Friday, August 25, 2006

Things I find interesting, amusing and/or ironic

(This is a list I compiled over the last week)

1. Coming out of Kisumu there are hills with very large boulders that have been exposed over time. A lot of times, there are houses around the boulders, which were obviously built around them, but it always looks to me like huge boulders just dropped in somebody’s front yard.

2. Matatus (public minibuses) have now been regulated in Kenya. They have seatbelts, regulated routes and are not supposed to carry more than 14 passengers. So, on the way to Kisumu, we have 15 people. One hops out before getting to the police checkpoint and then catches up and gets back in once we pass through. On the rural routes a full matatu is still 17, which is a tight squeeze, although it’s a significant reduction from 27. People also drape the seatbelts over their laps as we pass through the checkpoint to look like they're wearing them.

3. My ears are finely attuned to hearing “mzungu.” Today, I was the main attraction in the road by our house. I joked with my host dad that we should open a stand, “Greet the mzungu” and charge everyone a shilling. I think they would actually come.

4. Soda is made from real sugar – none of that corn syrup junk. Here people eat corn (maize) instead of turning it into yucky sweeteners because they are subsidized to grow too much.

5. There are so many stars, especially now when there’s no moon visible. We’re just near the equator, but we’re still north of it, so I’m not sure if I’m seeing northern stars or southern stars. The only one I recognize is the southern cross, but I haven’t looked for any northern ones, forgetting that I am actually north of the equator (barely).

6. I feel like I’m finally getting summer, now that it’s almost over at home. The weather in Arusha in June and July was a bit chilly, but here now it’s hot and sunny. I’m glad for it, but I wish I could wear shorts.

7. Anything and everything can be a toy in the village: a wadded up plastic bag that we throw like a ball, the same bag open that we hit like a balloon, an empty plastic bottle, rocks, dirt, whatever.

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