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Weekly Wrap Up #5

April 1, 2010
    As it is April 1st and hence the much beloved and much chagrined April Fools Day, I felt as though I should post something ridiculous and shocking. So I decided that the truth of Kenya, being consistently stranger than fiction, would do just fine! So here are my Weekly Wrap Up/April Fools Truths/General Observations and Witty Remarks…

  1.  Tomorrow – I am going to the RAINFOREST! (Hence why this post is a day early.) I expect to be hanging out with Colobus and Red-Tailed Monkeys on Easter. Who needs a bunny rabbit when you have creatures that look like this and this?!
  2. To me, there is just something rather ironic about my Kenyan coworkers listening to music from the Lion King soundtrack – since the Lion King was based on a safari in Kenya.
  3. Speaking of the Lion King, remember the overly used phrase “Hakuna Matata… means no worries… for the rest of your days…lalala.” Well, I am here to inform the masses not to get “Matatu” (crazy bus thing) mixed up with “Matata” (worries)- there are plenty of worries on a matatu!
  4. In attempting to eat a passion fruit on Tuesday (see the dissection of a passion here) I discovered that if you squeeze the fruit to hard, you have a lovely experience coined “Passion Shower”. No, not a steamy love scene, but rather, the guts of the passion fruit exploding on you. Frankly, it looks like snot but tastes way better!
  5. One of the nice things about living in a third world country where everything moves slower and there’s not a lot to distract, is that this is lots of down time. I’ve already finished 3 job applications, read 7 and a half books, written letters, and drawn random stuff in my sketch book.
  6. To the women of Africa – I applaud you for your strength.  Baby strollers would be a complete farce here, especially given the rocky mud roads, so mothers carry their little ones – on their backs, fronts, sides – usually with nothing more than a large piece of cloth to tie them up in. In fact, the word for “to carry” is “-beba” which is quite similar to baby!
  7. Children here are expected to be much more self-reliant and independent than the coddled youngsters we have in the states. It’s not surprising to see several children (as young as 4 or 5) walking the streets of Kakamega alone each day.
  8. Marijuana and other substances, like in many countries, is illegal here. That didn’t seem to stop the guy walking in front of me from smoking a joint at 7:30 am on the way to work. “The best part of waking up… is marijuana in your cup…?”
  9. Morning “traffic” headaches in Kakamega consist of the frustration of not being able to cross the road as a pedestrian.
  10. Despite being here for over 5 weeks, I’m still amazed at how WHITE I am!
  11. In any foreign country, there are certain words which mean one thing to an American and something different to a Kenyan. For instance, what we would call “Plastic bags” are what Kenyans refer to as “paper bags” and our idea of “flip flops” what they would consider “slippers”. On a related note, I don’t think there is any way the fuzzy shoe things we call slippers would survive here – too much dirt!
  12. One night this week I woke up to a scratching, shuffling, shifting sound… and then I realized that one of the house rats must have made it into my room. I figured out that it wasn’t in my bed, listened to it chew and squeak for a while, then peacefully drifted off to sleep again. Talk about a lack of squeamishness.
  13. In case of rain and lack of umbrella, wear a bag on your head. This protects you.
  14. Meat is very different here. If you want chicken, you either buy one live and slaughter it yourself – or buy it dead, but whole (and I mean, complete with feathers and feet.) Fish I’ve only seen as whole roasted along the sides of the street – I don’t know if you can get them fresh. And beef is sold out of kiosks… you can generally see the whole cow hanging up and then you request what parts you want off of it. Tasty, tasty, unrefrigerated “murder” :- )
  15. I was clean – for about 15 minutes this morning… then I got splattered with mud. So typical.
  16. My coworkers learned of a valuable American tradition today – Easter candy! They each got a card and a chocolate bar on their desks from the Erin-Bunny.
  17. I haven’t gotten called mzungu or Obama yet this week… the tan must be finally working!
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