Sunday, July 30, 2017

Upcountry in Kisumu and Busia

Most city people here in Nairobi have an "upcountry" home -- a home in a village or on a few acres somewhere in Kenya away from the cities.  Whenever there's a public holiday, people go "upcountry" if they can afford the bus fare.  And I can see why.  Even though we enjoy where we live in the Karen area of Nairobi with its flowering trees and lovely green foliage, LeRon and I too love to go "upcountry."  It's in our blood to love the countryside.

Upcountry, every bit of arable land is farmed -- they grow sugar cane, maize, potatoes, peas, rice, bananas, avocados, mangoes, pineapple, cabbage, onions, tea, wheat.  Such a variety of fruits and vegetables.  We love soaking in the beauty of the farmland.  And we love watching the people go about their daily lives.

Women and girls wear colorful dresses, and in spite of the dust and the dirt, they look fresh and clean.  They gracefully carry 15-20-liter jugs of water on their heads.  They can walk along easily without anything falling off; they can turn their heads and visit with their neighbors and whatever they're carrying stays put!  Oh to be so graceful!

Men and boys in their suit jackets herd cattle and sheep, often lying down wherever they fancy to soak in the sun.  They lie down on the sides of busy roads or on a steep embankment.  It seems that life here is slow and you don't need to feel guilty taking a nap in the middle of the day out in the warm sunshine.

Men and women both work hard in the heat of the day, cutting grass, weeds, trees, with a hand whip or digging with pick and shovel.  Or sweeping the road with a tree branch.  They are glad for the work which puts a bit of food on the table.

I love the bright smiles the people give.  They often look so solemn, but if you smile, they smile, and their eyes sparkle and their white teeth shine.  Or they give a friendly wave if you wave first.  They are a lovely, beautiful people.  So nice to see children walking alone and unafraid in the middle of nowhere.

Once we saw a young man wheeling a baby in a wheelbarrow.  And once we saw a crippled young woman on the road lying underneath a wheelchair and pulling herself along the ground with the chair; she seemed too weak to climb into the chair.  There are so many medical needs here.  LDS Charities does a lot of good providing wheel chairs and training for needy people.

And then there's the animals . . . So great to see a giraffe, zebras, gazelles, baboons, or ostriches by the side of the road and not in a park or reserve.  The baboons sit by the side of the road, possibly waiting for people to throw them some food.  The baboons are so ugly they're cute and the giraffes are elegant and I love the zebras and gazelles and impalas and other antelope-type creatures.

Below are some upcountry pictures.  And there will be coming posts of more Kisumu/Busia pictures, including some of the Kisumu missionaries.  Unfortunately the Busia missionaries were in Eldoret the day we were in Busia so we didn't get to see them but we'll see them this coming week at MLC.

We see all kind of things on the backs of motorbikes.  This time it's chickens but one time it was a huge couch.  These motorbikes are called "piki-pikis" meaning of course "picky picky" -- pick me up and give me a ride.  Some people call them boda-bodas.  (Pronounced boad-ah).  Originally boda-bodas were bicycles that traveled from one country to another (one border to another border -- hence boda-boda!)  The theory behind the bicycles was that the border guards wouldn't be suspicious of someone on a bicycle but actually a lot of contraband things were transported from country to country via the boda-bodas.  The boda-bodas (or the piki-pikis) are now motorized although a lot of people still drive bicycles.  The piki-pikis have to be licensed and the driver and passenger are supposed to wear helmets and there is a law about how many people can ride on a piki-piki but we've seen 5 -- one on the gas tank and three behind the driver!

Love to see my beautiful zebras grazing along the side of the road.

LeRon and I could hardly believe what we were seeing -- a man carrying a backpack sprayer, spraying a whole field!!!  How would he know where he's been?  And look at how the wind is carrying the spray.  We were astounded.  At home we have big sprayers pulled by tractors and there are markers to mark where you've been.  And you would never spray if the wind was this strong.  Things are definitely done differently here!

We love to see the creative displays of fruits and vegetables in the local markets.  But I still don't like to see potatoes sitting out in the sun!

Another local market.

And now for pictures of the gorgeous countryside with acacia trees and cropland and cattle.

Nice to see the scenery without walls and guards and gates!

Acacia trees, pasture land and cropland.  Lovely!

These pictures were taking through the truck window as we went whizzing by at an average of 50 kph, depending on the road and the traffic.

Kenya is a beautiful country!


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