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Weekly Wrap Up #3

March 19, 2010

General Observations and Witty Remarks:

  1. Landfills don’t seem to be common in Western Kenya, so most of the trash gets thrown in the back alleys and burned in the morning. My observation: Burning trash smells terrible.
  2. It’s not uncommon for me to be called “madam” or “sister” by someone passing on the street.
  3. I have found that walking to and from work is the best time for observation and reflections. While a car would be nice for speed and ease… walking has some definite advantages in KK.
  4. The Kenyan equivalent of British crumpets or American doughnuts? CHAPATI!!
  5. If I manage not to leave town until about 6pm, I inevitably end up passing several groups of High School boys on the way home. Also as inevitably, one bold one will say hi to me – it’s funny to respond and look at them – the whole group starts swooning and giggling!! (I got asked for my “info” by one guy this week haha).
  6. Although I have seen a lawn mower or two in Kenya, grass cutting is often done with nothing more than a machete. It is absolutely entrancing to watch… and the end result is actually rather even and nice looking.
  7. On Thursday, I saw 4 mzungus on the way to work – SO strange!
  8. Without rain, the city has been covered in smoke and dust for the last couple of days. This was compounded by the outdoor market (made primarily of wood and thatch) catching fire on Wednesday. I’m rather tired of having to hold my breath through thick clouds of smoke – Come on RAIN!
  9. I was in Nakumatt enjoying the Western-ness on Wednesday after a very FRUSTRATING day where nothing seemed to work and no one in the office remotely knew what to do with their computers. My boss told me I should go take a walk and get away from the stress for a while, so I went the mile and a half (ish) to Nakumatt and walked up and down every aisle until I felt better (I even caressed a few of the refrigerator displays – it’s so so hot here).  While perusing the ice cream section, I ran into another mzungu – and naturally, because we were both white and spoke English, we struck up a conversation. I later saw him on the other side of town with his 4 or 5 African children. I think I’ll probably know every mzungu that lives in KK by the time I leave.
  10. I’ve learned to move slower here – walk slower behind people in the streets, eat slower, sit longer. But I’m still having trouble moving slower at work. I even got… well, not exactly reprimanded, but my boss thought that I didn’t like it at work because I actually worked so hard during the first week. Thus, this second week, I have been countless hours sitting…. And it’s kind of driving me nuts.
  11. There aren’t many sidewalks in Kakamega. Instead, there are sides of the street where people walk.
  12. I want to take pictures of so many things, but it’s dangerous to flaunt wealth (i.e. pull out a camera) for a mzungu who everyone looks at anyway. I’m going to have to find a way to be a sneaky picture taker.
  13. The leaves on the side of the road are brown… but not because they’re dead – because they’re covered with so much dust!
  14. Yesterday, I couldn’t find the shoes I wanted to wear to work. I searched high and low – figuring I might have lost my mind. Came to find out that they were simply drying outside because my mama had washed them for me – so awesome.
  15. Spiders in the bathroom are not only allowed to be there – they’re welcomed. I think this has to do with the chance that a spider will bite you and be deadly vs. the chance that a mosquito will bite you and give you malaria. Spiders win every time.
  16. The kids in the villages are much cooler be around – they see less wazungu (plural of mzungu) than the kids in KK Town do, so they’re more willing to talk to me.
  17. I had a nightmare that they made me leave my current home stay and go live with ex-patriot mzungus. It made me very sad. This nightmare brought to you by mefloquine.
  18. Unless I consciously remind myself to look in the mirror in the bathroom at work, I can go days without seeing myself.  Totally brings a whole new meaning to not being high-maintenance and to the West’s pre-occupation with looks and self.
  19. They’re currently deciding on a new constitution for Kenya – I hope to write more about this later too – but last I heard, there were a proposed 415 amendments… already.  Yikes!

Quote of the week (said to me):  You explode with happy

Quote #2 of the week (said by Nick to a little boy): My skin’s not going to change color if you keep starting at it.  (That is, unless he stands by a dirt road for a while… then it might actually start turning brown!)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    March 19, 2010 4:45 pm

    Okay, so some good southern parallels to Kakamega!
    1. Remember the time the landfill in west Knoxville that was illegal caught on fire and they couln’t figure out how to put it out for weeks!
    3. “Keep walking, but you won’t knock down our wall”
    4. Can anyone say Krispy Kreme run – brings a whole new meaning to KK!
    5. No robbing the cradle!
    6. Bet you won’t see a machete pulling a boat home from the airport!
    8. Can’t tell you how happy I’d be if the clouds went to Kenya for the next 2 weeks!
    10. When I visited NYC with Susan I had the exact opposite problem – had to always move faster!
    13. The brown leaves…yea, just think of our cars in a few weeks when they will be covered with PINE POLLEN!!!
    14. That is so sweet/cool/awsome…go mama!
    15. As long as you stay away from the Monkeys!
    18. You are naturally gorgeous!
    19. Sounds like the health bill here!
    Have a great weekend!! HAPPY FRIDAY!

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