Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Today, we truly did take the day off. We didn’t have to worry about where we were going or how we were going to get there. Instead, our hostess Marta was in charge of us, as well as her two little boys, as we walked to Mugumo Park for the day.
When I was in Kenya with my daughter Val in 2017, she and I had walked there for the day when we had a “day off”. It’s a simple little kid’s park with a little essence of Africa. On my previous visit, there weren’t a lot of people around, it was very quiet and had just a few games and rides for children.
On this Sunday last month, we packed up the kids around eleven and made the hike there from the house. It’s only a little over a mile and a half away, but carrying one baby and dragging along a 3-year-old, we took longer than usual, but that’s okay.
There weren’t too many people or kids around when we first arrived. We ordered drinks and turned the boys loose.
Slowly more and more families with their kids showed up. Some in quite spectacular attire, like the two sisters in tutus or the mom and maybe 6-year-old daughter in matching dresses. I wish I could have taken pictures of all of them, but I kept snapping them of Caleb and King instead (plus I feel like a stalker taking pictures of total strangers' kids).
Eventually, for lunch, Marta ordered chips (which are really basically French fries), sausages and chicken for them, and I ordered 2 samosas, and Denise ordered her own chips.
I can’t remember what time we finally left (according to the time stamp on the pictures I took, we had to have been there over four hours). It was a long, but happy day.
Monday, October 14, 2019
Saturday morning, we rolled out of bed without a clue what we would do that day. Marta thought we should take the day off, as if we’d been working that hard during the week. She suggested we visit the Karen Blixen House and Museum in Karen. You know? The woman who wrote “Out of Africa”.
It didn’t sound like it would be too hard for us to get there. A single matatu ride to Karen, then another ride to the Museum.
We set out with the utmost in confidence.
Got to Karen on the first matatu that came our way. Then boldly found a cab to take us to the House. The driver even gave us his number, so we could have someone at the gate call him to come back when we were ready to be picked up.
Kenya Medical College, built in her honor, next door.
One last look at the house.
Back in Karen, we had lunch at ArtCaffe. I still can’t get over how good this chicken potpie and milkshake tasted. I can barely look at this picture without feeling sad that I can’t have this meal every day.
It was a great day. Us two white chicks rocked it.
Friday, October 11, 2019
Our third day in Kenya, we got to return to the house where I stayed on my previous two visits to Kenya. Marafiki’s Volunteer House in Kikuyu, about a ten-minute walk from where we were staying this time.
Not much has changed. It is still a beautiful house.
But we weren’t there to admire the surroundings.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
When we were making our plans to return to Kenya this September, I’d told our hosts some of the things we wanted to do, places we wanted to see. There was, however, never a formulated plan. Each evening, our host, Marta, would say something like, maybe tomorrow you can do such and such. And we were like, sounds good, but we’d go to bed not knowing really what we were going to do or where we were going to go or who with, not even what time any of this might happen. And this was no one’s fault; that is just how they roll in Africa. And I’ve been there enough to know that I had to roll that way as well.
The morning of our second day there, Thursday, after we’d gotten dressed, eaten breakfast and felt ready for the day, Marta asked us if we wanted to go to the hospital in Kikuyu to clean with some of the other volunteers. And could we meet them at the main drag in 45 minutes? Of course, my partner for the trip, Denise, and I got ourselves together and after a much longer than necessary hike out of our burg to the main road (I should have taken pictures), we arrived at the designated location with time to spare.
Two matatu rides later, our group arrived at the Gichuru Dispensary in Kikuyu.
Not what any of us in the US would think of as a hospital – a series of dusty cement block and tin-sided buildings, with peeling paint, screenless windows hanging open and random garbage laying around.
We washed the windows,
Picked up garbage,
And gave it our best effort at making the grounds presentable.
Until the male volunteers devised a curling match along one side of one of the buildings.
You gotta have fun sometimes, right?
Or at least make sure you come to the clinic dressed properly.
When we had done everything we could, we took a matatu back to Kikuyu town and several of us walked to Crave restaurant for lunch..
Let me zoom in to show you some of the menu. Choma is roasted meat and 1,000 KSH equals about $10.
After eating, we parted ways, so that Denise and I could get some cash at the ATM and some food supplies at Selfridges store.
Guess I'll show you a closeup of Selfridges too. It's a three-story Walmart, only with very narrow aisles and not a huge selection of brands, but it's adequate for anything we needed.
Didn’t go shopping in the Kikuyu market though. I’ve been into that market before and just – don’t know – rather shop in a real store.
We walked back to our neighborhood of Kidfarmaco and I once again got us lost. I just needed a short rest.It was, I believe, the last day that we got lost, though, so I don’t think we did too bad.