Traffic Kenya Style

There is a rally in Naivasha this weekend. Everyone wants to go, but after seeing the video below, I think I one of the those who does not want to pay the price to see the race. The second video is a bit of information about the race. When traffic gets stopped in Kenya it is a free for all and everyone goes wherever they see an opening no matter if it is in the oncoming traffic lane or in the appropriate direction. It can be on the median or the service road or over the field next to the road. One time a group of students from Nairobi to Kijabe got stuck in traffic for 8 hours. That trip is usually around 2 hours maximum. Ouch!

What You Might Find Surprising

Today it was 48 degrees outside when I woke up. Yesterday the thermometer said 45! It is winter time in Kijabe. We are barely south of the equator, and yet by some miracle of altitude and weather patterns we are always temperate. And currently it is cold. It is not “USA winter” cold, but chilly nonetheless. As I walked to the hospital yesterday I marveled at the temperature. It felt like the first true autumn chill in Texas. And it stayed cool and cloudy all day. I came home and built a fire at about 4:30 PM (the fireplace is the house heater), and at just that moment the sun came out. (Typical timing. It is like when the power goes out. Just as I get all the candles and lanterns gathered and lit, the lights will come back on.) Despite the sunlight, the outdoor temperature did not warm much, and as the sun set over the valley the autumn chill returned. This time of year the girls wake up in the morning and the first thing they seek is the space heater. In the evening everyone gathers around the fireplace, sitting in camp chairs to be close to it. It is good for family bonding although it can get a bit crowded. I think we will all enjoy the hot summer in Texas when we fly home for a short visit in July! Time by the grandparents pool with the hot sun on our faces. We’ll see some of you soon!

Local Leapord

A visitor to Kijabe was coming up the local road when a leopard jumped on the road in front of their car. They slowed down and despite the its camouflage were able to get it on video. As I walked by this spot yesterday with my dogs, I took my headphones out of my ears and kept a better lookout than usual. Today riding bikes with David, we blew by it quickly. It is very cool to have a leopard nearby. We have baboons, hyenas, and now leopards right around Kijabe. A bike ride away I have seen elephant droppings in the forest. If you go down to the valley there are all sorts of grazing animals like giraffe, buffalos, and zebras. When we camp by the lake, sometimes the hippos come It does not feel wild around here, but we certainly have a lot of wild animals.

The map from yesterday’s bike ride. The arrow is where the leopard video from below was taken.

Driving on Small Rural Roads . . .

. . . you might be surprised when rounding a corner, come to a complete stop, and then grab your camera! I know this is just a normal thing for people who have grown up here, although even Kenyans generally get excited when they see the big animals up close. However for a kid from Oklahoma, these sightings are always exceptional.

Strava Fun Africa Moment

I went on a long hike this week. I am not a runner. I have been a cycler in the past. Currently I am a walker. Few exercises are more enjoyable than a long walk with a good podcast or book. This one was long . . . almost 8 miles and 1500 feet in elevation gain. You can see small out and back spurs from the main road when I followed untravelled trails that ended up being dead ends. The best part was an “Africa” moment. As I crossed a creek my older dog went running and barking around a bend. I came around the corner and saw what I suspected I might see. On the small cliffs and trees over the creek were a troop of baboons. It looked like a what a zoo might create in the baboon cage mimicking an African setting. A small river with cliffs and trees and baboons. It was a little far for a good iPhone picture, but take my word for it that it was awesome.

Mediterranean feasting

Eighteen months ago, pre-Covid, our family went to Egypt. It was fantastic and exciting and dusty and historical. We came home very enthusiastic about Mediterranean food. Since then, I crave pitas and creamy cucumber salads. I thought I would share some excellent recipes in case you would like to make a Mediterranean feast and in that way share a meal with us.

Shakshuka: who knew that eggs poached in tomato sauce could be so satisfying? It’s the feta cheese that makes this special.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014721-shakshuka-with-feta

Pitas: If you use allrecipes.com, you might already be acquainted with Chef John. These are a terrific texture.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/232719/chef-johns-pita-bread/

Hummus: I modify this recipe a little (less tahini), but I like the very specific instructions.

https://cookieandkate.com/best-hummus-recipe/

Orzo salad: Giada has so many tasty pasta recipes. The addition of mint makes this one fun for Mediterranean night. I usually leave out the garbanzo beans and add a cheese, either mozzarella or feta.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/orzo-salad-recipe-1944175

Cucumber: I love tzatziki, but it’s a bit of work. This salad is also popular at our house.

https://www.littlebroken.com/greek-cucumber-salad/

Here is David, looking cool and getting ready to chow down.

On being an extractor fan

One of the things that has given me the most pleasure in this last week is our new “ceiling extractor fan” as the box identified it. We have a (previously) white, all-tile bathroom at the front of the house that never dries out in the rainy season. It just stays a moist, humid, moldy place to get clean every day. Think of an unfinished basement with a bit of septic tank thrown in but right next to your front door. We have always had a plan to remodel it, but after nearly four years, no remodeling has taken place. So three weeks ago I made the drastic step to hunt down a fan in Nairobi and last week a couple of kindly Kenyans installed it.

The extractor fan is changing the atmosphere in the bathroom! There is no more funky smell. The mildew and mold are drying up. The towels are dried in between showers.

One morning I was thinking, “I want to be as healing and as effective as this fan.” Then I realized that God’s grace is like that fan. There are still disgusting, unpleasant things that we do and that are done to us. There is still the daily dousing that can propagate mold and bacteria, spiritually speaking, but God’s grace can keep us cleaned up, can heal what hurts, what causes smelliness and damage. I am a really good receiver of grace but I desire to be a better giver of grace. Only then can I absorb the sin, unkindness, lack of respect, and ignorance of those around me. Only as I extend the grace I have been given can I make the world a cleaner, brighter place. Just like our bathroom fan.

Our new ceiling extractor fan in the roof of our shower. That is our “widow maker” hot water heater on the wall in which water runs through an electrical heating element. So far no shocks although I have felt buzzing in the metal water pipe.

We Chose This Too

We were stuck out on the lake for an extended period because a hippo came and hung out where we bring our boats ashore. He eventually moved on, but too late to avoid some pretty painful sunburns.