Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It's been a while since I've written - the Handsome Man's parents have been here visiting and we've subsequently been much more busy doing all the wonderful, touristy things we live so near but don't do nearly enough. It's been incredibly wonderful to get out of Nairobi, to enjoy more of the beauty and space Kenya has to offer and to experience more of the warmth (both literal and figurative) exuding from various places we've been.

I've had so many questions and thoughts running through my mind lately, and haven't had a hope of putting them down succinctly - so here's my stab at it. I've been going through Nairobi rather numb lately, in some senses not taking my own advice from my previous entry: The Things I've Said.

It takes a certain degree of strength to continually face poverty, corruption, bitterness, hopelessness, and seemingly unbreakable cycles of all these. And I think, after living here for 9 months, and fighting to live with eyes fully open (because it is incredibly tempting, even if only for some self-preservation, to close my eyes and seek respite more often than I should) that the heroes of this world are not presidents, are not superior athletes, are not soldiers, are not famous actors/musicians/poets - nor are they mothers, fathers, pastors, doctors, firefighters - the heroes of this world are those of our species who can live consistently with open eyes, and not drown in the sadness.  I think they've found the ability to take in the beautiful and the ugly at the same time, and value them both equally...more on this thought at a later date.

Admittedly, though not proudly, I've allowed numbness to creep in...the women sitting on the side of the road hoping for work become one more segment of the congested roads and one more piece of the obstacle I face in driving anywhere (how many times have I been forced to think: "risk the pedestrian or the head on collision? Neither is not an option...") The man begging on the side of the road becomes an embodiment of a system which can't support its' own people in need - and I am angry, frustrated, and helpless. So I close my eyes. The children (and a surprising number of adults) constantly calling out "mzungu!" (white person/foreigner) when I pass by, turn into a reminder of the massive disparities within this society which make it somehow appropriate to identify a person publicly by their skin color; and what delights tourists instead turns into a shout that grates on me - reminding me I am not from here, and even though I grew up here, I am still a "mzungu". The incompetence of the repairmen coming to fix our apartment (evidenced by breaking a window they were supposed to repair, and not answering my calls nor returning to fix it) is no longer funny, but instead underlines the massive lack of training offered to those most in need of work - and again, instead of being heartbroken or compassionate, I am angry. The potholes in the road, the water shortages, the fear of police through most of the population - all serve as indicators of the deep corruption plaguing this nation. So I close my eyes.

And when I close them, suddenly my world is much smaller - suddenly it is just me. Suddenly my life starts to spiral. The good starts to look dingy, the bad starts to look worse, and the worst becomes almost unbearable. And I could suffocate, I could lose my humanity, I could lose my sense of smallness as I become so big in this dark world with my eyes shut tighter than tight - blocking out the pain of the rest of the world only to find the depth of my own becomes unbearable. A loss of perspective, a loss of reasonable impact, a loss of control, a loss of my ability to bring about change, to bring hope, to show compassion, to give love. I cannot love myself, I cannot bring hope to myself, I cannot show compassion to myself - egocentrism has never wrought beauty. Has never wrought a bettering of the bigger sphere.

So I open my eyes, peeling back the lids of my soul to see what I know will be painful - and it is. The man following me on the beach attempting to sell his crude carvings is no longer an inconvenience - I open my ears and listen - I hear his story about how his entire family was killed in the post election violence in 2008, how he moved away from his home, remarried, and now has a baby on the way. I hear the hope and the joy, and I can't help but hear the undercurrent of injustice, corruption, heartbreak, loss, anger, and loneliness.  The women standing on the street corner at night, smiling too openly at my headlights, are no longer obstacles to be considered in this rally race called Nairobi driving - I open my eyes and they become individual faces - representatives of what I am sure are many more small mouths to feed, representatives of a society where women are not valued but continue to use whatever means necessary to protect their children in whatever way they know how.  The trash in the street, the holes in the road, the newspapers shouting of food, water shortages, and war no longer only shout the realities of corruption but also, when I open my mind to the past I have seen, shout distinctly quieter than they used to - for they are fewer, and cleanliness, smooth roads, and comfortable living continue to hush them.

Closing my eyes makes my world disproportionately big, opening my eyes wide makes my world disproportionately small. I think, as I'm sure millions have thought before me, I must go through periods of sleep and periods of wakefulness - I must find that balance where I close my eyes and the world comes to a peaceful lull in my mind, so the pain doesn't overwhelm the senses into numbness. That balance where I open my eyes just before my world becomes inaccurately big - reminding myself I am not the only one to experience injustice, I am not the only one who has experienced pain, loss, or hopelessness. I must find that balance, delicately aware of my own abilities to impact and courageously looking the painful in the face - and having compassion on it.

I don't have this perfected. And there are many things I look at in my own life, feel immense anger towards, and frantically open my eyes to see the world, to gain perspective and to find peace; only to find more lives experiencing the same situation as mine. The harsh reality comes - there are many miseries for which company and empathy bring little relief. Miseries that when multiplied only bring about greater anger, disbelief, and hopelessness - because I am helpless and powerless to change them. But these, I think, are not the miseries to look at - in my own life or in the life of others. To be aware of? absolutely. To invest in? To try and change? To be defeated by? no.

I was struck by a thought during some reading a few days ago: what is my motivation? I started applying the question to various situations - when Kai pushes me past my patience limit and I still need to discipline him with grace and patience, when I disagree with someone, when I feel mistreated by someone, when I am irritated, when the things that were meant to be accomplished lie unfinished/unfolded/unwashed/unanswered around the house...I ask myself "what is my motivation?" When I see the pain around me and I must choose whether I see it with soul and mind open or shut: what is my motivation?

It's different almost every time. But a common thread runs through. And when I re-find that thread, for I must rediscover it every day, I can (at least for that moment) find that balance between a life lived with open eyes or shut.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Top Kai-isms

Hi faithful blog readers -

Well, if you're here, you've been selected as part of the exclusive "allsarahdoes" blogership...ok, I have no idea what that means. Basically, my blog was creatin' a bit of a stir in a way I didn't desire - so for the time being, this will stay 'invite only' - it will be the same content, same ramblings, etc...and I"ll let you know when it goes public again.

We've had another eventful couple of weeks that ended in the fantastic event of the Handsome Man's parents arriving! We're so excited to have them here, and have quite a few fun 'vacation within vacations' planned. Tomorrow, we're headed off to Kenya's tropical beach to enjoy a week of lounging in the sun (I have high hopes, and low expectations, of avoiding an oh so painful sunburn). It will be Mika's first real time to see an ocean, and Kai's first time to an ocean that doesn't have overwhelmingly large waves (Pacific Ocean waves are pretty big to an 18" tall person!) It will be lovely to have a vacation away from Nairobi for longer than a weekend, as we haven't had that since we moved here...this is much past due. We'll be in Nairobi again for a week after, and then head out to the Maasai Mara where we'll visit some old family friends (the Salepus) and spend a couple days doing the safari thing - again, high hopes: but this time of seeing a leopard and/or a kill...(I'll post pics. Promise).

Mama, please stop making me take these pictures...

Speaking of promises, a while ago, I promised I would do a post on "Kai-isms" - I may even start doing a Kai-ism of the day or week...he is full of them right now. Before I give you snippets of Kai's best phrases, let me give you an immediate glance into Kai - he is full of life, constantly distracted, incredibly physically able to do things a 2 1/2 year old probably shouldn't do (climbing over high things, through tight things in high places, balancing on narrow things in high places - lots of activities in high places), fairly crafty (example to come), increasingly emotionally unstable (I'm told the major melt downs at the literal drop of a hat are normal and will pass - in the meantime, they provide never-ending & challenging entertainment). Due to his high exposure to Kenyans and subsequently the Kenyan accent, he frequently speaks with Kenyan intonation, and occasionally says words with a Kenyan accent or pronunciation (example to come). He has also developed an immense amount of attitude, lots of sighing, 'no's!' and eye rolling. His eye rolling usually ends with his chin down, head cocked to the side, and his eyes rolled up - peering out me out of the tippy tops of his eye sockets, attempting to furrow his brow (we call these "the eyes" - and he will do it on command).

So, with that little glimpse into Kai - here are some of my favorite "Kai-isms":

1. At the grocery store a man reached down to help Kai who was putting a bag of milk up on the check out line. Kai, who has uncovered the secret of "anybody, nobody, somebody, everybody"and subsequently refers to everyone as "bodies", looked at me and said, very seriously - "mama, dat body no touch mah milt." Or, as we are driving down the street, he often says "mama, whats dat body doing?" or "mama, I like dat body!"

2. One night at dinner, the Handsome Man finally used a stern voice after Kai's repeated refusals to listen to directions. The Handsome Man almost never uses a stern voice. Kai, rather than being scared or chastised, instead gave the Handsome Man 'the eyes' and said (peering up out of the top of his little eye sockets) "Soooo, papa, why you wanna be seah-weh-yus now?"

3. Frequently, Kai will ask for something he can't have (we all do, don't we?). When I say any variation of "No", Kai will often say "no, mama, no. Dee an-suh is yets"

4. While reading a book, Kai asked what color a certain animated monkey was. I replied "it's turquoise"; to which I received a very abrupt and angry "No, mama, no - stop it. You don't say dat to me. What coloh is dat montey?" "It's blue-green, baby, like a turquoise." To which I received an much louder, and much more emphatic "No! No, mama, you don't say dat to me. You don't say dat two-coize. What coloh is dat montey?" Thankfully, the Handsome Man walked in and I encouraged Kai to ask him...the Handsome Man replied "Hmmm...looks like turquoise", to which Kai nodded, 'hmmmd', and said "oh, yah, dat montey is two-coize."

5. After putting on his backpack, Kai announced proudly "Mama, I hab uh house batc".  'You have a house back, honey?" "Ya, like a toih-tus (tortoise) - uh house batc." "Yes, my honey, you do."

6. I use a lot of pet names with Kai, I'm one of those moms...it's started to come back to me. One day, while working in the kitchen I suddenly realized a little voice behind me was calling repeatedly "Hey, love? Hey, love? Um, mommy love, ex-tuse me, love?"

7. Kai is fantastic with Mika, and after listening in on them one day as Mika had just woken up from her nap, I overheard "well hello der, swee-hart, hello. Oh my, you is bee-u-di-ful!"

8. While singing with Scola, who due to her linguistic background, pronounces l's as r's - "I like tomorrow, and yesterday! but today is my pab-o-lite day". Later, I ask "Kai, is today your favorite day"...."No, mama, today is my pab-o-lite day"

9. Kai and his Mama (Handsome Man's mom) were playing hide-n-seek. Kai was counting, but was standing behind a sheer curtain, watching Mama through the curtain. When told he should close his eyes so Mama could hide, he said (from behind the sheer) "No, I no do dat. I is standing heya, and toun-ting, and watching tso I tan see where Mama is...Den I fin' hehr"

10. One day, while sitting working on my computer, Kai came in and said "um, ex-tuse me, mama?", taking his little finger and thumb right up next to his face like he was about to pinch his own cheek "would you like a lid-dle bit o coffee?" "um, sure honey...thanks" Kai hurries over to the kitchen where I hear him say "stola, mama wants a tup o toffee" "Oh really, Kai? does she?" I went to the kitchen to let Scola know I could make my own coffee, thinking she had told Kai to ask me if I wanted some coffee, which she apparently hadn't. I made myself a cup of coffee and told Kai thank you. Then, looking at me with great big eyes and the most innocent look he could muster, he said "now, mama, you hab a liddle bit o toffee...maybe Tai can hab a liddle bit o chai?....pwease?" and just blinked his little eyes...

So, there's a little glimpse into my little man. I hope you enjoyed :) And just so she's not forgotten - here's my little looker in the art corner!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A recounting of an event

It's been a while since I wrote about any little reflections on living in Kenya - the challenges we've faced have made it difficult to separate out the causes for our heightened stress level and subsequently, it's been a challenge to differentiate how difficult Nairobi is vs how difficult other aspects of life are. It feels as if there is some change on the horizon, as the hecticness abates and we've given pause for reflection. This morning, as I was sitting in the back of a taxi holding my two babies (since our car, with carseats inside, is in the shop again; and there are no laws requiring children to be in seatbelts - absurd in a country where I've been told road accidents are the leading cause of death - above poverty, illness, and crime {doubly absurd if you consider 51% unemployment, one of the highest rates of malaria in the world, and security checks at the entrance to any major public place}), I looked out the window and thought  "oh, there's the Kenya I fell in love with as a child."

The sun was shining through the clouds, the air seemed fresher than usual, and people walked unassumingly past on their way to work, to home, to school, to nothing...I met a friend for a cup of delicious coffee at a coffee house with an amazing playground, and enjoyed the indie rock music playing in the background. Sometimes, Kenya is incredibly comfortable. Sometimes, Kenya is incredibly challenging. Always - Kenya surprises.

As I mentioned, the Handsome Man had surgery about a week ago. And I must recount our day at the hospital. Important foreward: we went to one of the less developed hospitals in the country for one reason: it is the hospital where the majority of American surgeons visit for weeks - months at a time. Subsequently, while the hospital services and staffing are not the best we could find, the quality of surgeons is much more reliable (and largely much more comfortable for us as Americans). While the human body is largely the same from culture to culture - communication styles and cultural norms differ just as widely in daily life as they do in approach to medicine. For example, we visited one orthopedic surgeon who looked at the Handsome Man's scans and said "this is massive...I mean, a lot of small problems which make this a massive problem", and then proposed to do surgery immediately, as in, within an hour. We spoke with a visiting American doctor who said "this isn't as bad as I expected, I can do surgery in two days so you just know it's taken care of - why don't you take a day and call me back, just let me know what you want to do. Can I take some more time and talk to you about your different options?" Never underestimate the importance of cultural competency in medicine.

Anyway - we arrived at the hospital early in the morning, before the staff had finished their devotions and the clouds were still clinging to the side of the mountain we were on. We arrived 20 min later than we had been told to, due to massive traffic, and surprisingly (in a culture where things often run more slowly) were chastised for being late. In less than 15 mins, the Handsome Man was rushed back to "theater" and I was left holding his shoes and wedding ring. I went to wait with a friend for the 1 hour surgery...45 min later I was asked to shuttle his x-rays from the waiting room to the surgery unit. I was then sent to admissions to pay a deposit for his operation.

When I arrived, the admissions clerk sent me to the cashier. The cashier asked how much I would pay for my deposit - confused, I said "well, don't you have a standard amount or a percentage of the estimated total cost?" He sent me back to admissions - the admissions clerk began throwing out numbers, close to $1000 (note - this would have to be paid in cash). Looking around me, it was immediately apparent I was the only white person in sight and that the majority of those in the room were working class or rural Kenyans. The fact that it was within the realm of reason for me to have that much cash on hand was brutally offensive - and I was offended by the lackadaisical manner in which the clerk threw out obscenely large numbers: "why don't you just pay a $1500 deposit? No? Ok, how about $1200? No, ok, how about $1000?" - as if health care was a bargaining event. In a not so shining moment of non-glory, I drew attention to my skin color and requested I be approached like everyone around me. He was offended, and after receiving a mini-lecture on "there being no discrimination in this place", I was allowed to pay a deposit half the amount of his proposed figures...I returned to waiting.

 2 hours later I had been told nothing. 3 hours later I just happened to encounter the doctor coming out of surgery, telling me all had gone well, my husband had never been put under general anesthesia, and should be able to go home in 1-2 hours.  1 1/2 hours later, when I inquired again, I was told my husband was just waking up and would need another hour to recover. I was also told I couldn't see him. An hour later, after inquiring again, I was sent to pay the remaining amount for his bill - I was told sit and wait for my name to be called.

While I was waiting, reading on a bench with ample space around me, an old woman came and sat down next to me. And by next to me, I mean, practically in my lap. Her weight leaned against me, and her arm rested on top of mine. She stared unabashedly at my book, then at my face, then at my book, then at my face. Still not satisfied, she gave me a once over - head to toe. And another. I refused to flinch. In a room of over 60 people, all watching (literally, because there was nothing else to do...), I refused to flinch, to look more different than I already was. Here's a truth of life - racism (defined in this context as "an assumption about a person based on their skin color") goes every direction - up, down, backwards, forwards, and inside out. And at that moment the room was full of it - and much of it was directed at me - it felt as is every person in the room was internally wondering "will she flinch? will she lose her temper? will she move away? she's gonna react - white people don't sit that close to each other." After about 5 minutes of scrutiny, my bench partner decided she was satisfied and settled back into her seat - about 1/2 an inch away from me.

25 minutes later, I went to the counter to inquire into my husband's bill. I had attempted waiting patiently, as I was told, trusting the system would work....the clerk found my husband's paperwork siting haphazardly in a nondescript corner; discarded by someone who decided it shouldn't have been where it was and moved it to where it shouldn't have been. After some quick calculations, I was told my balance -  it was less than $5. I paid. I was then sent to the opposite end of the hospital to collect an itemized receipt. The woman behind the counter practically glared at me (please keep in mind I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, with my husband out of surgery but not allowed to see him, having endured the most difficult 6 months of my life which were culminating the most difficult 3 weeks of my life, which appeared to be culminating in one of the most emotionally difficult moments of my life), took the papers given to me by the cashier, and told me to wait. 20 min later, I approached the counter to inquire about my receipt - it was sitting on the counter and she hadn't called me....there were only 3 other people in the room. Amazed by the insurmountable passive aggressiveness I was facing, I collected my receipt and returned to the collect my husband from surgery (as I had been directed to do). The nurses questioned my paperwork, then accepted it.

I waited. In a room full of people reminding me how much I had to be grateful for - babies with breathing tubes down their preciously small noses, being clutched to their father's chest by an arm crippled by polio; a young man with a bandaged stump in place of a foot, followed by a line of relatives who looked so much like funeral mourners it forced the realization this man would no longer be able to provide for his family through the manual labor they all relied on; dozens of people crowding around, the sick and the well blurring together and the smell of the reality of the human race permeating the room. I counted my many eases in life repeatedly, and thought thanks.

After 15 minutes, the nurses told me my paper work was unacceptable and sent me back to the cashier, but assured me my husband would be ready "for collection" upon my return. I did as I was told and returned with the new paperwork. A brusque nurse informed me my husband was not ready. When I asked why, she told me was not recovering well and had begun vomiting (which I was later told by him was not true) - I could hear his voice down the hall but was not allowed to go see him. When I questioned whether he'd been given anything to eat or drink, she told me "you can do that when I release him" - I suggested he may feel ill because he hadn't eaten of drank anything since the night before. She assured me that wasn't the case...and stared me down. I questioned whether he was still connected to an IV, she assured me he was (which I was later told by the Handsome Man was not true)...and stared me down harder. I asked how long I should wait, in the room filled with heartache and silent faces, she told me 30 minutes. I wanted to demand to see my husband, to demand she give him something to eat or drink. And I knew if I demanded she would keep him longer, in this absurd power play I had no hope of winning.

So I fled. I admit it, I did. I walked out of the hospital as fast I could - past the hundreds of people. Waiting people. With little to do but watch the freckled, red-cheeked white woman hurry past - chin as high in the air as it could go, searching for anywhere to cry. Kenyans don't cry in public. Almost ever. I state this with confidence and 18 years of experience living here. And they don't know what to do when I do. So I fled. And I hid. And I cried. And I cried. And I cried. It was as if that nurse, in all her blatant aggression and lack of sympathy, embodied everything that has slowly beaten me to the ground over the past 6 months. The false information I'd been given, the desire to just take care of those I love in the way I thought best blocked by immoveable forces, the lack of response when I asked questions, the assumption I was being impertinent when I asked questions, and the bottom line of "you can fix it when we release it to you."

Waiting is perhaps the most difficult thing to do - it starts the minute we're born. We're hungry, we aren't fed, we have to wait, and we immediately begin screaming. And it continues through the rest of our adult lives - though most of us learn how to quiet the external screaming.

After a 20 minute cry I returned. My husband was released to me, almost falling over from being so faint and nauseous. Pale as a sheet. After 5 minutes and 2 glasses of water his color came back and the nausea left. We drove away from the hospital, satisfied with the quality of surgery, but starkly reminded of the fact we weren't anywhere close to Pasadena, CA, graham crackers, health insurance, or recovery rooms.

The Handsome Man is mending, and we feel encouraged things are on the edge of improving. I share this story mostly just to share it, because it seems like a good glimpse and another "moment worth sharing." What I walked away with was the reminder that I have options (defined here as "the ability to control external circumstances contributing to or detracting from one's quality of life") - and that is a humbling thought, and a privilege I don't think should be taken lightly. Of course, there are always aspects of life where we have no choice, but for many of us there are options (basically, if you're reading this you have access to a computer, know how to use the internet, and are literate - you have options). I was reminded I have options to health care, I have options to where I live, I have the option to work or to stay home with my babies, I have the option to eat out, I have the option to choose what I want for dinner, I have the option to vacation, I have the option to read, to go back to school - all of the things about Nairobi that are difficult? I have the option to leave - not that it would be the best or most mature option, but it's an option. The millions and millions of people in refugee camps? No option. The millions and millions of people living below the poverty line? Very few options. Kids with terrible parents? Almost no options. I have options.

So, while waiting is difficult, and while something about life will always be out of my control, and something (many things) will always be difficult - I have options. And, because I have the option to choose my response - I choose to be grateful, to see others suffering as a reminder to be grateful for my eases and to formulate a response to the inevitable presence of suffering - in my life and in the lives of others.

Happy choosing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A photo journal

Oh my goodness! Sarah is actually blogging twice within a 7 day period? Yes, I am...and as promised, here are some pictures. I'm just going to stick in some captions, but hopefully these pictures give you a glimpse of what we've been doing, how much my little cherubs are growing, and what our life is like on a day in and out basis. Enjoy!

A few months ago, we took the kids to the Giraffe center where Kai was able to feed (and actually, now that I think about it, see) giraffes for the first time. He wasn't even scared! Now, whenever we see a gifaffe, he says "mama, I want ta smagck it. I want ta smagch da gewaff"

Our only outside space is our front porch, so we spend a lot of time out there reading, coloring, and watching rainstorms. That's our car in front center!

Kai helping papa get ready for "wort" with his "toffee, pooter, and chews"

Kai loves disguises, dressing up, and practicing his facial expressions in the mirror - especially whiny faces, he finds them hilarious

Ndemi, Kai's playmate who lives in the apartment above us - the boys play together almost every afternoon and weekend.

Kai continues to be our little acrobat, climbing, balancing, jumping, and perching in places we didn't know possible. This is one of his favorite front porch perches.

Kai's Red Flyer tricycle has proved to be one of the best items we brought over from the US. He rides it everywhere - even to take himself down the hallway to go potty in his bathroom...adorable. Mika will need one soon, too!

The Handsome Man travels quite a bit, so Kai sends his bunny Babs with papa whenever he travels. Then, we can skype with Babs, see pics of his travels, and know papa isn't alone (this seriously helps Kai feel so much better, and I highly recommend it for all you with little ones and traveling parents). This is a picture of Babs on his way to Canada via Dubai.

Babs driving the bus to Canada...

Kai "checkin mah email"

Babs visiting Mamaa and Papaa in Canda

I've been doing a fair bit of crafting, sewing, re-doing furniture, baking, etc (I'll try and do a blog soon with pics of all the things I've made/done) but for now, here is your sneak preview of a pair of Elmo pajamas I made for Kai...it was my first attempt, and no pattern, thus the neck looks a little more 'lounge-ish' than I intended. Nevertheless, he loves them! (I even made the buttons with Elmo on them! My 80s and 90s were spent in Kenya, so I didn't get to enjoy Shrinky Dinks at summer camp like some of you...I'm enjoying it now)

There she is!! Pretty little Mika, Mikita, mi Mikita bonita, Mikaela, Mikachoo, Meekster....she has a million nicknames, and a million smiles to match. Such a great sleeper, and so contented most of the time, she's a bright, bright spot in every day. She's just started free-standing and walks easily holding loosely onto someone with one hand. She is also a pro at riding on the back of Kai's tricycle while he pedals the two of them around; and a master at getting up a flight of stairs in less than a minute flat.


We took an afternoon and drove about an hour out of the city, stopped at a little campground spot, had some lunch, Kai fell in the pool (which meant the Handsome Man got to spend the drive home wet), and played around in the open air. So lovely (except for the pool bit)!

There they are - little chariot races...Kai's training for Tour de France, and Mika for her future in wakeboarding.

Father's Day with my parents - they're a consistent Kenya highlight! The kids and I spend at least one day a week at their house, working in our garden (pictures to come), playing in their yard, exploring all the bugs and worms, and playing the piano....wonderful to have grandparents so close by!

We try to get out of town every so often, and usually go down to Lake Naivasha. A few weekends ago, we also went for a walk at a place called Crescent Island where plains animals (and apparently boa constrictors?) roam freely. Kai had a great time, though my shoulders were killin at the end of the day from carrying him around all day. The Handsome Man broke his shoulder, and has a long recovery ahead, so I'm literally carrying more weight :) Great weight to carry, though, and great place to carry it.

Kai and the Handsome Man sauntering through the savanna - in the background are impala, wildebeast, Grants gazelles, zebra, and buffalo (the dark blob near the lake in the upper left quarter of the picture). So fun!

Mika spent her walk asleep on her Koko's back (Koko means 'grandmother' in Maasai, the tribe my parents have worked with for 25 years)

The Handsome Man, me, and Kai on the top of a hill overlooking Lake Naivasha - so nice to get out of town!!

And just to give a little flashback to where we were one year ago - there we are holding our new niece Jennifer who just turned 1 yesterday!! And that little bump pushing through my hospital gown - it's Mika!!! Crazy where we go from one year to the next....

So - there you go - just a bit of an update via photos from this side of the world. We actually haven't done nearly as much as we should've in terms of traveling/enjoying Kenya over the past 3-4 months. The Handsome Man has been really busy, and we haven't prioritized traveling like we should. But, the Handsome Man's parents get here in two weeks and we have a couple fun vacations planned. Look for more entries coming soon! x - Sarah

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