Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Trip to Kenya

I've been wanting to blog about my trip to Kenya, but the internet at home has been horribly slow.  Not only that, but I've also had a bad cold and have been pretty tired and going to bed early.  I think I'm finally kicking the cold, but still have a sinus headache today.  In fact today, I came home at noon, didn't even say anything to John, got in bed, and slept for over an hour.  Poor John thought something was really wrong with me.  I was just too tired to even think about lunch or conversation!

I was really happy that I got to travel with Carol to Kenya.  She helps me with personnel stuff for our mission hospital.  We had to take three planes to get there...Niger to Abuja, Nigeria; Nigeria to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya.  We arrived at one in the morning, but by the time we got to our guest house it was nearly three.  We slept until eight, then ate breakfast and went in a bus to the conference center where we spent the rest of the week.  You can look at the Brackenhurst Conference Centre website here.

Wow!  What a beautiful place!  The Kenyans are master gardeners with flowers growing everywhere.

 It wasn't unusual in Nairobi to see cut flowers in buckets being sold on street corners.  Every day at Brackenhurst they put fresh flowers on the dining room tables.

We had sessions all day and into the evening.

 But we also had fabulous meals and both morning and afternoon tea.
Enjoy the grass and sunshine during one of our breaks.
I sure enjoyed the cooler climate, too.  Carol and I left our window open just a bit at night and then snuggled under blankets.  Here I am in front of the room we shared.

 The sessions were really good.  I think most helpful for me, though, was meeting other personnel coordinators and finding out how they do things and what some of their biggest challenges and joys are.  I was also able to present our field's security documents as well as outline how we put together our child protection policy.

One afternoon we had a longer break and were able to walk through the tea plantations.  This area of Kenya has the perfect climate for tea growing.  I wish we'd had time to tour one of the factories and find out more about the process of getting the tea from the bush to the cup.  Of course I went home with some Kenyan tea!
The white dots are tea-pickers hard at work.

Our trip back was fine, but pretty tiring.  We had to leave our guest house at around 2 a.m. and there had been some kind of partying going on downstairs that made what little sleep I did get pretty fitful.  All of our flights were jam-packed.  The man sitting next to me on our longest flight recognized me from the trip going to Kenya....we were apparently on the same flight a week earlier.   He obviously made the trip numerous times as he kind of helped us all during our layover in Nigeria.

It sure felt good to get back home, though I have had a cold ever since coming back.  I'm glad I didn't have it in Kenya, anyway.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I Collect....

Today's photo challenge was to be what you collect.  My collection is....elephants.

When I was a baby I was quite chubby.  Or so the story goes.  I really don't remember!  My dad was studying Hausa at the time and started calling me "Giwa" which is Hausa for "elephant".  The name stuck even though for most of my growing-up years I was quite thin and scrawny.

I've left most of my elephants in storage in the USA.
Part of my collection on display when we lived in Maryland.  I left all of these behind when we returned to Africa.
 I don't have much place here for that kind of thing, don't want to spend time dusting them as we fight a losing battle with Sahara dust here, and some day we'll retire and I'll want them permanently in the US anyway.

So if you visited me here you'd not see much evidence of my collection.

Actually, I'm quite picky.  I don't like cutesy kinds of elephants and I don't buy them just to add to my collection.  I try to get ones that look quite realistic and are different from others that I have.

A few years ago John and I went to a conference in Thailand.  While there we got to ride an elephant, to feed an elephant, and to be lifted in the trunk of one.  That was a lot of fun to see one of these powerful and extremely intelligent beasts up close. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Not a Particularly Profound Post Pertaining to "P"s

I've been following the FMSPhotoaDay photo challenge list.  Today's photo was to be something that starts with a "P".  I think "P" is a cool sounding letter with its explosion of air.  Writing a "P" in cursive is one of my least favorite letters, though.  Here are a few "P" pictures I took today.

Wearing a PURPLE dress, sitting in a PEW, listening to PASTOR Kimso, PRESIDENT of AMEEN, PREACH to the PEOPLE.

A PLASTIC bag stuck in a tree.


Which PASTA shall we have for lunch?


PRINGLES...which one do you think is John's can and which is mine?

A bottle of PERFUME and PURPLE kente cloth on my dresser




PRICKLY leaves and stems on lantana

And last, but not least a PARTIAL solar eclipse (see how the circle is slightly flat on top?