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Walking With the Masai of Kenya

  The tale of my week with the Masai, quite the BBQ, and a vision of Africa I shall never forget...  The safari with my family ended well and as it turned out my momentum was destined to increase dramatically.  We had a long day of travel with a bush ... read more

Lee Frankel-Goldwater

KenyaKenya

The Six Thousand Shilling Ungulate Pyramid

Five friends and I were on vacation, in (on?) Lamu, that shiny Kenyan coastal island. And what does one do on vacation in Lamu? Drink shakes made with entire anthills of powdered milk and coconut. Walk to the beach and take too many pictures. Same as any other place. We ... read more

Cara Giaimo

KenyaKenya

Too-Clean Data

It had started pouring at an inopportune time, and the mud was hindering our progress. My classmates and I were scattered in clumps of two or three across a wide transect delineated by our Environmental Policy professor. We were supposed to be interviewing the people who lived here about their ... read more

Cara Giaimo

KenyaKenya

The Many Uses of a Maasai Meleleki, pt. 1

I don't even remember why I wanted a walking stick. The first time I went into town in Kimana, I must have seen a lot of them. Maybe I subconsciously thought having one would help me fit in, but I hope not, because I must have been pretty subconsciously disappointed. ... read more

Cara Giaimo

KenyaKenya

Life Update

 So I have to admit it, I’m a complete sucker for inter-lingual puns. I find them hilarious. The Kiwahili word for chicken is “kuku” and there’s a place across from the FSD office called Kenchick Chicken. Can you guess their tag line? “We’re ‘kuku’ about chicken!” English is commonly spoken ... read more

Christan Leonard

KenyaKenya

The Lion King Problem

In the weeks before I left for Kenya, I had very little to do besides attempt to prepare myself to leave for Kenya. Whenever things around my house got quiet, I would read the preparation manuals and packing guides that my study abroad program had sent me, and the lists ... read more

Cara Giaimo

KenyaKenya

Safari Weekend

 So this past weekend I went on a safari at Tsavo East National Park with eight other FSD interns. It was all great except that one of the girls, Victoria, fell sick with malaria on Saturday night. I have to take malaria pills everyday to try to prevent contracting it ... read more

Christan Leonard

KenyaKenya

Lessons in Kenyan Culture

10 odd ways my life has changed 1.)   I’m writing this post while sitting under my mosquito net. 2.)   I take showers using a bucket.  My host mom is awesome and heats up the water for me so I don’t freeze.  3.)   I wear a lheso everyday.  (See below for ... read more

Christan Leonard

KenyaKenya

So this is Kenya...

 Hey family, friends and whoever else stumbles upon this, So I’ve decided to start a blog. I’m feeling a little self conscious about it. I’ll try to refrain from obnoxious sentimentality but it might be unavoidable at times. I’m sure most of you will just look at the pictures and ... read more

Christan Leonard

KenyaKenya

Bus Diary - Jinja, Uganda to Nairobi, Kenya; 5/10/10

9:05 AM: My companions and I have been waiting for the Akamba bus for an hour or so in Jinja, Uganda, at the station, which houses a mechanic's, a cafe and cake place (I got a pineapple muffin that turned out to basically be a frosting sandwich - not bad), ... read more

Cara Giaimo

KenyaKenya

The Rainy Season

There are two rainy seasons in Kenya - the long rains go from about March to May, give or take a lot ("no hurry in Africa" applies to the weather, too) and the short ones start at the end of October and leave again by about December. Some strange force ... read more

Cara Giaimo

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IndiaIndia

KenyaKenya

Photo Picks: Playing Around in Kenya, Floating Meditation in India, Street Food in China

  FIRST PICK: PLAYING AROUND Photographer: Chris Minihane What it's about: Daniel, pictured here, is a Kenyan Maasai who lives near the Tanzanian border. According to Chris, "he's probably one of the nicest guys in Kenya." Daniel loves being photographed and was happy to let Chris snap some shots while he ... read more

Glimpse Multimedia

KenyaKenya

A Tale of Two Cities

As I noted in my last post, my time abroad so far has been spent in a relatively 'un-African', African country. This past week was my school's spring break and I spent it in Kenya. First impressions? Wow, what a contrast to Egypt.    I landed at Nairobi airport at ... read more

Max Nepstad

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Must Do

Look Out For Elephant Damage

Cara Giaimo

02 Jun 2010

Kenya

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Cara Giaimo

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One of the best parts of traveling in East Africa is how possible it is to just stumble upon an elephant. If you feel like being a bit more proactive, though, you can keep an eye out for clues. When elephants come through an area, for whatever reason – aggression, social displays, to expose the tasty roots – they tend to go a little crazy on the woody vegetation (they’ve actually transformed much of Amboseli National Park from woodland to grassland over the years). Look out for newly broken branches, munched-on acacia bark, and overturned trees, and odds are you’ll come across an elephant or ten fairly soon.

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Food

Keep Trying Goat, It Will Get Better

Cara Giaimo

20 Jul 2010

Kenya

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Someone I met on my trip (credentials: she cites Chipotle as “the thing she misses second-most about America”) told me that the first three times I tried roasted goat, a staple of Maasai celebrations, I wouldn’t like it, but after the fourth time, I’d understand why it deserves to be up there with all the other special-occasion foods. She was about right – it took some courage to go back up there the second time I was offered some, and even more to keep chewing the third time (goat’s a little rubbery), but I stuck with it. By the time I got back to the U.S., Fourth of July barbecues seemed lacking.

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Packing

Wear Closed-Toed Shoes

Cara Giaimo

02 Jun 2010

Kenya

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East Africa is notoriously hot, so you’d be forgiven for assuming you should pack sandals. However, it’s also notoriously thorny (and sometimes snakey), so odds are you’ll actually end up wearing sneakers a lot of the time. Rubber tire sandals, which are sold in most towns and are exactly what they sound like, are a good compromise. It’s also a good idea to bring a lot of duct tape (for when thorns attack your volleyball) and tweezers (for when, despite all possible precautions, they inevitably attack you).

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Music

Mosh with the Maasai

Cara Giaimo

06 May 2010

Kenya

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Cara Giaimo

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One of my professors once described the traditional Maasai warrior lifestyle in this way: "They walk all day to get to a party, and dance and sing all night, and then walk home the next day." Put simply, then, Maasai warriors are rock stars. This made much more sense to me when I found myself at a Maasai circumcision ceremony in the center of what I have to deem a mosh pit - no other term would do it justice. I'd been dragged in by a mama (Maasai woman) who had taken a liking to, and ahold of, my walking stick, but as I was engulfed by people, I got sunk into the rhythm and the cadences of the music, which is entirely unaccompied, and the dance, which is focused around jumping. I forgot about my walking stick. Get pulled in if you can.

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Health

The Littlest Snakes Pack the Biggest Punch

Cara Giaimo

20 Jul 2010

Kenya

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Cara Giaimo

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When walking around in a wild place, it’s generally important to watch your step, but more specifically important to know what you’re watching for. Besides thorns and the tails of large carnivores, one thing to not provoke with your sneaker is the baby black mamba. All black mambas are poisonous, but babies have very little control over their venom sacs (adorable!) so they are more likely to empty both of them directly into your leg. They’re also very small – they look more like long black worms – so chances are higher that you’ll fail to notice them, especially in tall grass. Do your best, though - avoiding being airlifted to Nairobi for antivenom is probably worth keeping an eye or two on the ground for.

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Nightlife

Bring Light to Lamu

Cara Giaimo

01 Jun 2010

Kenya

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Cara Giaimo

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During the day, Lamu Town is a lovely island village filled with fascinating architecture, kind people, and adorable stray cats. At night, it is still all of these things. However, in the darkness, you can’t see the kind people’s faces, and the eyes of stray cats glow in kind of a menacing way, and fascinating architecture just means that the alleys are narrow and the culverts appear under your feet rather abruptly. The island’s also prone to blackouts, which exacerbates the problem, and the effect is trippy, literally and figuratively. My friends and I learned our lesson quickly and started bringing flashlights out with us at night, a strategy which allowed us to get back to our hotel with our ankles and mental health intact.

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Being an American

Everyone Knows Obama

Cara Giaimo

01 Jun 2010

Kenya

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Cara Giaimo

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When he found out I was that particular breed of mzungu that comes from America, the formerly reticent man I’d been working with suddenly had plenty of stories. It turned out he was from Kisumu, home of Obama’s grandparents, and was very interested in what I thought of his province’s “native son.” Although it’s impossible for everyone who introduces himself as “Obama’s cousin” to be telling the truth, the sentiment behind the claim is apparent everywhere. Kenya declared a national holiday when he was elected, and his face still flutters above the doorway of every cloth shop. Regardless of your political views, Obama is a good conversation-starter, and there’s no better way to get an on-the-ground international perspective on the president.

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