By carefully observing my friend Tony and his sartorial habits I was able to pull this off.
I had noticed we had the same shirt, and I caught on to the fact that this shirt seemed to make it to the top of his choices on Mondays or Tuesdays. And so with great strategy this last Monday, I finally managed to come into work dressed as Tony. These are great times on the Internal Medicine service at Kijabe Hospital. (I think I need a life!)
When you find rodents in the house, the obvious next step is . . . an investment in the future.
Its not a baby. We watched one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies the other night, The Big Year. Its about birding. Then a few days later I saw on the internet that May 4th would be a Global Big Day where people all over the world would go out and see as many birds as they could in one long day of collective effort. Our family was motivated. We saw a few, but being novices it was some work. However, it is good to put a name to some of these birds we are seeing around the neighborhood. (These are not my photos; they all came of the www.ebird.org website.)
Winner for the loudest bird. The Hadada Ibis. They always come in pairs and make a loud squawking cry when disturbed.
The most majestic. The African Harrier Hawk. The pair of them have a large 3-4 foot wide nest in a huge tree just outside our yard. They have one of the most persistent whistling cries.
The cutest. The Red-billed Firefinch. These are tiny and could easily sit on your pinkie finger.
The one that shimmers with iridescence. The White-fronted Bee-Eater
The one with the coolest nest. The Baglafecht Weaver. They make hanging nests that look like gourds. Just outside the hospital there are probably 10 nests hanging in one tree and the air is full of these birds in the morning when I walk in.
The most black and white? The Chin-spot Batis.
It can hit you hard sometimes, especially on a bike. I have only been on my bike a few times since I returned to Kenya from our Christmas in the US. Each time I go home I gain a few pounds (maybe a lot of pounds). I cannot resist Mexican food and hamburgers. But usually when I get back I drop 10 pounds just because of the setting. I had accomplished the weight gain in the last trip, but for some reason the weight loss was not following our arrival to Kijabe. I did not want to ride my bike because it is so much harder to pull this weight up the long hills. If I could just lose a few, then the bike ride would be more fun. And so I kept delaying. But last weekend a friend sent out a text saying they were going to ride Awesome Sauce, probably my favorite ride in Kijabe. I could not resist the invitation. I joined them at the local dukas, and we headed up the first steep hill by the waterfall. I began in the front, but ended the climb at the rear. I quickly came to the front in the next two downhills, but then came the next very steep climb. My heart began to beat out of my chest, the sweat of my head turned icy, and the world became smaller and less stable. I couldn’t do it. I hopped off my bike to push up the hill as I soberly realized I was not going to be able to make the ride. I called ahead to my friend who was already out of sight and said I was turning back. David graciously accompanied me on a return trip with some great downhills, but with none of the excitement of Awesome Sauce. Getting older can be great in some ways, but physically it can hit hard. There is a lesson in here somewhere. It probably is that you should exercise regularly and watch your weight.
It’s 2:08 on Easter Sunday and the beautiful African choruses of the church across the way are wafting in through our open windows. It’s like having our own Paul Simon Graceland concert. Only really African.
We had a nice bit of cloud coverage for our Easter school picnic, the first clouds it seems like we’ve seen for weeks. I read the other day that Kenya is experiencing its worst drought in 38 years. Here on the mountainside and near the valley it is not as bad, but many in northern and western Kenya are struggling to survive. Last year it was the longest rainy season in a several years and now this drought. Here in Kenya, they have the “short rains” in November and December and the “long rains” from April through June. The whole time the temperature is an average of 68 degrees or so. It is a wonderful place to live, if you’re looking for a place to minister. Or if you want to come visit, read here.
Last night something funny happened that I thought was worth blogging about. We have a hospital station Whatsapp group that reports happenings around here. Recently, a couple of people have reported a clan of hyenas wandering around the outskirts of our complex. (Our compound is not fenced off and so we have all sorts of things drifting through—ne’er do wells, baboons, wild dogs, and now, hyenas). Our dog Chardonnay was barking a different and more insistent bark than usual in the middle of the night. Usually we can tie her leash to the back gate and she will be quiet, but last night, no such luck. I went out to check on her and from inside the house I could hear this high-pitched dog yapping or laughing sound. It sounded like cats? No. Monkeys? No. Puppies? Maybe, but different. I opened the door and Chardy was pulling hard on her leash, barking her most vehement bark. Crazily, I considered, “Is the hyena pack barking back?” All the neighborhood dogs were going crazy. I pulled our guard dog into the house and told Will that I may have heard hyenas. He laughed and opened the window to listen. He was convinced that it was just a dog or two. Even if it was, isn’t it surreal that hyena laughing was even on the table? Just in case we forgot that we live in Africa!
After a very hard week in the ICU that still isn’t done, a hike down the escarpment is good for the soul.