Has it really been nine months?

We cannot believe it but Marc and I are packing to leave Kapsowar right now. We are leaving for Nairobi Tuesday morning and then off to Cairo Wednesday evening. We have had a busy week of packing and good-byes and in many ways are sad to go. In other ways we are ready to start our way home (slowly but surely!) and see our families and friends again.

This past Wednesday we traveled down to the Valley (about a three hour drive from here, and it almost feels like a different country with all the different vegetation and the heat!) for a Dispensary visit. Marc saw about 10 patients while I sat outside and read and provided entertainment for the locals. (Who knew that a white person reading a book could be so entertaining!)
The view from the top of the valley before we started the long way down.
On the way to the valley we saw many burned out, destroyed houses and after some discussion with our driver we found out that all of these houses were destroyed during cattle raids in the year 2000. The Marakwet (the tribe around Kapsowar) and the Pokot (the tribe in the valley) clashed and many houses were destroyed like the ones above and many people were shot. We had heard about this in-fighting before but to see the evidence was jarring.
A termite mound.
On the way home. As you can see the road is excellent ;). We were happy we didn't stuck behind this truck the entire way.

We have had an absolutely wonderful time here in Kapsowar and have been so blessed with all of the people we have met, both at the hospital and the station here. We said goodbye to our good friends the Larson's this week as they are away at a conference. We sure will miss this family and their great kiddies. I have so enjoyed homeschooling them and playing games and baking with them.

Marc and Juliana. Marc may be taking this kikoi thing too far. He looks a little too feminine for my liking in this picture. ;)
Stephen wondering what the crazy lady with the camera is doing.
Chara on the swing outside their house.

We had some of our Kenyan friends over on Thursday and what initially was going to be quite a small gathering turned into quite a large one and was a great evening! The food stretched to feed everyone and an evening of great conversation was had by all.
Marc went on one last bike ride today to say goodbye to the area. He got this shot of his admirers on the way.

Tonight we had a goodbye potluck with everyone from station. We unfortunately don't have any pictures but it was a great chance to say good-bye to everyone and stuff ourselves. It is 10:15 and I am still full! Our next post will most likely be from Egypt, so see you in Cairo soon! Happy Grey cup Sunday all you Canadians!


colourful kangas and corruscating kelp

after 3 days of travel we are back in kapsowar. we took a morning ferry from stonetown to dar es salaam on the mainland, which was beautiful aside from everyone around us being violently seasick for the second half of the journey. in dar es salaam we got on a bus at 1 in the afternoon and didnt arrive in mombasa until 2:00 am! we were pretty grumpy but after a quick sleep managed to get in a full day of walking around mombasa (being jealous of carlynne's present for her fiancee dan, i bought an antique telescope of my very own) and being ferried around by little motorized rickshaws before hopping a plane to nairobi. yesterday we took a bus to eldoret (the road is worse every time we take it!) and then our LAST MATATU RIDE to finally arrive in kapsowar after dark. it feels good to be home. and it is home, for another 10 days at least.

now that we are home we can put up more of our MANY pictures. i had to edit my list considerably and i will have to leave some things (such as swimming with dolphins) for another time.
from stonetown we toured a spice farm to see what spices look like when they are growing. it was actually extremely fascinating (maybe we are getting old). zanzibar is famous for its spices and they are everywhere. even the coffee is boiled with cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. the baked goods zing with ginger and lemon, and the seafood is swimming in paprika and curry and pepper and tumeric and fennel and cloves and on and on and on! at one time zanzibar produced 95% of the world's cloves. the picture above is kylie decked out in her impromptu spice farm regalia.
this is nutmeg. you throw out the fruit and grind up the nut. beautiful eh? pepper grows on vines that climb up other trees. cloves are a dried flower that is picked before it opens.

as mentioned previously, we did a lot of just wandering through the streets of stonetown. this is me accidentally being multiply impaled by a traditional swahili wooden door. the spikes are a holdover from india where they functioned to deter direct elephant assaults.
here is kylie walking in the rain. we had beautiful weather for our entire trip up until the last day when it rained so hard that the streets became rivers.

this is a shot from the porch of our banda near jambiani on the southern end of the island. our little guesthouse was nestled comfortably on the headland of a quiet beach midway between 2 small fishing villages. the women walking by from one town to the other were resplendent in their multicolored kangas. if you take an african gene pool and mix in a good portion of omani arab and indian bloodlines you end up with some extremely beautiful women and incredibly cute kids.
also from our porch.

the local ladies are able to gain a measure of financial independence by farming seaweed. basically they tie little sprigs of seaweed to a rope, then stake it in the tidal plains and let it grow. when it is big enough to harvest they gather it, dry it in the sun and then sell it to an exporter who ships it to asia (don't they have their own seaweed you ask? i am sure they do... maybe this seaweed is special).

well, that's all for now. tomorrow we go back to work and start packing up our house. kylie also volunteered to babysit juliana and chara and steven from monday morning until tuesday morning so i had better conserve my energy for roughhousing (where did that word come from i wonder?)


back in stone town

after our second zanzibari beach tour we are back in stone town ready to absorb more history and tasty food. we had an amazing time on the southern part of the island staying in a little banda on the beach (the second storey was ours) with a relaxed rastafarian beach bar steps away.
this is ali, the dancing bartender.

many of the local women farm seaweed in the tidal plains. the little farms where beautiful and elegant in their simplicity and function (the ladies were beautiful too)

as on lamu island, the kids here are super friendly and outgoing, and once we reveal our meagre knowledge of swahili they are eager to make friends.

i cant do all our experiences justice sitting here in the post office when i should be wandering around stonetown, so i will wait until we are back in kapsowar to tell stories. there are so many other things to talk about, but no time. the thing that i am most excited about was probably swimming with the dolphins. i am not talking about swimming around a little pool with a trained dolphin like in west edmonton mall, i am talking about finding a pod of wild dolphins and snorkeling around the indian ocean right in the midst of a gang of playful beautiful intelligent creatures who were not afraid of me at all. but that story really deserves a good telling so i will leave it at that for now.
we are in stonetown for 2 more days before we head back up to kenya to return to kapsowar. after that it is working and packing and goodbyes. we are not ready to leave zanzibar and we probably wont feel ready to leave kenya... there is never enough time, but we feel pretty lucky to have the time we have experienced thus far.



we have been in zanzibar a week now and are loving it. we have been trying and failing to get some pictures up, so i will keep this short.

we have spent about half our time in stonetown so far, and half of our time on the beach. highlights of stonetown include getting thoroughly lost in the meandering maze like narrow streets of the old town, and eating at the forodhani gardens, a park in the harbour where dozens of streetfood vendors set up shop every night and you can eat a full meal with shrimp and lobster or red snapper and octopus, plus falafel or coconut bread and fresh squeezed juices for under $5 a person.

highlights of the beach included swimming in the too beautiful to be real water, kayaking, and snorkeling in water right out of a national geographic special. amazing marine life!

hope this one works... gotta go!