A Travellerspoint blog

Quick stop in Bangkok

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We chose Thailand for our first Asia stop because their arms are open to lazy travelers like us who haven’t planned ahead for visas. They hand them out like candy upon arrival. Plus, practically every cheap Asian airline flies there so it’s a good jumping point. Oh, then there’s the cheap food and the massages which we suffered through while waiting on our Myanmar visas.

The hotel, Feung Nakorn Balcony Hotel, was a huge score because it was in a non-touristy area with lot of local flavor. I’m not sure why they put ‘Balcony’ in the name because they really didn’t have balconies, just open walkways. It was mostly a residential area along some quiet canals. I didn’t even think this still existed in Bangkok. It was like walking through their living rooms as everyone’s small homes are opened to the street, which is really just an extension of their home. And then there was the street food (angels singing in the background). I think I mentioned before that Africa is not known for culinary delights, so we made up for lost time. It doesn’t help that an entire meal was about $1 on the street. Hawkers came and went all day long, each specializing in something we just HAD to try. In this area, most of the people did not speak a word of English, so ordering was a crapshoot although I don’t remember being disappointed once. Menus that did have an English translation were a hoot but didn’t help much, though at least you knew when you were getting “assorted meats.”

Here piggy piggy

Here piggy piggy

There was a beautiful little park nearby where people relaxed by the goldfish filled ponds or went for some outdoor exercise. We went a few times to walk/run and watching the monitor lizards and turtles helped to distract from the thought that you might actually be melting. Nearly every day topped 100 degrees. Now I like hot weather, but this was ridiculous.

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We went for Thai massages almost every day. I know… it’s excessive. But this was our little piece of heaven. Honestly, Thai massages aren’t always pleasant. Some of these viscous ladies turn it into a crash course in contortionism, putting you in positions that would have scored you a gold medal in Twister. Other times it feels like they are giving nooggies with their elbows (flashbacks of my brothers’ torture sessions). But in the end, you feel great. We even splurged $25 for a 2.5 hour massage one evening. If I get any more relaxed, I’ll just turn into jello.

We had been to Thailand before, so weren’t really trying to do any site seeing, but our hotel was right next to the Grand Palace. It’s a must see, but we had been there before. Right next to the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, so we took the opportunity to check it off the list. It’s smaller, but similar to the glory of the Grand Palace and has the giant reclining Buddha.

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The giant reclining Buddha

The giant reclining Buddha

The entire interior of the giant Buddha building was covered in artwork that almost went unnoticed by the visitors. A shame as every inch was hand painted.

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Wall art

Wall art

Wat Pho has a lot to offer and we spent the afternoon just wandering around in this fantasy world. It’s just amazing to imagine all the designing and work that went into the place. And even crowded with tourist, it is still a very spiritual place for Buddhists.

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Wax on, Wax off

Wax on, Wax off


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Looking good at Wat Pho

Looking good at Wat Pho


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After about 6 days our Burma visas were ready and we had no more excuses to hang around indulging in these little treats. Off to Burma!
Evening view of the Grand Palace

Evening view of the Grand Palace

Posted by leafturner 06.02.2013 20:40 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Addis Ababa

Rainer and I decided to head on to Asia, and Thailand seemed to be an easy start because you can get the visa on arrival. The cheapest ticket had an 18 hour layover in Addis Ababa. Now, the airport is not too shabby, but we opted to get a $20 visa and a taxi to hit the town.

We hit a few museums and markets where I learned of the soft and breezy Ethiopian cotton. Good stuff with some nice embroidery. But I went with a beautiful silver necklace and bracelet that was a little more luggage friendly. Travelling turns me into a shopper. I think it’s because I see all the beautifully styled women around and get envious.
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Our driver took us to a restaurant for traditional Ethiopian cuisine. At first we thought it might just be a tourist spot, but we were the only tourists there. It was a big round room with chairs and stools in some traditional décor along with just enough tacky stuff to make you smile. Our waiter was the sweetest man and recommended our dish along with a honey drink. The waiter assured us there was no alcohol as we were already sleepy from spending the night on the plane. So, we ordered 2 small glasses and learned that you buy it by the bottle. The taste… well, it was different in kind of a bad way, but it was an experience. About half way through the bottle, it started tasting pretty good and that’s when we realized our waiter didn’t understand our question. The food was all eaten by hand, and a flavor explosion.
Drinking Tej

Drinking Tej

Traditional Ethiopian cuisine

Traditional Ethiopian cuisine


Several locals showed up after us, including a wedding party. It did get a little weird when we realized that all 5 groups chose to sit on the other half of the room. Awkward. Maybe it was the holes in my sneakers. I hit the bathroom before we left. It was a flushing squat toilet, which was no problem. Well, no problem until I flushed. Apparently this restaurant had the strongest water pressure in all if Africa because it pushed the water from the bowl in a rush onto the floor… and soaked my sneakers. Gross.

We asked the driver to stop in a shady spot to sleep off our honey wine (Tej) in the van. Afterward, the driver then suggested an Orthodox Tewahedo Church. From what I understand, it is a very old pre-colonial version of Christianity, but different then Catholic Orthodox. We arrived just in time for a prayer service. Several people leaning on prayer staff’s, most wrapped in the gauzy white cotton shawls, chanting mystically. Mesmerizing.
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Finally we took our last steps in Africa and boarded the flight for Asia. It wasn’t a great feeling. We had grown quite comfortable in East Africa and were in no hurry to leave. But when you have one year to do crazy stuff, you can only look forward.

Posted by leafturner 04.14.2013 17:16 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (0)

Zanzibar again

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We finished in Kenya and were waiting on the organization to decide if they needed our help on setting up a new location for them in Dar Es Salaam. We headed Zanzibar to give them a little more time. Yep, taking one for the team. The hotel we stayed at before was booked the first week, so we headed to Matemwe at the northern end of the island. After one long night in a budget steam closet, Rainer scored a mega deal with a small luxury resort around the corner. I’ve never been much of a luxury or resort lover, but at this point, it kind of hit the spot.
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The resort food was good, but dainty and expensive. So, we continued to eat at the budget place where Mama Chef, as we referred to her, cooked up our selection from the fish market next door.
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Once we were all spoiled out and budget conscious again, we moved back to our old haunt at Jambiani beach where I think we actually did absolutely nothing for about another week. AGAIN.

Posted by leafturner 04.14.2013 17:15 Archived in Tanzania Comments (2)

Mt. Elgon site visit

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We didn’t get to do many site visits in Kenya, but I wanted to throw this one to prove we were working. I know it’s hard to tell from this blog. Office pics are boring, so here’s our visit to the Mt. Elgon community that one of the staff members fled after the 2007 election violence. It was an interesting site because they used an existing gravity powered piping system that already existed. Our first stop was the treatment system at the top where we provided entertainment for the kids while one of our engineers checked the system.

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We needed to collect samples from different taps going down the mountain to assure that the quality of water was good through the entire structure. I used the opportunity to provide some field test training. The kids were all chatting away, and the director explained that the girls were saying that I was smartly dressed and that my hair was a smooth as a river stone. I like this crowd.

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But, as we went down, we found that there was no water coming from the lower taps. When we asked, they first said that there was not enough water produced for the entire system, so the lower areas were blocked off except for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. This hardly seemed adequate and this had not been an issue when the system was installed. After more probing, the truth started to come out. It was a political thing. Ugh, again. This meant more work for the community development team. They spend a lot of time working out community issues to make sure everyone has access to clean water.

The worst part was the hospital. We were shocked to find that they were also cut from the clean water most of the day. To compensate, they had opened the tanks and targeted the gutters to add rain water in with the clean water and all the debris that had now collected inside the tank. Sometimes it is one step forward, two back.

Posted by leafturner 04.14.2013 17:15 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Kitale children’s home

We were invited to visit a children’s home ran by a friend of one of our colleague. It had been started by a member of the Coors family… as in the beer. We’ve learned that orphanages are tricky and you have to be careful. First, not all are based on good intentions. Many just do it for the money donations that don’t end up going towards the children. Second, there is always the argument that it’s better to support the children’s extended family or community members in taking care of the child, rather than moving them out of their communities and into an orphanage. In theory, I completely support that view. However, as we’ve been told time and again, sometimes the extended families abuse the children and don’t use the financial support for the child. Or, thanks to AIDS, there are few adult family members left, but a multitude of orphans. With unlimited social services, it might be possible, but many of these areas just aren’t there yet. So, well intentioned children's homes are sometimes the only option to solve the immediate tragedy, giving the child a safe place with food and school. Definitely not ideal, but better than leaving them to become the next glue boy. So, it’s complicated.

Another issue is volunteers. Most homes can use the helping hands, but the children get attached quickly and then the volunteer leaves. While the volunteer feels good about themselves, the child is left once again. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, but it’s complicated. It might be better to donate money so they can have enough long term staff.

We just stopped for an afternoon of playing. First we enjoyed the trip to the home with two of the older children. They had finished the school year with top grades and a trip to town wiht some fries and a Fanta was the reward. Upon arrival, we took a tour of the spiffy new compound and the agricultural area used to provide food for the children and for teaching. Then Rainer popped out a soccer ball and the games began.
Innovative stove

Innovative stove


Rainer getting his shoes tied

Rainer getting his shoes tied


After a good game

After a good game

I sat on the side with the young and the shy and the matrons. English wasn’t so easy, so I used my backup plans. First, I gave one of the kids my camera to take pictures. She was a natural.
The photographer

The photographer


After snacks

After snacks

Second ice breaker was fingernail polish. I painted the nails of at least 20 girls. They even asked me to do the 1-2 year olds. Of course I worried they might chew it off, but I didn’t see any of them sucking their thumbs. Is that a western thing? The little ones seemed to get it as they sat statue still while I painted and then walked around for the next hour with their fingers fanned out. The only downside was one little boy who was crushed to find out that it was only for the girls. I would have done his anyway, but that was not going to fly with these folks.
Pretty girl

Pretty girl


After I finished with the girls, the matrons urged me to the TV room where the kids got to watch NatGeo, and then one matron quietly asked if I’d paint their nails too. These sweet women got their toes painted too! I was completely floored how grateful they were. I’m probably the worst nail painter, but everyone seemed happy with my work. A couple of the girls said no to the nail painting, but I saw them watching longingly. I started asking why, and one explained that school was the next day and they were not allowed to have painted nails at school. So, I pulled out a small bottle of remover and explained to the head matron and an older girl how to use it and warned that it was a poison if swallowed and flammable. They understood and the school girls got to sport the red polish for at least a day.
One of the matrons

One of the matrons


A few of the kids seemed quite solemn, but one of the older girls absolutely broke my heart. She wore a complete closed off look the entire time and it was impossible to even coax a small grin from her. The staff said many of them arrived with real issues. I think they used the word ‘damaged’.

Sad girl with the little ones

Sad girl with the little ones

I thought I had managed not to be more than a bit of entertainment until the end. One girl, maybe 4 years old, was getting a little tired and cranky. I let her sit on my lap a bit before we left. When I put her down to leave, she sobbed and sobbed. I don’t really know if it was me leaving that brought the tears, but it sure made me feel awful. Then several asked if we could please come back tomorrow. It’s complicated.

Posted by leafturner 04.14.2013 17:13 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Mt. Elgon, Saiwa Swamp

We try to get out for some hikes when possible. Kitale has Saiwa Swamp that was created to protect a rare species of water antelope, but also had monkeys and such. The real adventure was just finding the place. We spent one day taking every possible road out of Kitale and asking around, before finally noticing the huge beautiful sign posted in town. We did ask about 20 people and everyone pointed us in a different direction. Many of them could hardly direct us to the next big town. And although our maps drew crowds, no one really knew what to make of them. Some of it may have been miscommunication, but if you think about it, most don’t have cars and don’t have the luxury of travelling very far. Our staff only knew because they drove around for work. Few had the opportunity to even visit a national park in their own country. So, how would they know?

The Saiwa Swamp Park is really small and can be seen in its entirety on one 7km hike. I think we may have been one of the few people to ever actually do the whole 7km by the reaction of the gate guard. She tried to talk us out of it because it was just too far, and why would you do it if you could take the short cut? Unless you are training for the Olympics or playing sports, no one really saw the point in being physically active by choice. After seeing some of the back-breaking chores like carrying water to your home or mowing with a machete, you can understand why. However, the middle and upper classes are growing and they tend to do less of these strenuous activities and diabetes is becoming a problem. Welcome to our world. So we enjoyed the hike in solitude.

Near Kitale there is another National Park that is shared with Uganda which protects some of the Mt. Elgon area. We arranged an overnight trip with some colleagues and other guests that were staying at the compound. The goal was to reach the top of one of the peaks, starting a few hours from the top. We hired a guide because we didn’t know our way or how adventurous the others might be. Plus, there are plenty of animals including elephants wandering around. Our guide’s name was Phillip, or as I referred to him, Liar Liar Pants on Fire. I say this because Phillip was outright deceiving the entire way in regards to “how much further?” This was one of the toughest hikes I’ve done mainly due to the 4000m elevation, and I think I might have quit long before reaching the top had it not been “just 15 more minutes”. It was some pretty great scenery and our group kept each other going, so no regrets. When I confronted Phillip about his crooked ways, he explained that if someone didn’t make it the whole way, he would have felt he failed in his job. You gotta love that.
Still smiling

Still smiling


My kind of fairy tale scenery

My kind of fairy tale scenery


Awesome!

Awesome!


Just another crazy plant

Just another crazy plant


We made it!

We made it!


Proof

Proof


We spent the night in the parks cabanas that slept 3 people each, with bathroom and basic kitchen, all for $25. There’s also a guy there to help build you a humongous campfire. Everyone jumped in to help with the cooking in all 4 kitchens and we ended the night in a feast by the campfire before falling into a coma.

The next day Phillip took us to see the caves. Animals come here at night to get the minerals from the soil and rocks.
Mouth of the cave

Mouth of the cave

We never made it to the second cave as we had requested. This is the point where I lost all fondness for Phillip. He said we had to do a steep 400 meter climb up to a bluff to see the next cave. In truth, there was no cave up there at all, just a nice view. Fool me once….fool me twice….

Posted by leafturner 04.14.2013 17:11 Archived in Kenya Comments (2)

Weekend in Marich Pass, Kenya

Down by the river

Down by the river


We were really hoping to make our way to northwestern Kenya’s Turkana regions. This area has been little visited because of really bad roads and we heard it was still very culturally authentic. Unfortunately, we only had the weekend with the car and it would take that long to get into the regions. We settled on the West Pokot region two hours’ drive away. This was a bonus because Rainer’s stomach was a little iffy, and we wouldn’t have to take extra fuel. There are really no tourist facilities in the area, but after hours of internet searching I found the Marich Pass Environmental Studies Center which can house up to 60 people at a time, and they’ll take anyone, even us. The drive was incredible with a mountain landscape we had not yet encountered. And you should have seen my jaw drop when we happened by some guys walking their camels. Need I say more? Now I know I haven’t seen it all yet, but that was one to check off the list. The Turkana region does have a lot of camels and even came racing. Maybe I’ll try that some day.
Camels on the way to Marich Pass

Camels on the way to Marich Pass

The cottage/bungalows were quite basic, but that's what we're shooting for right now. I woke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and froze as soon as I stepped out of bed. We were seriously out of town, it was as dark as dark gets, and I had a strange feeling the room had some nighttime visitors. Rainer heard me and asked what was up. Being the brave and loving husband he is, he got up and turned on the light for me. Sure enough, there were some crawlers near my feet. That is why you should always keep your flip flops by your bed in these kinds of places. The bathroom had a nice surprise too...
And along came a freaky huge spider... in our bathroom

And along came a freaky huge spider... in our bathroom


A monkey wishing the water to flow

A monkey wishing the water to flow


Hanging out by our room

Hanging out by our room

The Environmental Studies Center was a huge property with bungalows along the river. It was started by an Eritrean woman and her now late husband. We had some interesting conversations with her about their very interesting life, the center, and the local communities.
Gold can still be found in the area, and many women spend much of the day out in the river panning. There were a few dozen of them doing it all day just outside our compound. This is seen as women’s work as even the young boys would attest to. But, it appears as though most work around here is women’s work. The men can be quite lazy. The Eritrean woman confirmed that the gold panning rarely paid off though, normally earning only a dollar or so a day. They’d be better growing vegetables for sale, but she’s tried to talk to them and they’re not interested. Everyone is waiting to score the big nugget like a lottery.

Woman heading out to pan for gold

Woman heading out to pan for gold

Our outings were just walks along the shallow river. Along with the gold panning, we saw herders, clothes washing, bathing, and some kids just playing around in the water.

Life by the river

Life by the river


Taking a break in the heat

Taking a break in the heat

Some of the children spoke pretty good English which could probably be attributed to the community involvement and contributions of the Environmental Center. We had a good time with a group of girls, which started with Rainer offering up my hair to the curious. Before long everyone was in my hair chatting away and giving me the thumbs up for each new style they created. The mothers smiled and laughed, so we felt they were ok with it. As we left, the mothers waved and the girls gave us me hugs an shook Rainer’s hand. Another really good day!

My beauticians at Marich Pass

My beauticians at Marich Pass


Taking my sunglasses to a whole new level of coolness

Taking my sunglasses to a whole new level of coolness

Posted by leafturner 03.29.2013 04:44 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Snippet on Nairobi

We were in Nairobi twice, and I have to say I was a bit surprised. I had heard so many bad stories and the nickname said a lot… Nai – robbery. We did see a lot because of the handful of appointments we had, and there were definitely some slum areas, but not as harsh as we’ve seen in other places. Could be that we missed it. The posh areas were a whole new Africa experience for us. You can have your lattes and sushi while shopping in the mall. We had to remind ourselves that this was still Africa, which was easier when we went to Wilson Airport (a small domestic airport in Nairobi). There’s no luggage check in, but there is a small diner in the one, and only, room. Your tickets are handwritten and they personally come get you when it’s time to load up in the car, with your luggage, to drive to the strip. Arriving in Kitale’s airport was even better. You step off the plane where your luggage has been left on the grass, and you walk to a few chairs under a tree and wait for your ride.

Posted by leafturner 03.29.2013 00:30 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Christmas and New Years in Kenya

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About 10 days after we arrived in Kitale, we were told that they close the office over Christmas break... for over 2 weeks. No one had mentioned this before, but it was ok because we already had made plans to spend the holiday with Rainer’s dad who would be visiting with his wife for a wildlife/golf vacation.

We met them in Naivasha and stayed in an awesome house in a development with a golf course. Though it was a development, it was still in the sticks where the buffalo roamed… Really! Zebra and baboon too. I’m not much of a golfer, so I tried to go on walks down the dirt roads. The locals walked too, but warned that he buffalo were quite dangerous and a guy had just been gored the week before. We could see them roaming in the bush down below our house on the hill. But if the locals can do it, I can do it. I did the walk maybe 3 times (completely alone), and my knees would buckle every time I heard a noise in the bush. They said they are so fast, you won’t even see them coming, but my flipped out mind could see them coming and my heart couldn’t take it. So, I switched to just walking around the golf course. Chalk one up for the buffalo.

Living like a rock star... for a few days

Living like a rock star... for a few days


Cooking like a rock start

Cooking like a rock start


View from our rock star house

View from our rock star house

Some zebra hung out on the golf course. I’m not sure if it was by choice as most of that area seemed to be fenced in. But it was entertaining until Rainer’s dad hit a young one right between the eyes. Not on purpose of course. Thankfully, I wasn’t there but they said it staggered a bit but then seemed ok and just hid by the mother. Sad.

Half golfer, half zebra.  The little one is just resting.

Half golfer, half zebra. The little one is just resting.

I did golf once and learned how the caddies adored Rainer, one particularly. My caddy was Gladys. She was a hoot. She wore a purple satin skirt and tennis shoes, and took her caddying job quite seriously. Rainer told her I was new and that maybe she could help me. Big mistake. She spent the whole time breathing down my neck and could not stop giving directions long enough for me to hit the ball. “Why are you fearing the ball Michelle?” I told her I didn’t fear the ball, but I was fearing her because she never smiled and really looked angry. This broke her and we got along a bit better afterwards.

Golfing with the in-laws and our caddies, Gladys and John

Golfing with the in-laws and our caddies, Gladys and John

We did take one excursion out to the Nakuru National Park. It’s a small, but action packed park. My only real hope was to see the rhino, and 15 min. in, there he was. Mission accomplished.

Not Rainer..... RHINOOOOOO

Not Rainer..... RHINOOOOOO


Mama and baby

Mama and baby

We even came upon dead zebra that had been taken down by a group of lions, with one sitting nearby on guard. The rest of the pride lounged in the sun a kilometer or so away.

Lion in Nakuru National Park

Lion in Nakuru National Park

We stopped at a lookout where we found a group of not so shy baboons. I watched him snatch a pack of travel tissues from a young lady because he thought they were food. This, my friends, is why we don’t feed wild animals. We decided it was best to have our lunch in the car. This didn’t go unnoticed and soon we had two giving us the eyes through the front window where they sat. After a lengthy stare down, one peed on the window in protest. The other was fairly small and missing an eye. We all felt sorry for him, and our group voted against me and gave him a carrot. Then we watched as he fought off his fellow carrot lovers.

Staring through the windshield

Staring through the windshield


Why so serious?

Why so serious?


What a face!

What a face!


Just hanging with the baboon.

Just hanging with the baboon.


You have to love giraffes!

You have to love giraffes!

I spent the last couple days in bed with a stomach bug before we bid farewell to the in-laws. Since the office was still closed we headed towards Aberdare National Park. On the way we stayed at Thompson Falls to give me a couple more days to recover before we headed in.
Our Sweet Suite on New Year's Eve at Thompson Falls

Our Sweet Suite on New Year's Eve at Thompson Falls


Rainer watching football with a Masai on New Years Day

Rainer watching football with a Masai on New Years Day


Aberdare is one amazing park with few visitors because it’s so lush and therefore difficult to see animals. At one point we stopped on a hill to have lunch in the truck. And low and behold a leopard meandered right down the road in front of us. We followed him for a bit, and he didn’t seem to care. Later, we talked to some people who have spent years trying to see one. Lucky us!

Leopard in Aberdare NP

Leopard in Aberdare NP

We had no plans for the night and ended up scoring a great deal one of the upscale hotels in the park, called The Ark. Funny right? The highlight here was the watering hole just outside. The animals come here specifically for the natural minerals in the soil. I did question one of the staff who admitted that they now add minerals, but at least with the direction of the Kenyan Wildlife services. Anything for a buck. One end of the hotel was all windows facing the watering holes and it was pretty amazing to watch the activity even with the tinges of guilt. They also had buzzers in each room so that you could be woken during the night if anything exceptional happened with the animals during the night, like a leopard or hyena attack. We had trouble sleeping, so spent much of the night just watching alone in the dark with blankets. Oh I see how people can get sold on this, regardless of the consequences.

Watering hole view from The Ark

Watering hole view from The Ark

We headed through the high elevations the next day which had some spectacular vegetation change. There were also a couple of really gushing waterfalls. The rain during the night gave them some power, but it put some huge mud pits in the roads. Here, 4WD is not just for looks. As we hiked down to the biggest fall, we ran into a family with a guard and a gun. He was a little upset with us because we had come alone. The wild elephants here can be very dangerous. Ooops. And this is probably why two senseless muzungus should probably not be allowed alone in a national park. But it was a blast!
Waterfall in Aberdare NP

Waterfall in Aberdare NP


Awwwwwww

Awwwwwww


It's not a wig

It's not a wig

One stop at Nakumat (fancy huge western style supermarket) for some salami and gruyere, and then back to Kitale to work.

Posted by leafturner 03.27.2013 21:32 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Glue boys of Kitale

Kitale did have some appeal, but I’ll mostly remember it for the street kids, better known as the glue boys. It’s the same situation we had found in Jinja and Lilongwe, but there were far more here, they looked rougher, and the glue sniffing was hardly hidden. Several people could not tell us if anyone helped them, which I found disturbing. Others said there are many people helping, but they don’t want the help, or run away after a week or so in a home. They like the streets where they were proudly surviving without rules. Then, they eventually get hooked on the glue and they won’t give that up for anything… no matter how cold, sick or hungry.
For a multitude of reasons, these children leave their homes at some very early ages. Abuse, remarriage, no parents, in trouble or hate school. The nights can get really cold an no one wants them sleeping on their steps, let alone that they have little means of getting food besides digging through the trash, which you see a lot. We talked to several of them and told them “no glue and you need to go to school” or “glue makes you stupid.” They swore they did not sniff glue and that no one would help them. They looked like baby drug addicts, thin and dirty and they laughed and pointed at the lice that had climbed onto my shirt as I put an arm on them for a little human contact. We could see it in their eyes, and in seconds after we climbed into our car to leave, the glue bottle would dangle from their lips. If they happened to notice that we were watching, they’d just laugh.

I understand kids running away and drug addictions and I’m convinced there are lots of people trying to help them. But a few questions kept eating at me.

A) Why is it only boys?

B) I have trouble believing any kid would willingly stay on the street before getting addicted to glue if they had an option. Are they getting to these kids too late?

And C) You can’t just ignore those kids unwilling to go to a home because they are addicted and won’t give up the glue. Mature adults struggle with beating addictions with support. How could a child possibly be equipped to beat one alone? Should they be locked in for treatment?

These are just comments from an ignorant volunteer. I’m sure there are experienced people out there who have tried everything and have helped many. From what we understood, there are far less of them now because of all the people helping. I guess I’m just writing to not forget.

Here’s a link to a documentary about the glue boys here in Kitale if you are interested:
http://www.glueboys.com/themovie/theglueboys.htm
For $10 you can have the DVD (including shipping) or just glance around the site. They also have updates on the boys interviewed in the documentary.

Posted by leafturner 03.26.2013 08:11 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

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