|Posted on January 5, 2014 at 1:55 AM|
Hi everyone, hope you all had a great xmas. Ours was a rollercoaster ride to say the least.!
The absolute BEST part of our day was when we took some quality time out while we were alone, to open the Baileys, add ice then ring our kids who were together in Qld. It was GREAT to hear their voices, (even though it was a bad line) but it was enough to help shed a few tears, especially when Bob heard Ella on the phone saying: “Opa”.
(yes, we are lucky enough to have cold drinks and ice with our great fridge in the Travelander camper….. our only downfall at this moment is that our National Luna fridge in the car has turned it’s toes up for some reason. We think the thermostat but not sure, and hard to help at xmas.)
Soon after it was time to go to Fred’s house for lunch. (Joseph’s bother and the closest next house to ours). Suzy & Cate had gone over earlier to see if they needed hand making lunch and swiftly was given the entire job. (hence our quality alone time). Lunch ended up being around 3pm outside under the trees with the occasional heard of cows, sheep & goats walking past. Fred’s family cooked up their half of the sheep, (we had the other half which Nareshoo cooked for tea). So for lunch was sheep stew, Ugali (maize meal, thick porridge) and rice… the absolute crowning glory for all is the sodas that were supplied. (their special occasion). There were about 20 – 25 people in total, (kids & adults) and once the meal was over I went round to all the kids and gave them a little bag lollies that we made up the day before. The adults were given a chocolate treat. Soon we moved on back to our place and put a bit of xmas music on our car speakers and I soon had 5 or 6 kids dancing, skipping & running around with me. Didn’t take long and we were in full swing having to cook the meat we had prepared for the xmas dinner.
We lit the fire in the jiko (bbq), set out the sheep legs to cook in foil & later cut up into small pieces, then chicken portions, & potatoes, while I cooked butternut and carrots on the cooktop. Nareshoo brought over the rice and stew that she cooked. THEN THEY CAME. THE MULTITUDES CAME!!!! At first, there was 10 kids, and about 6 adults, … but they kept coming… AND COMING until we had roughly 50 Random people squashed in the house with a mass of kids on the floor, which was now covered in greasy food bits and cow shit. At first, as we dished up the meal, we were not concerned, but as the hordes of people kept coming, it made it VERY difficult to ration out such small portions. (lucky I started that way to being with). We were amazed that everyone did have a plate and get fed….. but even more amazed to see the absolute WASTE that was left over on the plates. Once again there was soda for everyone which was supplied by Joseph and Fred. By the time they were all finished and I had collected the plates, it was time to start cooking the custard. Only problem is, the 4 lts of milk that I had for the custard was totally OFF…. so it was just finely cut slivers of xmas cake by itself in the bowls which we had to enjoy while enduring the sound of the very annoying alarm that was warning us continuously that our solar power is about to fail.
(the dogs managed to get a good feed the next day with all the food and sour milk that was left over…. Merry xmas doggies)!!!! Finally everyone left and we were left there wondering what just happened. Good for us to ‘experience’ the maasai xmas…. But it did end being quite a ‘draining’ day. Next day was market day, so Bob took Suzy & Cate to Aitong while I spent 2 hours ‘scrubbing’ the floor, (luckily I had bought bleach and cleaners previously).
Friday was a day I prefer not to remember at all. Joseph and about 500 other people went to the chiefs funeral, (he died on Sunday, the same day as James wedding.), while we drove the 2 hours that it takes to get to Narok. We had to get the girls back to the Matatu (mini bus) so they could get home to Nairobi. We also had to pick up supplies for our supposed safari on Saturday plus pick up the letter (free pass into the Mara) from John S. who had arranged to meet us there at 10am. Well, we waited, and once again John did not show… so he instead sent on another fellow to get the letter from one of the offices and then get it signed at the council chambers. Once again… we got the royal run-around when they don’t DO what they say they will. We drove to the council chambers to find no-one there, so with even more time wasted & having to drop the girls off at the bus stop with a very quick ‘bye girls’, we agreed that we will cancel the safari. So, onward we travel, finally getting home at 5pm only to find yet another issue to be dealt with. This time our girls who we just dropped off, got the strong rebuke from us, which is a very sad way to end our time with them. As they say….. lord…. Give me strength.
Speaking of lord, loosely. ….. that gave us our next test. EVERY NIGHT for the PAST WEEK the church which is only 500mts from us, has been preaching and BLASTING it’s music ALL NIGHT…. EVERY NIGHT. Their speaker system are the large type that you see on stages, so it truly does pack a punch. And with the way they yell into the microphones, first one preacher, then the other one follows, then the music comes in like a tv game show…. Well it all got too much for Bob, and at 5am this morning he drove over to the church to ask them to turn it down. As you can imagine, the response was that they were doing the lords work. There was a total of 9 people in there, most of them were the preachers walking in circles, taking turns at screaming & probably going deaf at the same time) As best as I can recall, Jesus was a quiet man who found no need to scream at people, no need to abuse their hearing and certainly did not pertain to sleep deprivation. God’s work???? (VERY SELFISH…Where is the CARE & CONCERN FOR THE PEOPLE….the saga continues).
On a lighter note, the highlight last Sunday was the wedding of James and his new bride. (one of our family members here). Somehow we got roped in to being the wedding car. So with ‘the Office” looking smart with flowers on the front, orange webbing left over from our tie-downs and blue baling twine that I had previously platted, (that was the only colourful ‘ribbon’ we had around)…we picked up the bride, & followed the convoy: of the priest and dad, the bikes, the big bus, the grooms car, and then us. … and slowly onto the church we went. Once we arrived we found all the guests had formed a path leading to the church. A group of maasai dressed in full maasai dress then sang & lead the Naimodu men the way into the church, then after that, they came back to do the same thing for the bride, but first the woman laid kangas, (material) on the ground, all the way to the church, so that the bride could walk on these and not the dirt. With everyone singing and chanting it was really quite a moving event. Once inside the church, each family went to their respective sides of the church and the preachers screamed out their sermon with the help of the big speakers (which was deafening)… and founded mostly on: ‘how good it is to have a wife”…. I didn’t hear them say how good it is to have a husband.??!!** Finally the bride & groom got together, gave rings, pronounced married, then fed each other the wedding cake and drink… from there, they had to go around to both families and feed each member of the family personally.
It was a really interesting wedding which I am glad we had the chance to witness. It was not completely traditional, as the church side is not traditional at all. After the wedding was over, we took more photos outside the church, (yes, we were also the ‘selected’ photographers) and then it was back to the Naimodu manyatta where the celebrations took place. We had no idea that our house was going to be part of the ritual, but after dropping off the bride & groom, we came back to find a dozen men or so, sitting on our porch waiting to be let in so they could be fed. Nice to know! Inside, we found the women in our small kitchen dishing out the food into enough bowls to feed everyone. The men came in, sat down, ate, then just as quickly and quietly, they left. Out of all those men, there was ONE who actually acknowledged us and thanked for the meal. (not just me as a women, but both of us… ANY of us who took the time to prepare & serve them).
Later, we went over to the main area. People came to eat, greet the bride & groom, have a soda, and then they left. (there is NO alcohol at any of these events now…. Only soda, and mainly sheep stew, rice & ugali). Because the chief of this area up and died earlier on this morning, many people went over to the chiefs manyatta to pay their respects after the wedding, calling it a rather early finish than usual.
The day before all this was yet another celebration, this time it was a circumcision celebration for one of the local boys. He had been circumcised a couple of weeks earlier, now days it is all done in the hospital in the Dec. school holidays,… the age is generally around 15 years old and still looked forward to by the boys, as they see it as a big part of their manhood. SO; with the dice and slice already taken care of, it was the official ‘celebration day party. Once again, people from the entire district are welcome to come, so preparing food and soda for up to 300 or 400 people, is a huge task. Actually they never have any idea how many people will come so it can be either not enough or tons of waste.
Going back to the chiefs funeral…. We were amazed at the out-pouring given to the chiefs 4 wives and a total of 50 children and grandchildren. (he was not exactly poor) We learnt that EVERYONE in the district had to donate a sheep or 3000shilling (equivalent to a sheep, roughly $40-aus.) Also, for each circumcised boy you have, you must also pay another 3000sh. Which when you have 5 or 6 boys, that can work out quite a lot of money or sheep.!! On top of this, they slaughtered 30 sheep and 2 bulls to feed all the people on the day of the funeral, (they had been killing about 3 sheep a day to feed the visitors in the lead up to the funeral)… plus, 100 crates of soda. PLUS, all of those 50 kids will be given new suits to wear at the funeral… all of which is supplied by the community. At last count we heard they had given over 500,000shillings to the chiefs family. (that is roughly aus$6,500- so you can understand our frustration & disbelief when you can’t even get them to buy anything that will help the community.) All I can say, is they work in strange ways here.
Finally, with Fred’s help we managed to get our safari into the Massai Mara. It meant we only had 2 nights there this time, but it was LOVELY. For the first time, we were able to camp right in the bush alongside a river which was filled with many hippo and crocodiles. No fences, no guard rails… it was simply THE BEST CAMP SPOT we have ever had. Or first spot overlooked a valley/plain down below, where there was a lone elephant grazing.., a real big tusker. (he had a collar on, as many of the big old tuskers do here now, because the poaching is so bad, they are trying to keep track of the them and protect them as much as they can. Baboons were abundant, as were the antelope grazing close by. We had not long came back from seeing the pride of lions, so we knew they were not too far off. It is amazing to sit in the dark at night, with just your camp fire and listen to the call of the lions and hyenas around you…. As well as the many other animals. At that particular spot, it was also the main route for the hippo who come out of the water at night to graze on the grass, so we had to be careful when it was time to find a place to squat when the urge arrived at night.
Keeping an eye on the time, knowing it was around midnight on new years eve back home, we sat the car as we waited for the rain to stop, and we rang our kids back home, most fortunate that we actually had a signal there.!! It was great to fill that distant gap and be able to wish them HAPPY NEW YEAR as it was about to happen. For us, (me, Bob & Joseph) we sat around our camp fire listening to the night time sounds reminisisng of years gone by. It truly was a beautiful way to spend our New years eve, (of-course with a baileys and ice). In the morning, there was no rush to pack up and we had time to make bacon and eggs for breakfast and sit again next our fire which was easily revived & take the first official 2014 photos. Just as we did start to pack up the camper though, a elephant appeared out of the bushes just on the opposite bank. He straddled his way down the steep slope til he got to the water… then another one appeared. At first it seemed that the first ele wanted to cross the river, (which they do frequently), but the second ele was not so sure, so they just grazed for a while, then melted back into the thick bush and were gone. Back down in the river, we found 3 hippo playing. Not sure if it was a mum teaching her young or not, but the 3 of them were rolling over and over and it was so funny to see one with his legs in the air up out of the water. This was some of the best photo shots I have had of hippos in all these years of travelling here. We had many good animal sightings but I think my favourite this time was seeing the 2 lioness’ in the tree…. Something I had not expected here.
Due to the amount of rain we had in the mara, it was very slippery to get around, & black cotton soil is a bugger to get stuck in, so, being happy with our safari we chose not to go onto leopard gorge this time, and just headed home.
UPDATE: We FINALLY have left Olemoncho and arrived at Kisumu yesterday... our first stop off before heading into Uganda. This is a beautiful camp right on the bank of Lake Victoria, (still in Kenya). Being our first time of being totally ALONE since we left Mombasa, we are quite enjoying oursleves, but will need to head into Uganda soon, as our car is having a bit of a issue. we think it is the turbo that sounds like it is slipping, will look into it more today, but should get into Uganda first toget it fixed. there is a great chance that if we try to fix it here in Kenya, and it takes longer than expected... then we could outstay our visa, so we better keep moving.
Once again i am sorry this is such a long blog, and some of you may of seen it on my facebook... but for those who haven't... i hope you enjoy staying updated.
Bye for now everyone…HOPE 2014 IS STUPENDOUS YEAR FOR YOU… and I mean that in the most POSITIVE way I can.
HAPPY & SAFE NEW YEAR.!!!!!!!
Categories: Kenya, & Living with the Maasai 2013