All About Kenya
PARADISE: The Hereafter is right here after we awaken to what's here. Travel by word and picture through the hills, mountains, valleys, plains, & tea fields of a place that could truly be paradise. If you are seeking the ideal vacation or retreat location, consult these pages often. Read and learn about the culture and history of Kenya. Here, you will see & read of the beauty that I saw & felt from the people & from the land. All photographs by Sophia Asaviour.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, October 12, 2009
I have not had the opportunity to return to Kenya in nearly two years. Organizational affairs here in the States have kept me from returning. I have often been sad to tears. Yet, there is a reason why I seem to be held here. After all, when I consider the volume of work and the opportunities I have had to spread words about the work there and raise funds for the work. I would not have been able to conduct as much business nor provide as much assistance had I been there instead of here.
In the aftermath of the election violence and the effects of the continuing drought, my associates have required much and I have done as much as I was able both personally and organizationally.
Some have commented to me over the years about the Kenyan politics, culture, and their elite. Yes, the Kenyan elite is probably no different from the elite everywhere. But, when I stayed in Kenya, it was my pleasure to have several different types of experiences over the months:
1 - the friend I knew before I came to Kenya, met me at the airport and we rode for 10 or so miles west of the airport. When I arrived it was evening and by the time we were in the surrounding areas to the house it was too dark to see very much. In the morning, I found that I was inside a small compound that was walled off. I could hear birds and other small animals outside my window but I could not see anyting but the birds. Near the front of the compound, there were all types of parked cars, car parts and even a cow, chickens, and other small animals. Additionally, there were people who lived in what appeared to be a small shack in that area. However, the area where my friend's home was very nice with a large back yard and very nice appointments within the house. I had noticed a fireplace, but I had yet to find out what it was for. Full kitchen (with no stove or refrig) but nicely appointed cabinets and several hot plate type of instruments. There were three bedrooms also nicely appointed with large closets. The bathroom was missing nothing and there was a separate "shower room" next to the bathroom. The living room was nice and cozy with rich rusty brown toned furniture.
The several days that I stayed there were very pleasant and always filled with people coming and going. I met many of my friend's family and friends and was taken to many places around Nairobi. I found that leaving the walled compound, we travelled down a very narrow back road where people were living and trading on both sides. It began raining on my second day there and the rich red dirt had turned to mud by the third day and that lovely red hue (common to the area) was reaching up everything that touched the ground.
My friend took me many places over the next several days -- office buildings, for walks downtown, to restaurants for cups of Kenyan coffee and some regional food, etc.
Riding in cars or Matatus (10-16 passenger vans used for public transport) was an adventure and the horn tooting was quite a part of the culture of driving. But, it was the experience of drivers not stopping for signal lights that made my heart pound! Signal lights were far and in between; however, they began to show up more the nearer one got to the city center area of downtown Nairobi. But the traffic lights were of little consequence to drivers or pedestrains and this is probably why the horn tooting was so pervasive. You could tell that when an accident occured, it would be a serious one. Oh, but the fumes emitting from all the cars and trucks took more getting used to. It really bothered me to see someone on a bike loaded down with products or even passengers and they would be just peddling along behind these big trucks and them having to inhale all of those fumes. I saw many people travelling on bikes and I was informed that bikes were a common mode of transportation because a purchasing a car was far beyond many people's reach.
I stayed with friend #1 for a little over a week. But I would return as it was with this friend that I had the "Rift Valley Experience", observing the sky in a village sugar cane farm and so much more. However, before all that could happen, two days into my stay, the rains came and with them, the cold. Yes, it gets very cold in Kenya during the rainy season. So cold that I texted and called back home for coats and sweaters to be sent (that's how I found out that it would cost around $600 to send them)! Remember that fireplace I mentioned earlier...yes, oh yes, bundle up and get your blanket and sit near the fire! So, each day I began to become more ill and another friend whom I had just been introduced to before leaving for Kenya, came by and insisted that I come stay with his family in Lavington and thus I entered a very different experience.
However, I will never forget my first week in Kenya and especially some of my favorite things which were the bread, butter, tea, and coffee. Thanks to my friend #1, it was only the rain that dampened my experience as the hospitality was manificant.
I know that I have written much so I will leave you at this time and will continue with the #2 experience at a later date.
Everybody stay warm, healthy and safe.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, January 07, 2007
What do you think?
Twenty-five years ago, Professor Elise Boulding (Professor Emerita of Sociology of Dartmouth College) opened his article entitled The Family as a Small Soceity with these words:
Our major challenge as human beings in the ninth decade of the twentieth century is to overcome widespread feelings of helplessness and despair over our apparent inability to have any effect on the social processes that grind on around us. We approach the second millennium of the Christian era overwhelmed with problems of scale and complexity, unsure of the survival of the species itself.
My answer to that challenge is to call attention to the oldest of human groupings, the familial group; archaeologists have identified household sites for homo erectus and mulier erectus from two million years ago and more in the Rift Valley of Africa.
What do you think?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
This article started off being about mining in Kenya. Then, after further research, the train of thought went to the placement of Kenya's colleges and universities in world ranking. And I find myself here directing you to several references that may be good information to begin 2007.
http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/266/ is the location of a great video lecture by Thomas L. Friedman summarizing his book “The World is Flat.”
ABOUT THE LECTURE:
In his latest book, The World is Flat, Friedman describes the unplanned cascade of technological and social shifts that effectively leveled the economic world, and “accidentally made Beijing, Bangalore and Bethesda next-door neighbors.”
Today, “individuals and small groups of every color of the rainbow will be able to plug and play.”
Friedman’s list of “flatteners” includes the fall of the Berlin Wall; the rise of Netscape and the dotcom boom that led to a trillion dollar investment in fiber optic cable; the emergence of common software platforms and open source code enabling global collaboration; and the rise of outsourcing, offshoring, supply chaining and insourcing. Friedman says these flatteners converged around the year 2000, and “created a flat world: a global, web-enabled platform for multiple forms of sharing knowledge and work, irrespective of time, distance, geography and increasingly, language.” At the very moment this platform emerged, three huge economies materialized -- those of India, China and the former Soviet Union --“and three billion people who were out of the game, walked onto the playing field.”
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Thomas L. Friedman won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, his third Pulitzer for The New York Times. He became the paper's foreign-affairs columnist in 1995. Previously, he served as chief economic correspondent in the Washington bureau and before that he was the chief White House correspondent.
HERE ARE TWO MORE BOOKS THAT WILL BE GOOD READING IN 2007:
'The End of Poverty' by Jeffrey Sachs
'The Mystery of Capital' by Hernando de Soto