Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Snakes, Spaghetti, and Safari

For starters, we just killed a Cobra next to one of our water tanks. Not cool. John (one of the Kenyan staffers) said we could eat it for dinner, and I said I was quite suddenly a vegetarian. I think I will sleep with Sara in the upper bunk tonight.
I cooked dinner Saturday night. The kids have their own dinner cooked by Easter (another Kenyan staffer) so we volunteers take turns cooking for each other. Now, I’m a decent cook. I’m no Emmeril but I get the job done and it turns out pretty good. Everyone was returning from Nairobi and busy doing other things so after Jakob thrust some pasta into my hands, I got to work. Keep in mind that all we have to choose from is pasta or rice as the base and then the only vegetables we have are tomatoes, potatoes, onion, avocado, and a little garlic. I decided on a simple tomato sauce with a little onion and garlic. It would have been decent too….if I hadn’t over cooked the pasta. I’m not really sure how it happened, but by the time I got Sara to help me drain the water, there wasn’t much left. In fact, there was none. The pasta was a mushy blob with zero flavor, like porridge as the Germans put it. When everyone came in tired and ready for their meal, and I pointed out what I had made, I could see them struggling not to grimace. Michael said something about hiring someone to bring us food, Sara said she wasn’t hungry, Maike said she could cook some eggs, Jakob ate two helpings (but the kid eats anything), and John took one bite before putting it back and eating a piece of bread. Last night, I offered to cook again but they immediately shot me down and said not to worry about cooking. I suppose, in a way, this is a good thing but I refuse to leave with the reputation of a bad cook! I will succeed! Feel free to send me ideas. : )
Yesterday, we took the children on safari (meaning vacation) to Paradise Lost outside of Nairobi. We left the project around 8:30 and got off the matatu in the park at 11:30. Because the children are not used to long car rides, along the way 8 kids got sick and 5 of them actually threw up. Luckily, we were prepared with bags. First, we divided the kids up and took them out for a boat ride on the lake. I was partnered with Sara and four of the girls. At the beginning, it was nice and easy with an occasional splash to the other boats (Sara can never pass up an opportunity to get other people wet, including myself). But after some time, we had to head back to the shore and it was against the current. It was a slow process with the girls shouting to go faster and Sara shouting instructions. On top of it all, my knees got badly burnt. I liked it though.
Then we hiked up to some caves for a tour and afterward, rode a camel. Cool right? Yeah, not when the camel looks like he wants to bite your head off. I got some great pictures of the kids because their facial expressions were classic! Sara and I got to go after the kids and it was fun….until the camel went down at the end for us to get off. I thought I was going to go head over Sara and straight into the ground. Of course, she seemed even more traumatized than me. We had a good time. And on the way back, only two kids threw up. Though, there were holes in both bags so that made for a really pleasant drive in the hot and crammed matatu.
Today, Sara is starting work at a clinic in Kisarian, about 10 klm away, so I am on my own in creating work for the kids. I’m trying to start a new system that is more organized and actually helps the kids learn something. They seem to be under the impression that they get a say in how things are run. It’s been pretty chaotic up to this point so I hope it works!
That’s all for now. I hope everyone is doing well!


  1. mushy pasta, huh? If we ever live together...I'll do the cooking ;-)

  2. I have no doubt that you will redeem yourself! At least we still know you're a better cook than me!!

    I love that you got to go on safari to Paradise Lost!! it just sounds so cool!!