Wonderful Kenya

Kajiado Travel Blog

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It's been my dream since I was kid to work in Africa. When I was around 5 years old, I watched TV with my parents. At that time, TV was still black and white. I saw news about famine and conflict in Ethiopia and other part of Africa. I told my parents, “I want to go to Africa to be a missionary and live there with my own family.” Of course my parents laughed. I also couldn’t believe why I said so until now.
Thanks God, my dream came true, although just for two weeks. Africa is my dream destination. I always want to travel there and work there. The workshop on Mental Health and Psychosocial gave me opportunity to see with my own eyes (not through black and white TV) and got connected with the local, which were very nice and hospitable. Looking different people or becoming a stranger in Kenya is very fantastic experience.

I heard a lot from many people that Nairobi is one of the dangerous places on earth. "Have to be arrived at home before dark", that's one of the sayings of my friends. Or "don't wear any jewelery."
First experience in Nairobi was when all the participants begged upon the committee to visit Maasai market on Saturday, 12th September. Maasai market is a weekend market where the locals sell any kinds of handicrafts. I learned many things from this: don't shop without local and dare to say “no”. I remember one of participants from Norway. He got mad by many vendors followed him. He shouted and they gone. Well, it's hard me to do that, I think that's why they ripped of my money.
My local friends said, "You could go with 50 Kenyan shilling when they ask you 150 Kenyan shilling (1usd=78 Kenyan shilling). What could I say? Maybe that's the dumbest thing that I did, or maybe (which I tried to cheer up myself) it's for charity. They deserve to get more for the appreciation of their works. Well, I thought if I am from Asia or at least my skin color is the same like theirs, they could lower the price. In order they lower the price for me, I said “My money converts to 1USD is 10.000Rupiahs, while yours only 78.” They didn’t care about it apparently. They must have thought, “How could you fly here?”
Looking around postcards in the downtown consumed a lot of energy. Finally, my Norwegian and Swedish friends and I got postcards in a supermarket, which I never thought they existed there (I thought only in bookstore or post office – in fact post office doesn’t sell postcard).

Walking around in the traditional market, smelling fish and garbage gave an exciting adventure. I love traditional market. Whenever I go to any countries, I like to see it. There are different atmosphere, people, etc. It's never the same. In fact, not all people like to be photographed. Again, it’s one thing that I should learn. So, a woman in the market was so mad at me.
Well, like all the countries in the world – corruption is unbelievable in Kenya. Better avoid polices and bureaucracies. One day the taxi driver and I were stopped by the police, and he asked money to buy him “soda”. Soda or tea is the term of Kenyan people if they ask you money.
In Nairobi, traffic lights are only for accessories in the city. People don’t use it at all.
Well, this is not new for me, because the place where I was born also the same.
Upset by the prices for Safari, which is very ridiculously expensive for a humanitarian worker like me, I decided to use my “networking” (the alpha and omega access as my Swedish female friend said). I was invited by one of the participants that I trained to visit his place in Kajiado (2 hours from Nairobi). I went there after finished from the workshop (20th). He is from the Maasai tribe, the big tribe in Kenya and Tanzania. He told me that I could see the Maasai people and their houses made from mud in Kajiado. So, then I went there on Sunday and attended the service at Anglican Church of Kenya (the biggest denomination in Kenya).
It was a nice service. People danced, clapped, shouted, it's a live (I wish I could filmed it).
Kajiado is a kind of small town (maybe village). You can hear people singing very loud in the small churches. For a small town, there are many churches. Even for ten people, they can have a church. So, in every street corner, I could hear the preachers shouted and sang. It was a "circus".
After the service in a "big church", my friend Erick Sapai brought me to the Maasai village. We negotiated with a "taxi" driver and eventually we could hire him for 1 hour (about 12usd) to bring us to the village, which was only 5 km away, in a bumpy and hilly road. Money really can buy times and distance.
So again, I attended a Sunday service, but in a very different atmosphere.
It was only 10 women and two men, excluded me and Erick. They were on a different dress and very colorful. They brought their cute children.
I couldn’t just photograph the houses of the Maasai without their permission. This people are very difficult to get their hospitality. Because of Erick and his friends in the church, I could talk and took pictures of the Maasai people and also got into their hut. You can see in the pictures.
Due to drought problem, the Maasai men have to go to bring their cattle to pasture where there’s food for their cattle. Sometimes it’s very long way to go, day by day. That’s why they were not in the church.
I got the opportunity to get into their hut sized 3x3m sq and height about 180cm. It’s made of mud. I was wondering how if rain comes heavily day by day – then their hut would be melted.
It’s nice to be there. The people were nice, although they were a bit reluctant and hardly smile.
I just could stay one day in Kajiado, which is close to Tanzania. I could have gone to Mt. Kilimanjaro, about 6 hours more by Matatu (Kenyan minibus). But yeah, I was running out of cash and to go to Mt. Kilimanjaro needs a tour guide. Well, maybe next time when I am a rich man, which is many years to go after the snow on the top of the mountain gone forever.
In Nairobi, I was hosted by a Swedish girl who works for UNHCR in Nairobi. She was also participant in the workshop. I stayed in her apartment in the posh area in Nairobi called Westland. Many expats and rich people live there. We slept in the same bedroom, but separated bed. I could be delivered from tempting (smile).
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photo by: AlexandraQuinton