Learning Organic Farming in Eldoret.

 

A welcome to Eldoret takes me through the maize plantation, few miles drive and the home is waiting. Countryside is different, maybe unique in many ways. People live easy life, they have little to worry about pollution, weather carbon or noise. They eat organic, drink organic and breathe the same. This is Eldoret, the home of the famous Kenyan long-distance athletes. Here is the town where Kenya began to cultivate her greatest claim to international fame. Here Kipchoge Keino, Moses Kiptanui and Paul Tergat honed their natural talents, to become colossuses in their fields.

There is not much to do here, to be honest. Eldoret is an extremely functional town, filled with agro-vet shops and wholesale dukas run by descendants of south Asians brought in as cheap labour during the building of the “Lunatic Express”, the railway that was to link the coast of Kenya to the rich hinterlands of Uganda. There are no galleries, no parks, no theatres, or museums. There is a vibrant nightlife, however, and Kenyans here do not disappoint, night clubs like Spree and Signature competing for custom with typical gusto and verve; drinks and meals are affordable, at $3 for an ice cold beer and about $5 for a full meal at a decent cafeteria.

 

Under this trees 54 different species of birds dwell. They have mastered the art on community coexistence. They live and work in common grounds, and do it with high level of efficiency. Weaver bird is what they are called, they design and build intricate nests. When the nest is complete, the male will announce an open house by fluttering his wings. He invites a female home and hopes she approves. If she does, there will be eggs in the nest within days. If she doesn’t, the nest is usually abandoned. A male will often make multiple nests over the course of the mating season. In most instances, most weaver males never become parents.

 

Our stay at the Water Crest Guest House was full of fun. The rabbits danced to us every morning and all day long. The walk freely on the green lawn looking for food and interacting with nature. They are very beautiful to watch. We also enjoyed good hospitality and a wonderful breakfast.

I have a close relationship with Lel-met who is now a mother to Baraka turned 5 days today and Lel-gina. Baraka is trying to adjust to his new life. He sleeps alot and when its time to play, he loves to do that. He also jumps to eveny opportunity to have his share of milk from his mother.

The dwelling of the bees is in the hives, but finally I found the place where they are spending all their time, here at the sunflower garden. Bees see all colors except the color red. That and their sense of smell help them find the flowers they need to collect pollen. Not only is pollen a food source for bees, but also some of the pollen is dropped in flight, resulting in cross pollination.

Honeybees produce honey from pollen and nectar of the plants they pollinate. They store the honey in honeycombs in their nests, which they use to feed their young in colder months.

Considered by animal behaviorists to be smarter than dogs, pigs are clever animals who are also friendly, loyal, and intelligent. They are naturally very clean and avoid soiling their living areas. When they are not confined on factory farms, pigs spend hours playing, lying in the sun, and exploring their surroundings with their powerful sense of smell. On this picture, the story is almost the same, the female are seen here comforting each other with warmth as they enjoy an afternoon nap while the men on the other hand fight for food.

If you look at Sugoi, you might think that he is the mother to Chepkorgen. But the truth is that Korgen lost her mother a few days after she was born. The story is that after she was milked, she just collapsed and died, yea. For the months that followed, she had to depend on milk from other cows for her development. She can now graze on her own, and her health is getting better.

Kasuye also just got a new baby days ago. We named him Andeso, it means small……really small. Together with their friends they feed along the maize plantation. Sometimes they get naughty and get themselves to areas they are not allowed to occupy, its always a push and pull scenario.

Long time ago this was bubblegum for my wife. They loved to play around this tree and feed from the glue it produces. Things have now changed for her, I married her and took her to the store. Now she knows where to get bubblegum. When she was here, she reminded herself of those good old days.

The things that make an animal farm work are simple….or sometimes complex mechanical, civil contractions. The shade for milking, the place you stop by every morning and evening to earn them milk. The borehole, you need a constant supply of water, my father told me that water translates to milk……..he wasnt wrong one bit. Fences act like fire walls, if you don’t have on, are not planning to invest in one, you will always have hackers in the animal farm and once the data is invaded, you will need sometime to recover from the lose……..time is always precious. Last you need accessibility, controlled movement with small gates that can close at a small human effort. Now it’s closed…..now it’s open.

The tree is under siege, with caterpillars all over it, not the shoes but the insects. Caterpillars that defoliate trees in your home landscape can be invasive and sometimes require control measures. The first option is to do nothing. Healthy deciduous trees usually survive defoliation and grow back a second set of leaves.

Manual control on individual trees includes hand removal of egg masses, inhabited tents and pupa, and installation of sticky tree wraps on trunks to capture caterpillars as they move up and down trees. Do not leave egg masses on the ground; drop them in a container of detergent. Do not attempt to burn tents while they are on trees. This is hazardous to the health of the tree. But still here we see insects overpowering the caterpillar on ground….today, you are our food.

 

Navigating the animal farm is tricky, the ground is always maddy especially when it rains and covered with animal  remains……cow, pig, sheep goat, chicken all combined, every morning you wake up. My father-in-law has found a perfect shoe that fits the job. Looking at them, they has seen better days, they rest on dry ground after a morning of duty and they know, another day awaits. It reminds me of a song “ask my shoes” they always have a story to tell. My wife walks the ground with her purple espadrille……yea I thought so too. She is not on a spanish holiday.

The rewards of organic farming are very evident, if you stop for one minute and enjoy, you gather strength to wake up tomorrow and push some more. So there I was, leaving Eldoret with a pack of all goodies from my mother-in-law. Sour milk with black charcoal AKA mursik, Fresh lemons and more than enough cereals, all from the organic farm.

#OrganicFarming

Meeting ‘Jotto’ at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

 

The David Sheldrick is a haven for orphaned elephants. Born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. Everyday the gates open to the public from 11am to noon and with a small fee of $5 per visitor, you are able to see the young elephants up close, touch them and listen to their stories.

There are few places left on the planet where the impact of people has not been felt. We have explored and left our footprint on nearly every corner of the globe.  As our population and needs grow, we are leaving less and less room for wildlife.

Wildlife are under threat from many different kinds of human activities, from directly destroying habitat to spreading invasive species and disease.  Most ecosystems are facing multiple threats. Each new threat puts additional stress on already weakened ecosystems and their wildlife.

At the heart of the DSWT’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo.

This place has now become famous for visitors, since I first came here, the number of visitors have continued to grow by the day which is a good thing for the foundation. Visitors who wish to adopt a baby elephant are welcomed to do so. Having placed a donation to help the elephant, they receive monthly updates about their baby and any time with an appointment, they are allowed to visit without any additional charges.

So today I took my two nieces for a treat, at this place. First Imani was fascinated by the fact that the baby elephants will be very close to her and she will want to touch them. Ningala, wasn’t talking much. We were at the gate a few minutes past 10am, everybody had worked up for this much treasured hour. Most of the crowd were tourists, and others were Kenyans visiting from the United States……..ask me how I know about that, and a few of us including tour drivers and guides. It was dusty, auto machines were taking over the whole parking.

The DSWT is located on the Kenya Wildlife Workshop Gate off Magadi road, about 20km from the city centre. Its accessible by car because you have to drive through the park to access the Sheldrick gate. The elephant Nursery is located in Nairobi National Park. In addition, there are 3 reintegration units are located in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area at Voi, Ithumba and Umani Springs in the Kibwezi Forest. At the notice board, we could see all in pictures and their stories well written, and we fell in love with Jotto and we wanted to know more about Jotto.

Jotto was rescued on the 21st March 2016, having fallen down a well in the Namunyak Conservancy in Northern Kenya. He was found by herdsmen who had taken their cattle for water at the well on the morning of the 20th of March. They reported the calf to Namunyak Conservancy staff who later sent their scouts to extract the baby. He was rescued at around 10am and the team remained with the calf at the scene, whilst rangers attempted to locate the mother for the rest of the day.

March is always the hottest time of the year in Kenya, particularly at lower altitudes, and this last year due to the equinox combined with unpredictable weather patterns due to global warming, ambient temperatures countrywide were a lot warmer than anyone can remember, with advice to people at sea level to remain indoors and take regular cold showers in order to avoid heat stroke. For this reason, they named this little well victim “Jotto” (in Swahili spelled ‘Joto’ and pronounced “Injoto~ – the word that describes such hot conditions).

The babies were taking milk in two groups, first one with younger elephants and the second, those who are a little older. Jotto was in the first group, but we kept guessing who Jotto was, we were all wrong. After they had taken their milk they played around and with the visitors. A gentleman who I have encountered all the times I have visited here, who speaks really good english and carries the history and the names of all the baby elephants in his head takes the microphone and commands the stage and the visitors listen keenly. Then he introduced us to Jotto, standing at the far end from where we were standing.

Jotto is now one year and six months. His ordeal maybe behind him, but they say elephants have a great memory so its safe to say he hasn’t forgotten why he ended up here and he will not forget years after he has left the orphanage and taken back to the wild, to create a new family….something that takes well over six years.

If you are in Nairobi, maybe catching a flight later or whatever, this is a must visit. It will be a day well spent, with opportunity of up close with this lovely playful babies. Adopting or just donating to the foundation that is doing much more for this vulnerable ones. This place is also good for those who want to keep their minds off work, at least for one hour, doctors say………that can increase productivity.

Am not a doctor, am just a lover of nature, so my advice has no basis or reliability that my own meandering experience.

 

Lost in peaceful Kilasiya Waterfalls in Moshi.

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My drive of two hours got me to Moshi, not sure what I was going to do, but I was glad I had made it. I had a few options to choose from, this day, I would be either in a dipping my body in a hot spring somewhere, I don’t know where. What I know is that Mufasa, who runs a tour and travel company says that is a good place for cleansing. He took this two ladies to wash from the springs and later they were driving their own cars and happily married, and everytime they see him, they express their gratitudes. For a fact I don’t want a car, I already own one, and i am happily married too, but if the spring would give me a clean wash, at least every man needs a wash everyday.

The other option was I would be in my Airbnb room, and play safe and not be bothered about what was happening behind the walls. Get lost in the internet world and visit the Ngorongoro conservancy from the comfort of my home, I mean temporary home. But wait a minute, Karin story was still fresh in my head, how she and her husband bought a toyota land cruiser in Capetown and she had to drive it herself to Arusha. First I say, she stole my dream, second…..what a brave woman, the few we have. She conquered the loneliness of the road from cape town to Arusha, camped in the wild, survived on cheap food and finally drove through the borders of Tanzania. I may not be that woman, but at least I can try.

So then I asked Pam the (young lady who cares for the house where i am staying and who supplies breakfast on the table every morning) where I should go for the day, go to Moshi she said, you will enjoy the waterfalls there. And the next minute I was on the bus to Moshi, the lady seated beside me on the window was headed to Dar Es Salaam. We exchanged a few words before she disappeared in her earphones….and looked the other side. I was feeling tired so I fell asleep…..just for a few minutes. Moments before we arrived I could see Mt Kilimanjaro, not very clear but just something. It was very cloudy that day. Then I was on the clean streets of Moshi, looking for a place to eat, I was hungry too. I googled, most of the places that showed up were high end, I needed local. Not the Italian chef or the French…..definitely not the French. My last encounter with someone with that title was along the source of River Nile, in Jinja. The police had to intervene.

To my rescue, a small restaurant with buffet offering a walk away from where the bus had dropped me. It was very local, with things I had not seen in my life…..kind of bizarre food channel. Before I could order, I wanted to know my next move, so with all my stupidity I asked the waiter about any attraction I can visit around Moshi. Many people who come here in Moshi, come to climb that mountain, he said……pointing on the direction of Mt Kilimanjaro. I stood up and moved to the serving are to pick my order and after my meal I had to worry about where next. I picked a few people on the streets to ask, and the old man knew what medicine I needed. With all the information from the old man, I set off……first taking a dala dala to Marangu. It was a loong way, the Dala dala was very full, with some people even standing….including women.

By the time we arrived in Marangu I had had enough of it, and I couldnt wait to get out of the whole thing. The clouds were pregnant and it was threatening to pour with the least of provocation. It had taken me five hours to be here so on to the point, I secured a cab to the waterfalls. The guy told me that there are some caves before the waterfalls which I would really love. Lets go to the waterfalls first, I insisted. It was a short drive, we arrived and started trekking to the office and after paying to enter the waterfalls. I was live on Facebook at that time, but the dipper I sunk the more I lost signal. Then it was not possible to be live, or to make a call. The wilderness had welcomed me, and I had accepted it with all my heart.

From a far I could hear the sound of Kilasiya Water Falls, and the sight of the water too, the surrounding was green and wet, filled with fresh air and some taste of herbal. I kept going down until i was resting on the foot of Kilimanjaro and behold the waterfalls smiling at me……from a small distance. I removed my shoes and walked towards her, overwhelmed with the wet surrounding I stood facing her and for the next 30 minutes I was lost in thoughts and in awe of what God had done here. I had completed a mission, and I was breathing very well.

So I started my trek back to civilization, it took all my energy. I was breathing heavy as I kept my balance. Looking back I would see the nice scenery disappearing so I kept going. I kept pushing, until I found myself on the benches beside the office. On my left was a gentleman quenching it all with a bottle of Kilimanjaro beers. For me, I needed tea, just hot black tea. Then I felt fresh, alive and back to Dala dala…….one that took me to Moshi, before I started my journey back to Arusha. I arrived back to the house at 9pm and Pam asked if I had managed to get to Moshi. I asked her how she new about the waterfalls. Thats where I was born and grew up she said. I wondered why I was knowing this too late.

But all the waterfalls was down the drain and another peaceful night was awaiting. I went to bed with great conviction, that I should come back, just like everyone else who has been here.

A chilly Joomla! Day in Arusha.

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Welcome to Arusha, the town so calm, so beautiful, so welcoming. You should come here, if you can afford it. Endless queues of tourist are arriving here in their numbers….you wonder why, but when you are here, everything makes sense, makes peace. Driving in Arusha I can see how a large, sprawling city with all of the contradictions that brings, it is, the best place to be. The traffic police standing on the street in their white uniform, very white my friend asked how they wash it, they keep it white, just like new.

On the one hand, Arusha offers a nice break from the rigours of life on the African road – it has excellent places to stay and eat and, for the most part, it is lush, green and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year, thanks to its altitude (about 1300m) and location near the foot of Mt Meru which by the way, I can see from the comfort of my living room. I should brag, but I won’t. Resting on the foot of the hill, cool weather and a sight to behold. Waters flow freely from the hills, in many directions, if not all. You will not get enough of banana plantations and you will not miss them on your dinner table. You are in the land of it.

Starting point for many safaris and cultural tours, it’s a place where everything happens. Roasted free range chicken with roasted bananas and potatoes, from Kenny’s place…..right on the open street, to Hawaian pizza at George’s Tavern. Everything is great. And worth the fight.

Which brings us to Arusha’s alter ego. As the safari capital of northern Tanzania, Arusha is where you’re most likely to encounter touts offering safaris, souvenirs and all manner of deals, some genuine, many of them not. Their main haunts are the bus stations and along Boma Rd. What brings me to Arusha? That which has taken me everywhere, Joomla love. We travel, eat good food, meet friends and get lost in Joomla. A family of open software enthusiasts, techies, who bring people together, share ideas, share visions, and help run each other’s mission. I mean those guys……I am one of them.

Enjoying great conversation, maybe networking, a lot of that, sharing great food, made so amazing with much of the East African love. So I must say, my arrival, at 2pm was wonderful. The sun was up and there was a taste of life in everything, including the things not edible.

Then I fell asleep at midnight only to wake up 30 minutes late for breakfast…….to a heavy drizzling morning, not pouring, just heavy drizzling. Here, there is a difference. That meant I was one hour late for everything, including my presentation which was starting 9am. So when we pulled over at a gas station to buy fuel, we got a call, and the shame attacked me like a bitter woman. That kind of shame that will follow me all the way to when I arrive at JR Institute of Technology, and there I could see everyone sitting in humility waiting……….not for someone important but me, this guys who could not keep  time. So then, I pretended nothing was wrong and even that was more shameful, it was cold and I was struggling to keep me alive.

Then there was my introduction, and before I went further, I was interrupted, by the teacher. He urged me to keep it in Swahili…….my presentation. That my students are a little handicapped when it comes to English he said. What he did not understand is that even if you are really good in both languages, its difficult to make a presentation in Swahili when you did it in English. But I had to brave myself, picking all the words I could remember……because the word Joomla! itself is Swahili……Mradi wa Joomla! to mean my Joomla project. But then it all went well for all my two presentation.

While in the car with Gloria, after the event she mentioned to me, that the students were very happy and I asked her why she thinks so, she said that if  Tanzanians are happy, you can see it on their faces. I wouldn’t have known that. Back at our Airbnb Pamela the lady in charge of the house took us to the market to get some fish for our dinner project. At the table was also Karin, who is visiting here from China though she is originally German. She lives and works in China together with her husband and they are trying to start a business here in Arusha, she has been here many times.

She narrated to us how she drove from Cape Town, where they had bought their Toyota Landcruiser to Arusha, something I have always wanted to do. The car sits at the parking when she is not doing her safari’s and when I went to check it out, I admired the big wheels on it and the inside fitted with a refrigerator. Before we left Arusha, I had made good friends, and helped to create Joomla User Group Arusha, managing one of my desire for this trip. I have not yet gotten anybody willing to volunteer for Joomla! but am still hopeful.

Fighting the Dragon.

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Marek, who is seats at the help desk at Novotel City West hotel says that Krakow is a small city, it’s not.
Long ago in Poland’s early history, On the River Vistula, there was a small settlement of wooden huts inhabited by peaceful people who farmed the land and plied their trades. Near this village was Wawel Hill. In the side of Wawel Hill was a deep cave. The entrance was overgrown with tall, grass, bushes, and weeds. No man had ever ventured inside that cave, and some said that a fearsome dragon lived within it. The young people of the village didn’t believe in the dragon. The old people of the village said that they had heard their fathers tell of a dragon who slept in the cave, and no man must dare waken it, or there would be dire consequences for them all.
Some of the youths decided to explore the cave and put an end to such foolish talk. They thought that they knew better and dragons were just old stories from the past. A group of these young people took some torches and went to the cave. They slowly entered the cave until they came to a dark mass of scales blocking their way and the sound of heavy breathing. The boys ran as the dragon awakened and roared. Fire came from it’s mouth warming the boys heels and backs. When they were far enough away, they looked back and saw the dragon at the entrance of the cave, very angry being awakened from it’s sleep.
From that day on, the people knew no peace. Every day the dragon appeared and carried off a sheep or preferably young virgins. The populace made many attempts to kill the dragon but nothing succeeded and many of those that attempted were killed. The hero in this part of the story differs. In the village lived a wise man, or a shoemaker or a shoe makers apprentice named Krakus or Krac. He got some sheep and mixed a thick, yellow paste from sulfur. Krakus smeared it all over the animals. Then led them to a place where the dragon would see them.
The dragon came out as expected, saw the sheep, roared, rushed down the hill and devoured the sheep. The dragon had a terrible fire within him, and a terrible thirst. It rushed to the River Vistula and started drinking. It drank and drank and could not stop. The dragon began to swell, but still it drank more and more. It went on drinking till suddenly there was a great explosion, and the dragon burst. There was great rejoicing by the people. Krakus, was made ruler of the village, and they built a stronghold on Wawel Hill.
The country prospered under the rule of Krakus and a city grew up around the hill which was called Krakow, in honour of Krakus. When Krakus died, the people gave him a magnificent burial, and erected a mound over his tomb which can be seen to this day. The people brought earth with their own hands to the mound, and it has endured through all the centuries as a memorial to the person that killed the dragon of Krakow. Today Aleksander Kuczek welcomes us to his city of Krakow and from what we can see the people of Krakow did a good job rebuilding their city.  We are here to “Fight the Dragon” in a smart way.
The Joomla community is meeting here in Krakow for the JandBeyond conference for three days of fun, learning and networking. We are here to be inspired by the story of the people in Krakow, they are very friendly  and welcoming. Their contribution to the Joomla community has been felt all over the world. I have no doubt in my heart that we will break the head wind, and make the community better for the future.
Joomla has come a long way, we have now 82,000,000 downloads, or there about and its not stopping now. The community with over 1,000 volunteers working on very small or sometimes without a budget, with their heart, soul, mind and everything. The future is very bring for Joomla, so get involved, make it happen, because if somebody asked you a question! Who is Joomla? Joomla is you, and Joomla is me.
Greetings from Krakow, Poland.

The Visa Appointment.

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It’s the perfect seat under the tree, in a garden. With the sound of the waterfall from all sides. The white lady is smoking, seated on a table before mine, she is enjoying her coffee more than she is on the cigarette. Miles Davis plays from a restaurant above the tree, 1959 classic- So What. The book am reading, Cancer award – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

This feels like a perfect day, one you would pray for, that one day when you wake up in the morning, and trouble is not on the drive way. He left early while you were still a sleep. My masala tea has arrived, with honey on the side. I smell the fresh lemon, just the way I like it, rather love.

Is this the day? Except it’s not. Am about to face some lady in a small window. She will look at my papers then decide if she will grant me a visa. So life has taught me one thing. While in your “enjoyment of plenty” trouble is always on the way. Today, today might be that day……when trouble will be home earlier than I expected. But every time I have visa appointment I struggle with this kind of feeling, strange, weird kind of feeling. Just like the one am having now.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, there’s a good chance you’re applying for a Schengen Visa. Regardless of which Schengen country you’re travelling to, you’ll be expected to answer a few standard questions regarding who you are, you travel arrangements, and how you plan to fund your holiday/study.

Once all your paperwork and documentation is completed and set in order, you’ll be expected to attend a Schengen Visa interview, which will determine whether you eventually receive your Visa or not. The interviewers are trained to detect hesitation, unwillingness to answer certain questions, etc. and are trained to reject Visa applicants if it seems like they’re hiding information or providing false information.

That being said, it’s a common rule of thumb to be as calm, composed, and articulate as possible during any kind of interview, especially a Visa interview. If you have nothing to hide and everything about your Visa application and the reasons for travel are truthful, all you need to do is treat the interview as a regular conversation. Treating the interview as a regular coffee-shop conversation is the easiest way to have a Visa approved – provided that all the questions are answered – no matter how personal or seemingly degrading they may seem. Don’t hesitate, no matter how weird or personal the questions are, as the interview is designed in a specific way and there is a specific way in which to answer even the more complex questions.

Tips to keep in mind when answering Schengen Visa interview questions:

  1. Be calm, composed, and articulate.
  2. Breathe and stay relaxed.
  3. Give precise and comprehensive answers.
  4. Answer all questions truthfully to the best of your knowledge.
  5. Smile and take every question positively, understand that the interviewer is trying to see whether the information you provide is accurate by studying your responses.
  6. Be honest and don’t answer more than what is necessary – stick to the point.

Today, I request my Schengen to travel to Poland city of Krakow, for JandBeyong one of the Joomla! world event taking place in June. This will be my second travel in Europe, my first visa application to Spain last year was rejected, I had to appeal and after that it was granted. I have since learnt that it’s different every time. And the decision whether you are getting a visa or not is dependant to the person issuing the visa, how you conduct yourself during the interview and whether your paper work is in order.

It is important to smile and remember that the interviewer, too, is merely doing his/her job and that this job is of a certain level of importance, as there are many people that travel overseas on holiday visas and then look for employment (which is illegal). Your job when you’re at that interview is to be as calm, courteous, and articulate as possible. Don’t hide any information or give any half-information. Answer all questions to the interviewer’s satisfaction providing all the details you can in the most concise way.

I do not guarantee that after you have done all the above you will be granted a visa, as I said and I say it again, the visa is issued by a human being, and even that guy at the visa window might be having a bad day. So I have walked here with hope, guided with prayer and believing that everything will work out just the way God has planned them.

Your Schengen Visa has been granted.

Seeing the World.

Most roads in our part of Kenya are either in a state of disrepair or under construction.  Mainly, you are driving on shoddily constructed roads with crater-like, car-swallowing potholes and sharp unmarked speed bumps, all threatening to destroy your car and strand you on the side of the road.  Either that, or you are driving directly through road construction as it happens with only a hint of how avoid the beastly machinery blocking your way. You have to clutch the steering wheel and tell the kids to hold onto their seats as you bump along the “diversion” (under Construction).

Why the constant disrepair and repair? I’ve been told road construction is a big boondoggle. Apparently, a big proportion of the road budget goes to greasing palms, so things like quality cement and other important ingredients for road making get short changed. The road lasts half as long as predicted and the boondoggle starts again.

But when the road is completed it’s … well…. amazing.  Some of your journey is inevitably on fresh road, and you sail by feeling like you’re on a high speed train. Like you’re time traveling.  But don’t get too comfortable because this is actually where the worst of the road accidents happen at the absence of potholes, diversions or speed bumps lulls long haul drivers into careless and often lethal complacency.

While on the speeding lane, the only lane, then you meet NTSA. The guys with the speed gun. They always know where to get you. Which is unfair because you would think that speed enforcement should be done justly. But wait a minute, Not here. So then, you find yourself paying a cash bail of Kshs 5,000…….and you are appearing in court on Tuesday at 9am. Whether you are at your destination or back where you started, court will be at least four hours drive.

So the roads in Kenya are no picnic.  And speaking of picnics… you better pack one, because there are no fancy roadside restaurants, drive-throughs or convenient stores. There are tons of roadside vendors, but unless you can make a snack out of a kilogram of potatoes, some tomatoes and an uncut pumpkin, you’re out of luck. So we do not hesitate to buy dinner, a little grocery….maybe a lot of it. Some snack……roasted maize. There is also cold yogurt at Delamere……right on the road.  You drive in the darkness for a long time, then you are lucky to see the sunrise. Suddenly everybody wakes up, hell breaks loose. The sun becomes hotter, the road becomes busy and people become mean. All in one day. Then there is mother nature, with all her mercy, and suddenly you have no visual.

So I ask myself, why do I keep doing this? Its fun, yeah trust me. Except for the fact that you have to pay for a cash bail on your overspeeding, living life with some sense of danger is a normal thing here in Kenya. Sometimes danger is an enemy. But when she is a friend, we make good use of her. Stay around her and interact with her greatly while exploiting her resources. All this for the hope of seeing what lies at the destination. A different life, cultures, landscapes and family. To be able to see them, you have to go through this, maybe more. Today you are enjoying your drive, tomorrow you are spending the night in the middle of nowhere. Funny but close to reality.

You want some action.  A darkness encounter, the heat and cold. The animals, mother nature……  you know, the same kind of action you want from an episode of the Real Housewives of somewhere. Or so I hear.

I want to see the world, so I take on it bit by bit.