Posts Tagged ‘annoying’

A bit dry

As I sit here getting ready to write my absolutely average thoughts….a mosquito buzzes my ear and I wave my hands in the air and jump up like a possessed woman being tasered.  Really, is there anything worse than that sound of a mosquito in your ear?  Perhaps the thought that it might HARBOR malaria and that I can’t take the medication cause I am preggo.  Or, backpacking into the Indian Heaven Wilderness area in Washington State in July when there are more mosquitos than I don’t know what….and those ones didn’t have the potential to inflict serious or lifelong dormant illness!  But then that backpacking adventure (the only one I have ever embarked on) is a story for another time.

What I was thinking of this evening is of my pregnancy adventures this week.  I had my 32 week check up with my OB/GYN in Nairobi, and everything is going fantastically.  We went from concern over a not growing uterus 2 weeks ago to a larger than expected uterus and a baby already weighing (by their estimates) 4 pounds.  I’m not to excited about it all cause there constantly seems to be  such a HUGE margin of error with these ultrasounds and much of what we consider modern technology.   My doctor kindly reminded me to keep off the sugar and to plug away at my diabetes diet. 

The funny part of the  appointment came when we were done with the physical examination and she felt the side of my belly and said, in a very serious & concerned tone,

“Have you been moisturizing???  Your skin seems quite dry!” 

I didn’t really know how to respond at first.  When has my OB/GYN or midwife (that’s what I’ve always had in the past) ever been so worried about A) stretch marks and B) the quantity of moisture present in my baby bump?  I finally  fumbled out some answer of how I had been using the special belly cream she so kindly prescribed in our first days of meeting, but that I simply hadn’t minded to moisturize that morning. 

And then I added, “I guess it doesn’t feel so dry to me, I’m used to it like this.”  And honestly folks, this skin is not dry!  But, I guess I’ll be one of those pregnant women who adds “moisturize” to the things that must be done before going in to an appointment/examination or labor. 

Come on, you women know what I’m talking about.  You are the same ones (like myself) who make sure you’ve got a pretty pedicure the week before your due date and gosh knows all of the other things we might get done in an attempt to “beautify” the process of birthing or examining or whatever.  Why else do people endure Brazilians??  Don’t answer that.  That too is another story, better left untold.

In other pregnant news, I was informed by the gate security at a popular Nairobi mall that I had been absent for some time.  This is while I waited in my car for them to check the boot (trunk) for explosives and my undercarriage for similar.  One looked at my preggo belly and said, “You’ve been gone a long time!”  Another added, “Your husband has been busy” and then the first added, “You are most definitely having twins!”.  Stop Already!  I  must consistently remind Kenyans in general that while I may look big compared to the average Kenyan with child,  compared to most Americans (and myself in previous pregnancies) I am small and proudly so!  I just smiled at the 2 security guards, assured them  it was not twins, but a lovely little girl and proceeded to the parking garage.

And so my pregnant week has gone.  Pretty darn good I’d say actually.


I’ve been demoted

Eli’s newest deal is to threaten me with things like,

“You won’t be my mom any more.”  ”

I won’t love you, if you don’t…” and so on. 

I don’t generally respond to his threats except to shrug my shoulders and say something like, “That’s too bad”.

Tonight, he again said that I was no longer his mom.  I said, “Ok.”  He then informed me that Megan was his new mom.  Megan is our Volunteer Coordinator at Karibu Centre, also from Portland, Oregon.

I responded with, “Great, then you can go wake Megan up at 6:30 everry morning.”

“No” replied Eli, “I’ll still wake you up, you’re the househelp.”

Of course I love that  I’ve just been demoted by a 4 year old.   My only question is, if I’m currently the mom, then where in the world is MY househelp that is supposedly getting up currently with the kids at 6:30 am every day???  Cause as far as I know, and I’ve been here since May, I haven’t had househelp that hang out with my kids at 6:30 am so I can sleep….

Crazy week!

Well, it has been a crazy week.

Getting the guest apartment  ready.  We have named it the ‘tree house”.  For the flame trees.  I think it’s a catchy name, and we’ve always named all of the houses we live in…usually by the address, but scenery works too.  Megan has done a great job of taking over while I lay in bed or shuffle about the house trying to manage 2 little kids.

Being sick.  Lucy, Eli and I have all proceeded to round 2 and week 3 of this sickness which appears to just be the Kenyan cold & flu.  We’re getting acquainted with Kenyan versions of ibuprofen and children’s tylenol and cough & cold products.  Did you know that a bottle of pepto (the real kind) costs $10 here?  I passed.  I took some of the kids pepto  tablets I brought from home.

Our new Captain arrived on Thursday.  She takes over for the previous administrator, Haron.  She is Captain Sarah.  We are happy to have an administrator back after about a month without one.  It has been a lot of extra work for Ian.  She arrives with her younger sister and brother that she cares for.  We look forward to getting to know her better and working with her.

My other project on top of all of this has been to help an 18 year old boy from the Gachagi Slum.  His name is Halaki.  More on him to come in another post dedicated just to him.

And finally, making the final arrangements for our American training team of 7 women.  There are things to worry about here that you wouldn’t even consider in the States.   Furniture that isn’t finished because product is in short supply, shower water heaters overheating (scalding…..ouch!) and then exploding (I hope they get fixed, Megan is there now working with the maintenance man who seems to break more than he fixes), not being able to drive long distances in the Centre van at night (it is speed restricted, so it would be able to outrun anyone scooping out the fishbowl of whities and their stuff), and arranging for an extra vehicle driven by Kenyans to deliver all of the baggage separately and directly to the Centre at night.

Phew.  It will be nice to visit with people from home and to have all of the extra hands around here!

Our man in blue

We got to chat with a wonderful civil servant Saturday (on Ian’s birthday).

On the drive home from Nairobi we were stopped by the police at a police check-point.  Generally only buses, mutatus and trucks are stopped so they can pay a bribe.

Our man in blue did not state a reason for stopping us. 

Just asked the following, in this order:

Where are you coming from?  *Nairobi

Buy me lunch.   *Ignored

Open your boot (trunk).  (He paws through our bags for a while)Show me your drivers license. *Ian produces Kenyan paperwork for the license he has paid fees for but hasn’t received in the posta yet.

Where is your US license?  *Ian doesn’t have it

Why don’t you have it?  *Ian left it at home

Where do you live?  *Makongeni

What part of Makongeni?  *Across from the police station

I live in Makongeni.  *Oh


Obviously we were getting nowhere.  Then I popped up from the backseat with my camera and loudly said, “Hey, do you want me to take your picture?”  Silence.  Then a smile.  Then I said, “I’ll print it and leave it for you” knowing that by chance he would relish having a copy of his picture just like almost every other Kenyan I’ve met, adult and child alike.   Suddenly Mr. Policeman who was just downright gruff & soliciting a bribe for no obvious offense is nice and friendly and this results:

August 09 234








You should note that he was kind enough to hold his AK-47 down out of the picture. 

Really, there is a reason that Kenya receives the most US Foreign Aid of ANY African country, yet is still experiencing severe poverty, lack of development, drought etc., etc.

Anyhow, if you want to read up on Corruption, go here:

Mission: Denied.

Last week Ian got to leave mid day for a meeting in Nairobi and then hopefully to pick up Megan from the airport.

Since her plane was delayed, so was  he, and he just hadto spend the night in Nairobi at the home of friends.   He called me that night to check in on me and the kids.  He was calling from the middle of a movie where he was on a “Man Date”.   Cruel.  Simply.  Not only was he alone without the rugrats in the metropolis of Nairobi, but, he had free time and was watching big screen entertainment!   I wished him well and knew that some day my turn would come.

My turn came yesterday.  We got word that it was time to visit the Nyayo House to complete paperwork for Megan’s alien card.  Sweet!   We tacked on some errands for the Centre that needed to be completed in Nairobi and were off!

Nyayo House is not an exciting place to visit in itself. Thanks to expathousewifeinNairobi you can see that it  looks like this on the outside:

and the inside is dark, and gloomy and filled with the smell of way to many bodies in desperate need of a shower.  There are long lines (longer yet if you don’t bring an extra copy of your passport and you have to go hunting around town for a copy machine),  lots of sitting here and there, and the final signal to the end of the process:  undergoing fingerprinting like you are being booked in the county jail.

Anyhow, along with the work errands that needed to be run, Megan and I decided to pop into a beauty salon I’d been tipped off to in the first week of my arrival to see if they might happen to be able to squeeze us in.

They were.

And it was pure heaven.  I haven’t enjoyed a pedicure in a while, and this one was especially sweet and necessary.  This Kenyan dust and dirt is doing some serious damage to  my poor feet….which my pedicurist reiterated time and time again throughout her multiple bouts of rubbing an enormously large pumice stone over my foot.  She went on to prescribe that I no longer wear flip flops and switch to tennis shoes or closed shoes.  I’ll opt for the closed shoes.   Shoes are pretty cheap and cute here any how, and if I’m being told that I am doing permanent damage to my feet by not having proper shoes, well then the only responsible thing for me to do is to do some serious shoe shopping.

For the health of my feet of course.

Anyhow, this story ends with us waking early, driving into downtown Nairobi, chatting with our immigration liaison and deciding to meet at the amazing Java House for coffee.

It’s not this one, but this is what they generally look like outside.  A bit like Starbucks actually but with red umbrellas and logos.

I had a cafe latte, Megan had a green tea.  And then we waited patiently for our  immigration expert to arrive.

We waited a long time, and had 2 unanswered phone calls.  We were about ready to give up when I received an odd call saying the woman who we had just talked to, and who was on her way to meet us, had taken very ill, could not walk, and was being taken to the hospital.

Guess that means we won’t be doing immigration today?

I called Ian to tell him and his response was, “That’s Kenya.”

We’ll give it a go another day.  In the meantime, Megan better behave, cause she’s not really a legal alien yet.

HP Computer: 2 Ian and Anne: 0

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll remember that we had to buy a new laptop in March, and then immediately had problems with it.  If you can’t remember, here’s a refresher:

We”ve been doing pretty well with the computer after the HP chick in India stripped and completely reinstalled the operating system…..until this week.

That feared message of  there being an error with the hard drive & the warning to back everything up before it is forever lost came up.

We bought the warranty for this computer.  (Hah!!! The Hard Drive warning message just popped up again!!!)  They (Best Buy) assured us it would be covered all around the world.  Upon clarification when we had problems, well…….They would pay for it, after we took it to a warranted dealer/distributor and then sent them copies of the bill and warranty.  What is it about all of that song and dance that makes me believe that we’d never see a dime of reimbursement for the repair/replacement?

I’m trying not to be bitter.  But come on!?!   So, we called HP.  Of course, they would ship us a replacement hard drive immediately.

Oh, but not outside of the United States, and the hard drive would need to be returned in the original box to HP within 15 days. 

I don’t know about you, but a computer box is not one of the essentials I keep out of a storage space when I’m packing up my entire life, let alone something I “keep” with a dear relative “just in case”.   That’s what I do with my will and life insurance papers!   And, it might just be me, but I don’t think that Kenya Posta has proved reliable enough to get something important to the States…..let alone within 15 days.

Sooooo….We’re open to grand ideas.

Our best idea yet is to Fed Ex our hard drive to a relative in the states, call HP and ask for leniency on the “original packing requirement”, have the relative call HP for the replacement drive, receive the replacement hard drive, then have them ship the defective hard drive back to HP, then somehow get the replacement hard drive to us here in Kenya, preferably in person (again, that whole getting through customs ….and the mail service hasn’t been so reliable).  If seeds can’t get through, I’m not thinking that a HP laptop Hard drive will either.

Or just go and buy a freakin new one.

Again, we’re open to ideas all of you smarty pants.  And I mean that with all due respect!