mine invited me to this presentation on the other side of Nairobi. A company called Huru ('freedom') provides teaching sessions on menstrual cycles at various schools. Each girl is given a kit for their menstrual cycle, which includes three reusable pads.

65% of women and girls in Kenya cannot afford menstrual pads. Because of this, many girls end up skipping school 3-4 days every month. This has serious personal and educational consequences, like falling behind in class, dropping out altogether, or having to use unsafe substitutes for pads. I was happy to learn about Huru and impressed with the presentation and their product. I hope to buy some of the kits for my friends.

These ladies prepared lunch for those of us who attended Huru's presentation.

My friend, Mukumo, really enjoyed the chapati, nice and warm right off the fire.

 - - - - -

One day I arrived in town very early so I could meet Masudi at his new hotel job.

This is Baba Shari, holding his newborn baby, their second daughter in the family.
He's filling in at his wife's duka (small shop), while she gets some rest.
I often walk the short distance from my house to buy staple items from Mama Shari.

30 October 2019

Cows at church, plus a butcher, a rainbow, and a mushroom farmer - a photo gallery for your enjoyment

Cattle graze at a church 

Cattle graze at a small road-side market area

I bought some beef from this friendly butcher at Kabimoi; he's the guardian of one of Dimi's GeoCaches

I watched this rainbow for quite a while, as we bounced along on the highway in a matatu

Dimi, a mushroom farmer, is a good friend of mine. He likes GeoCaching just like me!

Gorgeous acacia trees, spotted while we hunted for another one of Dimi's GeoCaches

A beautiful wheat field

Curio shops alongside the highway on the escarpment, overlooking the Great Rift Valley

Fruit and vegetables available alongside the highway

Cow and sheep hides for sale, alongside the highway, plus ready-made hats

29 October 2019

Another trip upcountry: Eldoret, Kakamega, Malava, Kocholia, Bungoma, Soy Sambu, and Mtoni

Duane will start Class 8 next year and Zach will be in Class 5.

I always enjoy my many trips to the various villages where my friends live. This trip included three families and a missionary friend. It takes some effort and can be tiring, but in the end it's worth it!

Adu finishes Form Four this month, with the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams, completing high school.

Agnes and Linet were happy to see each other again

We stopped by to visit Elaine in the Malava area. It was wonderful to see her again!

Farmers taking sugar cane to the factory

Back: Nathan, Alice (his wife), Sammy (son), Deb (daughter), and Laban (son)
Front: niece to Alice, Clinton (son), Levis (son), and another niece

Five of their six children: Deb, Sammy, Laban (1st born), Levis, and Clinton (Bravis was grazing the cattle)

Nathan has been raising pigs for a few years now

Getting a lift with Nathan on his motorbike

This is Kahawa market, near where my mud hut used to be. When I turned my camera to the left, it was because a bicycle fundi used to repair my bicycle a few times here; in fact, I noticed various bicycle parts and tools lying there. Such great memories for me!

We also visited Ken, Joan, and their young girls. We had a wonderful discussion about spirituality as we ate lunch.