Saturday, December 31, 2016

On the Mombasa Highway

Everyone talks about how awful the Mombasa Highway is and now we know that they aren't kidding.  So many slow moving trucks and fast-moving cars and pot holes and narrow lanes.  It's crazy!!  Everyone needs to drive the Mombasa Highway -- once.

Now we're on the way back from Tsavo West.  Here's another mosque.  So colorful.  Love it.

And I love these Baobab trees too.  Will be interesting to see them in the dry season when they've dropped their leaves.

So many Christian quotations on buses and vehicles.  And this school bus, loaded with children, was driving as crazily as all the rest of the trucks and buses.  Oh my.  How safe are the children?

Several Baobab trees

These baskets and other things are made of woven plastic.  So colorful.

Markets are bustling today.

This is every day life for these people.  I wonder what they would think of our fancy western malls.

Not sure what the occasion was but hundreds of people were gathered here and music was blasting from this bus.

Love this colorful market and the colorful dress the woman is wearing.

People are heading up-country for Christmas.  That bus is REALLY loaded!

It was a crazy drive from Tsavo to Nairobi.  So much traffic.

We used to be able to ride in the backs of open vehicles about 50 years ago but not anymore.  But here they can.

Another view of the beautiful mosque.

I thought this billboard was interesting.  "Simba" is the Swahili word for lion.  So Simba Concrete is "King of the Concrete Jungle."  Ha ha.  Such a cute advertisement.

Another colorful bus loaded with people's belongings as they head up-country.  It was an exciting, tense, fun, scarey drive from Tsavo back to Nairobi.

Senior Couples Conference at Tsavo West Park

The day after Heather left, we were to head down to Tsavo West to a Senior Couples Conference.  That morning, LeRon woke up very sick and I had to run over to my neighbor, Dr. Shrikant, for help.  So nice to have a good doctor next door!!  The next day, LeRon was feeling well enough to drive us down to the conference but we missed most of it.  It was nice to be with the other couples.  I don't have a picture of all of us yet since it was taken on someone else's camera.  But I have pictures of the ride down and of the park, which is absolutely gorgeous.

Wild ostriches in a field by the road.

Everybody goes "up-country" for Christmas.  This means that they go to their rural homes to be with extended family.  Buses are packed with people and belongings.

We loved seeing the cropland beside the "Mombasa highway" which is called that because it goes from Nairobi to Mombasa.  It's a narrow two-lane road with tons of traffic and is actually a very dangerous road.

Beautiful red soil and cropland.

Lots of colorful markets along the way.

We love Muslim mosques.  Love the domes and green and white colors.

Pineapple plantation with our first look at Baobab trees.

Tsavo West park is lovely.  Love that red soil!

Marabou Stork.

Beautiful view from the Kilaguni Lodge within Tsavo West park.  These man-made ponds generally attract lots of wildlife, especially at night.  One night President Msane saw elephants and two lions come to drink.  When we were there, it poured rain and no animals came.  Sad.

The scenery was definitely "other worldly."

Mt. Kilimanjaro lies to the south of Tsavo Park.  It's usually covered in mist but this morning we could see it.  Exciting!!

Cute little dik-dik.  They are like huge jack rabbits!  We saw lots of them.

A Vulturine Guineafowl.  Lovely bird.

Volcanic mountain.

We went on a game drive and saw lots of birds and small animals but not many large ones.  T

Giraffes are my newest favorite animal.  They are so graceful and their spots are so unique.

I've always thought deer/antelopes were kind of ho-hum since we have lots of deer at home in Alberta Canada.  But here, they look so gorgeous with the trees and red soil.

An Ostrich family with seven little ostriches.

On our way out of the park, there were seven elephants crossing the road right in front of us.  I was so excited that I forgot to take the cap off the camera lens.  I kept snapping pictures but couldn't see them.  Ha ha.  Finally got the cap off after the elephants were across the road.

They are regal creatures.  And red, just like the red soil that they roll in.

So interesting how they grab branches with their trunks and stuff them in their mouths.

I've been reading about elephants, how they have definite personalities and they love their little babies and mourn when family members die.  So interesting.

Heather's Visit Day Five: Giraffes and Elephants

Heather's last day was hectic.  Trying to finish up any last-minute shopping.  Checking out the giraffes at the Giraffe Center and the baby elephants at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.  Sad to see Heather go.  It's been great to have her here!!

We stopped in at the mission office to catch up on a little work.

Then off to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.

All the baby elephants are orphans whose mothers have either been poached or who have died in some other way.

Some of the babies had fallen down bore holes and would have died there if they had not been rescued.  The babies love wallowing in the mud on this hot day.

The keepers explained how each elephant has its own personality.  The keepers know them each by name and they take care of them until they can be released in the wild.

So fun for Heather to get to see the baby elephants.  They kept spraying water and mud with their trunks.

The Giraffe Center breeds the Rothschild Giraffe and releases them into the wild.  There's a hotel on the grounds that costs over $1000 US per night.  It overlooks the giraffe paddocks and they come and stick their heads into the rooms and you can feed them.  But I don't think I'll do it for that kind of money!

Heather had fun feeding the giraffe.  She did a better job than I did.  I always scream and drop the pellet.  I don't know why.

Heather's Visit Day Four: Church at Langata and Piano Lessons at Rongai

More about Heather's visit with us before Christmas:

On Sunday, we went to the 3-hour block of meetings at Langata and then drove to Rongai for piano lessons with some of the members.  I'm using Heather's pictures for this post.

Heather and I love visiting cemeteries so this was our first stop Sunday morning.  This cemetery is very unkempt, unlike cemeteries we have visited in many countries of the world.

Cemeteries are definitely places for contemplation of life and death.  We will all end up in a cemetery someday.

Sometimes there are cattle grazing in the cemetery but not this morning.

Just as we were getting ready to leave, a man came up and told us we were under arrest for taking pictures in the cemetery.  We were shocked but kept our cool.  Since he didn't look threatening, we thanked him for his concern, and got into our truck and drove away!!  It helped that our friend and landlord is a member of parliament and as soon as I dropped his name there didn't seem to be a problem.  But it put a damper on our visit to the cemetery.

Sign pointing to the little lane down which is our little chapel.

This is the first church building in Kenya and possibly the first one in Southeast Africa.

The bottlebrush trees in the church yard are beginning to blossom.

The CTR (Choose the Right) classroom in the Langata Chapel.  I used to teach the CTR class but now I teach the Valiant class.

Little Daisy is a sweet young woman in our Primary.

All the girls are lovely.  L-R: a visitor; Gloria, Hope, me, Daisy.

I'm doing my song and dance in Primary Singing Time!  The kids really sing!  But they don't know the Christmas songs very well so I tried to teach them a lot in the month of December.  They are fast learners.

Heather and this woman (who was visiting this day) put together a special number for sacrament meeting and it was beautiful.  Heather sang soprano and the sister blended with a lovely alto.  They sang "O Come All Ye Faithful" a capella.  Most of the Kenyans sing a capella. Their duet was gorgeous.

Cool picture of one of the doors to the meetinghouse.  Bars on windows and doors.

Colleen, LeRon and Heather outside the Langata Chapel.

This is a fun family.  Gloria, Hope, and their mother, Mercy, who is an important and well-known Scouter here in Kenya.  She is a leader in the Kenya Air Scouts.

After our meetings at Langata, we drove a half an hour to Rongai meetinghouse to teach piano lessons.  Love that pink bus.

Stylish boutique!

Heather was impressed with the well-dressed people on the street.  Not slouchy like so many people in the West.

The Rongai Ward meets on the fourth floor of this building.

What a cool picture Heather took inside this building!

And on the top floor of the building is the ward's baptismal font.  This Sunday this young woman was baptized!

Now on to piano lessons.  Three people came for lessons today and there were three of us (with Heather) to teach so it worked out well.

These two women are really progressing in their piano skills.

Lots of interesting things written on vehicles and buses!  You have to use a lot of prayer to drive on these roads!

The matatus (small buses) drive wherever they want to, even in the dirt at the side of the road.

It's been so great to have Heather here!  So nice to share our life with her.

Our door has lots of locks -- on the side, at the bottom and on the top.

And here I am, working on my blog.