Friday, September 14, 2012

Out of Africa (AKA where are you Denys?!)

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon I visited the home of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa. Despite the sometimes uncomfortable colonial perspective, I loved the book and the movie. Real-life Karen made quite an impact on the surrounding community (now called "Karen"), though some remember her as an unlikable figure who used to boss Denys around. She did have a light on her porch that indicated whether Denys was allowed to visit. Bossy? Or appealingly practical? I'm undecided. She was certainly a firecracker.

The tour started with the guide reciting her painfully long monologue as fast as humanly possible. Honestly, I heard every third word. When I took a few pictures while she was still talking, I was instructed to sit down and wait until the monologue was over. Oops!

Waiting for Denys to fly in over the Ngong Hills. Sadly, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford were no where to be found. Next time. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

No sweating!

I have been called a klutz a time or two in my life. Or every day. But who's counting? This leads me to one of my favorite parts of my visit to Kenya. Whenever I dropped something, tripped or ran into something, the people around me would say, "Sorry!" They apologized for my misfortune with no irony or mocking in their voices. No one laughed and no one rolled their eyes. (Looking at you, DAVID!) This was my kind of place!

Another favorite? Going for jogs in Nairobi and not having anyone call me a mzungu ("foreigner," or literally "aimless wanderer" after the early European explorers). No one pointed out my whiteness at all, at least until I left Nairobi for more rural areas. Instead they just thought I was weird for jogging. A young security guard in blue yelled, "No sweating!" and an older man said, "Getting ready for the Olympics?" followed by bursts of laughter. Too much laughter.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Hi, friends! I am currently in Kenya for a work trip, enjoying the fast internet and good coffee of Nairobi. The purpose of the trip is to visit/monitor our HIV program sites in the western part of the country, and to prepare for a cervical cancer assessment taking place next month. The trip is two and a half weeks, with one week spent traveling around Nyanza Province and the rest of the time in Nairobi.

The visit was planned at the last minute, as they always are at my work, and it was not the best of timing.... While I'm gone, David has moved all of our things out of our basement apartment and into our new condo. Oh, yeah! We bought a condo! It is in the Brookland neighborhood of DC, and we are feeling very blessed.

Though I'm sad to be away from my family, I'm having a nice time practicing the Swahili I learned from a foray into Rosetta Stone Swahili combined with extensive watching of The Lion King as a child. Or should I say, The Simba King? Impressed, no?

Hakuna matata, rafiki!