Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My christmas. Minu jõulud.

Text both, in English and Estonian + photos here.

Inglise- ja eestikeelne tekst ja fotod siin.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas and new year :)

So, I have made my plans for christmas and new year and they are little bit different from the previous years.
Looking forward. Photos will be here soon :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Philosophical thoughts...

So, as you understand from the title, if you are not interested in my thoughts, then wait for the next entry:)

For the ones, who are still left here...

I left from Shianda, because I felt that I need a break and I need to get to know new places and new people. Now, what is the most funny thing is that even though I left Shianda, Wefoco and Shianda are still in my everyday life. Even I am not there at the moment, but I feel like I am doing even more for Shianda. Call me Shianda:) I am writing articles for newspapers, answering emails, updating databases and lobbying about WEFOCO.

Second thing that I noticed is that if I work here the way I work: on my own and following my own schedule, I do not give myself a break. My thoughts are always on work stuff and other tasks. I came here to write. So even if I am not writing all day, that sometimes can happen, the paper and pen are always next to me and I am making notes. Sometimes, the days when you are not writing, can be even more productive in the end, because in my thoughts the new chapter is written. And next day I just write it down.

Next to the things mentioned above, I want to rest - to have my privacy and not to talk with anybody if I feel like this. Here I can really close the door and to do my own things.

Today was the first day when I felt that I am not tired any more, I feel great and I am actually waiting to get back to Shianda :) Two Estonians are coming there for Christmas and another ones donated money to buy food for the local people, so it feels like I should be there during Christmas. After that, January and February seem to come very busy.

And I am waiting for Mirjam...Talking about Mirjam, while reading her letters (first from Kenya and then from New Zealand), I feel like this trip is way more bigger thing for her than for me. She gets excited and she gets amazed and She is not tired. Seems like she came to do this trip to find herself or peace in herself, but I am discovering the world. Learning from the world is a tricky thing, because the more I see and experience, everything gets more and more relative. In one village, there can live two neighbors in exactly the same conditions and they can have totally opposite personalities and they can think totally differently about the world and their lives. We all want to be very unique and special, but then we tend to group other people by their nationality, skin color, religion, education level, profession or anything else like that. Does it make any sense? So, experiencing all this makes it sometimes quite difficult to express opinion or make to conclusions, because there are at least two sides of every story. Therefore, I have stopped making conclusions or "tagging" groups of people. I can only describe what I see. But I can not see all. "I am not young enough to know everything."

So, isn't is funny? You get loads of experiences and you see so many different life stories, but instead of having more statements and answers, you actually have less. Maybe you have more respect and more understanding about different cultures and therefore, instead of saying something, you are rather quiet.

But again, thinking about Mirjam and her excitement about travelling and new cultures, I got first time the thought that maybe everything that is happening to me is a normal reaction, as I have not lived in my country for 2 years. Maybe I should go there and have normal life routine for some time. And may be if I start travelling again, I would also write like Mirjam. But on the other hand, I feel that at the moment in Kenya I can see things more like "insider" not observer and I like this feeling.

I am reading several blogs about people who are "travelling around the world" in one year and who are preparing themselves for a long time to "let it all go". I have been "living in the world" for 2 years and it just has happened like this. First, I went just for 5 months and I remember how excited and happy I was during the first months about my decision.

Yes, there are new and old places and people as well who I want to see and meet. There are so many things in my "list" and I am doing a lot of things. I feel like chasing my dreams constantly. 

The end :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

The culture shock

So, today I visited a Kenyan wedding and I got a culture shock...after that while meeting with four running Estonians here. I knew that there are some Estonians staying in one guesthouse and we organised a meeting, so I went there and First I was talking with two girls and as nobody else said anything while we were talking, I assumed that everybody else are non-Estonians:) So, after kind of long time it finally came out that two guys who were sitting opposite me, were also Estonians.

So, for me, after all these months, if totally strangers (Kenyans) come to me with friendly smile, shaking my hand warmly, inviting me to their houses share the only food they have and offering their homes to "stay here as long as you want", always saying good bye: "I am so thankful for your visit, god bless you!". Honestly, I meet this friendly attitude and helpful approach a lot and the Estonian in me feels sometimes little bit uncomfortable in middle of all that. I am spoiled by all that and sometimes it is difficult to appreciate it, but now... I met two Estonians here, who even did not say "hello" to me. No, not that I blame anybody, far from that. I like if people behave the way they feel comfortable, not pretending, but during the following evening I felt that they are behaving the typical Estonian way in middle of Kenya... I am very proud of my nationality, but after travelling and living in so many different places, all Europeans are Europeans for me and it's not such a big deal anymore if somebody is German or Estonian or Swedish or anything else. In general I guess the more I learn about different cultures and countries, the less I recognize them. What I have learnt is that there are absolutely great people in every culture. I see a person, not nationality.

So, while travelling I am used to meet open-minded people who have somehow similarly forgotten the nationalities and are focusing on a person, but now I met the real Estonians in a context where I usually do not meet them. 

So, to finish this topic, the evening was great and conversations interesting and it is really good for a change to be in the European group of people. Who have lived alone in a different culture, I guess you understand me. Ehee...tomorrow again :)

But now the wedding. It was nice:) It was the first part of the ceremony: sending away the bride. So, the wedding had to start at 10, we reached there for 11 and I actually was worried that I was late, but of course nothing had started yet. So, there was about 30 people who had ALREADY arrived and others kept on coming. At 12.30 the food was ready and everybody stood in a line and got rice, beans, one potato, half chapati, meat and souce to one plate. Later on, everybody got as much additional food as they wanted and water as well. The food was made by women. The serving, cleaning up and dishes were done by men. I was told that the neighbors collect money and then buy the equipment that they need for the weddings (like a lot of plates and spoons and so on) together and use these things during several weddings. Also, the trucks are borrowed from some friends.

In general, the wedding was exactly my taste: it was a nice, but everybody felt themselves there comfortable, nobody came to show off and the host family was sincerely worried about that the people would have good time, but not worried that"everything would go perfect". The atmosphere was as relaxed.

Some people were singing...not very well. In some point I recognized, that I even did not notice how bad the singer was, because it did not seem to be important, the songs were amusing and the mood was good. Then I fell deep into my thoughts, analyzing in details following. If the singer is lame in Kenyan wedding, people still have a great time, but if same would happen in Estonia, it would be definitely a topic of dissatisfaction. 

After eating (it took about 2 hours), most of the people had finally arrived and little bit after 3 o'clock the real ceremony started. The bride came with 4 nice, but very small cakes. I looked around me, saw about more than 300 people and I realized that no cake for me today. Bride cutting the cake with some other women was the important part and then some lucky ones got cake. Bride and the escorting women sat on the chairs and then all the people started giving speeches that were regularly interrupted by the prayers. After some time, people started bringing envelopes to the big covered bowl in front of the bride - these were the rich people who had some money to give as gifts. Some presents were given as well. Then after 2 hours the speeches were finally over and all the relatives of both sides were lined up for many times into many different lines. This was the first time I saw the groom (and the last). The mothers of both, bride and groom, gave gifts to each other.

So the party ended (or started...) with music and dancing and as it was getting dark, people started heading home with the big trucks and matatus and anything else that they came with. I climbed to one truck and got a lift to the road where I was walking for a some time. I ended up in matatu, where I was pushed in, but I didn't mind, because, it was already dark.

After the wedding, the father of the bride (the host), came to me and thanked me for coming: "welcome back any time, this is home. thank you, thank you, good bless you!" The same text was repeated by other family members. 

The guest truck

Robert, thanks for inviting!

Hands clean...

...and to eat!

This food :)

The food line

The real house and the bride house before opening it

The relatives

House, where bride was sitting during all the ceremony

The important cake ceremony

The mothers changing presents

The bride on the LEFT :)

The most stylish dress....

The "kitchen"

I hope that the cake was good...

The cake...those, who got it...
From left: "800 meters runner", Robert (maraton man), the brother of bride (also a maraton man), I guess this one was the sister of bride and then the escort of bride and the musungu who had only hiking cloths with her during this trip :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Undiscovered areas...

Trip: one week.
The most impressive places: a lot
Climbing hours: 9
Full days of walking: 3 (2 with bags)
Main food: mangoes...
The price of an accommodation for 2 people everywhere during the trip: 200 sh (=2 euros)
Hours waiting for a matatu in one town: 12
New phone numbers of locals: 4
The craziest thing: the night matatu from Tot to Iten with the sleeping stopover in middle of nowhere for 2 hours
The favorite experience: walking in a mango garden with a local who gave us as much as we could carry + walking from village to village
What do I think: next time again, maybe with little bit less things :)

1. impressive place: ORTUM
 
In the beginning of the 5 hours climbing...up and only up

After some really difficult parts of the trail.

There were still people living

4 hours walked, no food, but good mood

You can call it THE view point

Local woman climbing to the top and guiding us

You can call this THE VIEW as well

How did these cows get up here?

From Lomut to Tot
Morning sun











the mountain

The mountain vol 2

Marich

River means a town. Town means a river.

Travelling in the truck

Lomut market

Tegla Lorupe Peace Race...Stop cattle raiding

The bed

Truck traveling vol 2

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Iten.

I'm sitting on two hiking mattresses, one of them belongs to Alari and another one to Elen, who both left them to Kenya, saying that maybe there's some use of them here and I can say, yes, there is. On the mattresses, there's a small blue blanket that was also left by Alari and a warm blanket and two sheets borrowed by "my Kenyan family".

The light is coming in from a big window in my room. My kitchen corner consists of a black washing bowl and 2 water containers, one bought and another one given by my Kenyan neighbor after she saw that I have only one small one. Next to the containers, there's a paraffin cooker and cooking pot, both by my Kenyan family again. On the newspaper on the ground I have all food I need for cooking. Next to me, there's a jam tin that is converted into a cup - really nice and stable one. Spoons and plates from my Kenyan family again.

Next to the drinking water bottles, there's a "water-guard" for treating the water - I even do not remember when I was buying drinking water. On the wall is hanging a hiking bag, left here by Elen, repaired more than once. In the corner, there's my old phone charger - found use as a hanging rope for the cloths. On the newspapers on the floor there are some other cloths, books, notebooks, pens, medicines and washing equipment.

As I take relatively few clothes with me while travelling, then today, after washing those, I discovered that I have nothing left with long sleeves, but it was cold. I met my friend and he also recognized that I felt cold, soon I walked home with his favorite jumper. The jumper is now on the newspaper next to the warm socks that I got from the flight (Turkish airlines).

I did not write this long story to tell that I don't have any furniture. Newspapers, phone charger and hiking mattresses are furniture....aren't they? :) But I somehow like this... life. Being happy that a small butter box gets empty to get a box for salt and another one for sugar. Cooking from the tomatoes and onions bought from the seller on the corner. Life without a jumper.

Meeting people. Simple people. Runners, whose times are better than the Estonian record, but who live in a small rented room, made out of iron sheets, without electricity and having just one bed and running cloths hanging on the rope over the bed, cooking their maize and beans outside on the firewood, because there's no money to buy anything else. Running. Dreaming. Living. These people inspire me. If this is not living the dream, then what is?

Living this simple keeps me somehow awake. I can focus my energy where I need to focus it. I rather feel happy about an extra container than sad about all I "could have".