Saturday, October 20, 2007

I went on a game drive into Nairobi National Park a couple weeks ago with some friends. Here are a few pictures. I have a couple pictures of us getting stuck in the mud, but it takes about a decade to load each one, and I have grown weary. So for now you can just enjoy the cool animals.

I think this one was posing for me, displaying the freshly curled eyelashes.

Apparently this giraffe is used to seeing people. And weird vans with holes in the top.

Zebra. I don't know what else to say about them.
Mama Ostrich was not very happy with us driving so closely behind her babies. It was quite a feat trying to overtake them in our Land Cruiser without hurting them. Eventually we succeeded.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

To say the place was bazaar or wacky would be an understatment. When Kayla, Scarlett, Hannah, Rachel, and I decided to go to Kitengela Glass for the day, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I've seen the glassware in stores and always admired its homemade perfection. The prices of the glasses, bowls, vases, and other sorts of glassware have always been out of my price range. After visiting the factory, I can see why. After we had gawked at the wacky statues and eclectic artistry on display, we went into the room with the furnaces. The fire was blazing hot, and we watched these men put the red-hot glowing glass on the end of a pipe and blow air into it. I have never seen anyone blow glass before, and it was amazing. I now understand why Kitengela charges so much for their products. The care and craftsmanship that goes into making just one glass or bowl is amazing.

Besides the glass-blowing, the rest of the Kitengela Glass is simply wacky. I wonder if Dr. Seuss helped create the place because it resembles the worlds you would find in one of his books. There are all kinds of crazy statues and buildings made of glass, bottle lids, and other random objects. Peacocks, camels, pigs, ducks, roosters, and horses roam free throughout the place. There is a pool and a guest house. The guest house overlooks a gorge that separates Kitengela from Nairobi National Park (I think). There is a rope bridge that goes across the gorge, and we decided to be brave and go across. Anyone with a fear of heights would not have embarked on such an endeavor. It was a bit scary, but the view was amazing, and it was a lot of fun. After we had crossed the bridge, we spotted babboons on the other side headed towards Scarlett's purse. As much as I wanted to save her purse, I also didn't want to get attacked by the babboons. They can be quite viscious. Rachel and I decided to cross the bridge as fast as we could (definitely not running) and scare the babboons off. We yelled and screamed at them as we approached, and they decided that the purse wan't that interesting and went away. Phew! I really didn't want a close encounter with one of those animals.

My conclusion: Kitengela is an amazing place, but it really doesn't seem like such a place should exist in Kenya. If you come visit me, I will take you there. Otherwise, enjoy the slide show and imagine what it must be like in the land of Dr. Seuss.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday, October 5th was my 25th birthday. On Thursday, my roommates took me out to dinner, and when I got home a bunch of my friends were waiting at my apartment to throw me a surprise party. It was so fun! Some of them felt bad for not bringing a gift, so they went into my room (before I was home of course) and wrapped up some of my belongings. So for my birthday I got a pair of flannel pants, strangely similar to the ones my mother sent me last year. I also got a framed picture of my sister and me when I was 16, then another framed picture of my best friend and me in front of Mt. McKinley.

On my birthday, one of my students made me a cake, and we had a little celebration in my biology class. Everyone at school was wishing me happy birthday, and after school Heather, Kayla, and headed out to Mayers’ Ranch to hang out with friends for the weekend. My parents called me as we were driving out to the ranch, and that was when I got the best birthday gift ever. But in order to understand the true significance of this gift, you have to understand a little about my family.

When I moved to Kenya, a little over a year ago now, my parents moved from their home in Anchorage, to Bend, Oregon. My dad took a pastor job there. My mom had a temporary job with the school district in Bend, but it ended in April. She has been looking for a job ever since. She finally got hired just a couple weeks ago, but that hasn’t left my parents with a few thousand extra dollars to come visit their daughter in Kenya. When my parents called me on Friday, they told me that a man from my dad’s church gave them $3000 so that they can come visit me. Unbelievable. That knocked my socks off. And thus concludes my story of the best birthday gift ever. Ever. Ever.

On Sunday (October 7th) my friend Astrid invited me to go on a game drive in Nairobi National Park. She borrowed a big Land Cruiser, and we left in the early morning hours to look for animals in the park. We (well, Astrid really) drove for about 20 minutes and then got stuck in the mud. She called the emergency number that one of the rangers had given us in case of such emergencies, and, in typical Kenyan fashion, no one answered. We waited for an hour, maybe longer, sipped coffee, and enjoyed each other’s company. Once we were “rescued” (see pictures below), we didn’t get stuck again. We saw giraffe, zebra, buffalo, gazelle, impala, and even a rhino. All in all, it was a great day. Had we seen a lion or a leopard, it would have been a grand slam day, but a great day was good enough.

I am trying to upload pictures for you, but the internet is too slow. This blog entry will have to suffice for now.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Here are some random pictures of random things from the past few weeks. Enjoy! I hiked Mt. Longonot with some friends, and Astrid (right) made us pancakes at the top. They were delicious!!
Casa (I don't know how to spell her name) took lots of pictures while we hiked.
This is my beautiful roommate Heather with our beautiful little neighbor, Michelle.

This shows the international flavor of our school. Joel (left), is German, Meitamei (top) is Masai (a native tribe in Kenya), Adam (middle) is British, and Illam (right) is Kenyan.

The boys soccer team warming up for their first game

Some members of our girls basketball team just before their game.