02 May 2009

“Kenyan Surprise”

Sometimes a regular day can turn out to progress in a wholly different way.  Today began with the usual morning coffee and breakfast with our team of boys over to play with the bike.  They rode around in circles, taking turns with each other after a lap.  The rest hung around, played with the toy cars and kicked around a soccer ball.  After awhile, Ken came running in with a movie he wanted to watch.  Titled Wedlock of the Gods.  With a title like that, I could not turn him down and miss the chance to see a fine Nigerian film.  DSC00773We set up my computer outside on top of two buckets and my DVD folder.  Then we brought out the chairs and made a makeshift bench by placing a piece of wood on two stools and two buckets.  The kids sat and watched the English language movie that looked, and I quote Michael, “like a snuff film.”  They sat, danced in their seats, watched the drama of a man banished from his home, pursued by two women, one of which is his love.  The twist is that she has a hunchback and he must make a deal with a witchdoctor to cure it.  I am ahDSC00769ead of you all and will do my best to make copies and send it home as soon as possible.  I have a hard time turning the down, especially when you see the smiles like this one.

Then, Michael informed me that he had made arrangements to have a meal with one of the teachers from his school.  He also said that he would be here in twenty minutes and to be ready.  I tossed on a pair of pants, grabbed my camera to shoot some of the flowers around Malava, and filled up a water bottle.  We met up and made the long walk to his home.  We were able to see a new part of town and pass by new children who were excited to see a pair of mzungu’s.  Along the way we saw the procession DSC00776for the Holy Spirit African church.  With their Klan-like get up and large painted red crosses, they walked down the road beating the drum and sings song.  The Malava branch of the church with process through each Sunday, but I am never able to capture a photo of all of them.  The people of the church will wear clothing with a cross drawn or stitched onto their shirts.  They also happen to be extremely nice.  Anyone I have met associated with that church has been gracious and welcoming. 

The walk over gave us a view of Mt. Elgon at the border of Kenya and a view of Kenya from a higher vantage point.  We took in the sights and noticed an outcropping that rose in the near distance that looked to be a good place to climb to see the surroundings better.

DSC00779We arrived at Joshua’s house and were treated to a tour and a meal from his banana farm.  He grows small, red and regular bananas.  After the tour and before the meal, I was asked to take a few pictures of him with his brother and nephews (he is pictured to the left with younger brother to the right).  DSC00783The kids, like most around here, loved seeing a camera.  The loved to see the pictures after I took them.  I showed them, took a few more and then we went to dinner.  The funniest part was the fact that Joshua’s brother was even more excited than the kids to see the pictures on my camera.

With the DSC00807sun shinning and the clouds dotting the sky as they do each afternoon, we made out or the top of the hill to see the surroundings.  We got a bit lost and made it to a T in the road.  A woman came out and asked where we wanted to go.  We could see the hill, but did not know how to get there without cutting across peoples property.  We told her where we were headed and pointed at the rock pictured to the left (an upside down chicken nugget or a rock-guitar).  She offered a girl to be our guide.  Dressed in jeans and a red zip-up hoodie, she walked ahead of us and did not say a word.  We made our way up the hill and as the view opened she said, “go straight.”  We thanked her, she went home and we walked on.  As we approached the hill we were to climb, a young man offered to take over as our guide.  I was hesitant to agree, but it turned out to be the right choice by Michael.  A serious climb ensued.  I would have taken pictures, but there was no way to stop when our guide was blazing along.

We began by hopping along a few rocks with plenty of dirt in between to make us work a bit but easy to get around.  Then we were given a false break amongst the sugarcane fields.  The newly planted cane in wet loose soil was slippery, not to mention the prickly leaves of the cane.  Leaping between the stalks trying not to fall, we climbed higher.  Then it was on to some rocks to scale and some crevasses to shoot.  We wound around and were left with this:

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We only had a few minutes before our guide wanted to push higher.  I crawled up some more, took off my backpack to make it though the tight trees as Michael lamented a possible snake attack and then climbed to a higher point that gave us the chance to have the 360 panorama.  I took a photo of Mt Elgon in the distance, but it did not come out too well due to

DSC00803the fact that a rain cloud was moving in.  You can see it above in the photo in the distance rising like a encroaching mist.  I will have to get to the top of that some time soon.  We reveled in the breeze, twirled round a bit to take in what we knew could not last and dreamt of a time spent longer looking at the beautiful Kabaras settled in between the ridge to the west and Mt Elgon to the north-east.  We ran down as quickly as possible to beat the rain home, but the sight of the cell tower in Malava far in the distance did not give us much hope.  We bound down the hill and tried not to fall down the rocks or in the slippery sugarcane fields.  Goodbyes and thanks were repeated and we walked home.  By 5:00 we were back into Malava.  A sign in town indicated that it was 4km to a school that we had passed both directions.  To our best estimate, we believe that we covered 10 to 12 km today.

To finish off a great day, I had a wonderfully hot shower and then we had chicken at the Honey Drop accompanied by the adorable kid who teases us whenever we go.  He sat next to me and ate along as we watched an Animal-Planet type show.