Living the High Life in Kenya!

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2010

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Ann and Sabrina's weekend, home of Joseph and Josephine Murutu

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Travel Blog, Weekend for Ann and Sabrina, July 9-11

Ann and Sabrina were off Friday afternoon to host family Joseph and Josephina Murutu, both professionals – she a lawyer in the State Commission on Higher Education, he designer of large trucks and other vehicles. They live in an area near several coffee plantations, and visited one, as well as a rose farm.  The rose farms, btw, were very hard hit by the cancellation of flights to Europe because of the Icelandic volcanic cloud!  The flower farms fly their fresh cut flowers overnight to Europe for distribution to outlets throughout Europe.  And the farms had to shut down  during that time, sending their huge numbers of workers home with nothing to do!

The family has three cars, two Mercedes and a Volvo, several people as household help, a young daughter (Anna, named for one of the earlier Newton Pres. visitors who stayed with them), two other children, 15 and 17, both away at Boarding Schools and two nephews staying with them.  One of the nephews as their chauffeur for sight-seeing on Saturday to see the coffee  and tea plantations and rose operation, and to an "upscale" shopping center, where many of the non-Kenyans shop, but which all know to avoid if there were to be a terrorist alert!  There the gals got really great burgers, beef or chicken, and fries.

The family had a fire in their sunken fireplace in the family room all the time, a very nice home, but clearly, our gals thought, without so much attention to the interior décor.  Emphasis was on education, and Josephina has the goal of yet another Master's Degree and eventually becoming CEO of a major corporation.  Joseph was off most of the time on business.

Josephina reported that the major portion of her work with the Commission on Higher Education is to deal with the increasing number of foreign groups, universities and other school entities who want to open schools in Kenya.  The issue is that of control and supervision of curriculum, to maintain the standards of Kenyan education so all students graduating have received the same quality of education and are prepared also for entrance into the Kenyan university system.

They watched a movie – The Sound of Music – but their hosts could not find the second part of the movie, so they had to quit it an intermission!

The Murutus are very proud of their country, and also their tribal heritage and culture.  The father, Joseph, was off on both Saturday and Sunday to share in negotiations for the dowry for his sister, who was getting married.  They both said that the couple does not really feel married until all of the negotiated dowry items in the initial installment are in place in the couple’s home.  And the dowry continues apparently throughout the life-time, in installments!

Joseph talked about the importance of owning land, and there is a strong effort to secure more land, especially that surrounding one’s property.  This, he thought, was a bit problematic, and often led to “land deals” and greed and disputes over title and property rights, inheritance difficulties, etc.

As I said, Ann and Sabrina were back for morning worship at Bahati Martyrs, where the father is an active member, then earlier back to the Methodist Guest House, where they were a bit frustrated about reaching me, even purchasing a bit of online time for Sabrina to attempt to trace my whereabouts!
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