Our work to make this place more like our very own home has yielded another successful trip to Kakamega. We got the essentials for living (yeast, spices, house and clothes cleaners, silverware, etc) and the essentials for comfort (a 7' x 11' rug). The best purchase, the rug, covers the majority of our living room. This means that a strict no shoe rule has been put in effect. It also means that we can hang out in the living room and not worry about ending up with orange feet by the time we go to bed.
The second most important thing we did was sign up for M-Pesa. M-Pesa is SafariCom's sort of banking service. You sign up for free and deposit money. This allows us to withdraw money from an M-Pesa dealer or ATM in Malava. Before now, we had to go to Kakamega and take out a large sum of money to last until the next trip. With M-Pesa we do not have to go to Kakamega as often. In addition, we can top-up our phones and internet with M-Pesa money. I do not have to search around for 250 KSH cards and save them up. It is free to top-up. Then, you can also make money transfers to other phones with M-Pesa. Essentially, you just send a text message and money moves from your account to the recipients. I continue to be amazed at the way that technology has adapted throughout the country. The service is now beginning to build up businesses where you can buy your goods through a M-Pesa transfer. I still cannot have a shower tonight because I did not fill up my bag, nor can I fill up a glass of tap water, or wash my hands at the sink. However, I can post this blog, call the United States, text Sue, and send money to Michael over my phone. In addition, I can go to a phone dealer and buy, at a very expensive price, an unlocked iphone that can work on any service provider. If that costs too much, I can get a blackberry, Nokia, LG and so on. The phone system is genius, but roads, electricity, and water are terrible.
Number three was chicken and chips. Usually this would top a Friday, but the chicken was sub-par and the rug is that good. It has been nice to have our group Friday lunches and Sunday brunches (nice rhyme). Number four, we found hamburger two packs! Tonight will be a fried cheeseburger with onions and green peppers....and some rum and cokes to wash them down. Number five, the last, in anticipation of St.Patty's day, we got Bailey's. Guinness is readily available, but no Jamison to be had. If anyone wants to be nice and send me a letter with Boondock Saints I would be eternally grateful.
Since travel seems to be my favorite topic. I must mention that the matatu rides are becoming less and less terrible. They were made better today by two things. My ipod and the scenery. The ipod allows me to just zone out and not think about the fact that my calf is in pain and my knees are a few inches from melding with the metal rod that digs further and further in with each pot hole. Songs my religion, so there is serenity found even in the most uncomfortable situation if it is accompanied by good tunes. The scenery some how finds more beauty with each passing. It may be noticing a different farm or mountain, but just watching out the window as the unpolluted landscape rides by gives me energy. On the ride home, we left and traveled during the best hour of the day. It is the time when the sun is no less than 5 rotations from the horizon and the light stretches along with the growing shadows not long before the sun will set. The figures of trees grow in the same way that the moon makes them ominous, only comforting. It is usually in the summer that one can notice this phenomenon. In the fall, winter and spring the cold breeches the day. The summer's heat is given relief for a brief period at the start and end of the day. It is when you can enjoy the sun's light, but not endure heat.
Tomorrow - Hiking, Football, Cleaning