Taking home the rooster, Pat's weekend

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

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Julius and upcountry

Flag of Kenya  , Nairobi Area,
Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pat's weekend, July 16-18

My original hosts, Henry Kaira and family, had an emergency – an accident to their daughter, so plans changed and I stayed the weekend with Julius Muchiri and his family. The others in our little group were picked up on Saturday and brought back to the Guest House Sunday.  Julius took me Friday after the partnership meeting, to stay till Sunday.

Friday evening, after being stuck in a two-hour traffic jam getting out of Nairobi, was a "settle in" evening and preparation for Saturday.  We had dinner Friday evening at 9:30 p.m., normal for Kenyans.  Julius is a talker as I am and our conversation was quite lively.  Another thing quite lively was the two kittens, one black and one gray.  They were about 10 weeks old and were quite the high light of the weekend.  If I could have brought one of them home, I would have.  But Julius’ wife Monica said they were babies, so I couldn’t have them.

On Saturday we left home about 9:30 a.m. and headed for Limuru, and a huge (huge, huge!) open air market – all vegetables except for some chickens.  Monica and I headed into the market where she discussed prices with a number of vendors, settling on the one she felt would give her the best prices.  Half an hour later, we headed for the car with enough vegetables to feed a small army.  Julius had stopped at the Limuru yogurt plant and picked up a few things.  A kid carrying a bag appeared and offered to carry the bags for 15 Ksh and was hired on the spot.  I stayed in the car drinking strawberry yogurt and eating a banana, thinking that was lunch.  Monica returned and threw something into the back on top of the vegetables.  It made flapping and rustling sounds, clucked and settled down.  She had bought a young cockerel to take home.  Julius arrived with 3 bags of nyana choma (roast meat), source unknown.  I assumed it was goat and dived in.  Also in the bag was the animal’s liver, roasted and cut into bite-size pieces, which I immediately started on – very good!

I was interested in Limuru because it is the birthplace of Ngugi waThiong’o, whose writing was the subject of my Master’s thesis.  I saw the approximate locations of both his birthplace and the theater he had started, which was bulldozed during the Kenyatta years.  Then I thought, “What a great day!”  Now home to relax.  NOT hardly!  We headed toward the escarpment of the great Rift Valley.  We had just returned Thursday from the Masai Mara, and here I go again!  The roads had not changed in the previous 48 hours, so I clenched my stomach muscles and hung on.  We stopped at three curio shops and my cries of “I’ve bought enough!” fell on deaf ears.

We wound up at Julius’ chamba and had tea and cocoa at his house.  Then I was introduced to his 6 sheep, 3 cows and 2 calves, being told to mind where I stepped!  A trip to the pit toilet relieved my discomfort and I then received a guided tour of the cabbage and corn.  He also has an entire hillside of tea plants.  The area was beautiful and the company very good, so no complaints.  Now time to head home!

The trip back to the Nairobi area in Saturday evening traffic took 2+ hours.  It was after 8 p.m. and I was thinking, “home soon; relax!”  Again it was no!  I must say I was asked if I was okay to make an extra stop.  And my groan fell on deaf ears.  So we stopped at Rev. Henry Kaira’s new house.  He was having a meeting – a Spouses’ Club, I believe.  Room was made for me in an armchair; I clutched my water bottle, and promptly closed my eyes and fell asleep.  I awoke later (not too much later, I hope!) to find myself being asked to introduce myself and address the 50+ people stuffed into Henry’s living room.  I did, sat down, and dozed off again.  When the meeting broke up, we headed home.  It was after 10 when we arrived, and Monica began cooking supper.  She had heated water for me, so I could bathe with a dishpan.  I excused myself, too tired to eat, said goodnight to Julius, Monica and the kittens, bathed and went to bed.  The next morning I inquired about the flapping passenger in the back of the car.  He had joined the other chickens, and they didn’t like him yet, adding their abuse to the trial of Saturday.  Julius said they would adjust.

Sunday morning, minus  breakfast, too nervous to really eat.  I want off with Julius to Tena Church.  Made welcome, I was able to speak to the children assembled for me in the sanctuary.  Then came the English service, with me as guest speaker.  It was a teaching sermon on the Holy Spirit, and well received.  Now I know what sort a sermon goes over well with the Kenyans.  A 20-30 minute sermon is perfect, so I won on both counts.  [Tena Church, btw, seeks a partner congregation!]

I had a quick tour of the church compound and we made our escape to home, dinner and relaxation.  Julius wanted to take me to the Bomas of Kenya, but I convinced him otherwise. We arrived at the Guest House about 5 p.m.  Don, Ann and Sabrina were already there, and no one was really hungry, so we ordered pizzas, three of them.  Then we repacked to leave 7:30 a.m. for Kibwezi.  A quick shower (felt so good!) and shampoo, to bed and sleep wouldn’t come.  I kept re-running the events of the weekend in my mind until I drifted off.  My last thoughts were about how I would carry my many soapstone figures home on the plane.

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