Thursday, March 31, 2005

Church to Roof Level

The group from the North Carolina Conference of SDA, led by Terry Clemm, has dived full blast into our work program here. Thanks to their persistent work, the Engose Nanyoki SDA Church is almost finished. We are now up to roof level and ready to put on the iron sheets tomorrow. From the Wilkins group, Brit and Barry have done a bang up job completing the church pews.

Today was the last day for the Wilkins medical team at the Oloseeonon Clinic. Assisented by Wendy Getchell PA from the NC group, they treated over 150 patients. Patients ailments ranged from typhoid fever to brucellocis.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Topi Highlands

The mission group from the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of SDA has been in camp for several days now. Everyone arrived safely from the US and we have already enjoyed an excellent safari through the Masai Mara.

Today the medical team went to Isokon and treated about 130 people. A case of elaphentasis was treated. Thankfully we had exactly one dose of the required medication.

The building team continued their work on the new church at Oliseenon. Shelves have been completed in the pharmacy at the clinic and work continued on the ceiling.

VBS was held at the Oliseenon school with about 300 kids, while Mitch had another meeting at the Transmara church.

Rains have returned to the Mara and we have had an influx of wildlife. A herd of around 20 eland spent the day in vicinity of camp. Mixed in with them were many zebra and topi. Topi rarely venture above 1500 meters. With camp being at 1900 meters we are lucky to have them.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Cell Phone Chiefs

I met the new area chief on Friday and gave him ride to a meeting he was having. The area that he rules is from the Mara River Bridge on the C13 to Mara Serena to Isokon area to Lolgorian and then an approximate straight line back to the bridge. A land dispute was going on between two Masaai, which necessitated the meeting. When I went back the meeting was just ending and the elders invited me to sit under the tree and share a meal with them. After asking if I would like some goat, I explained that I had been a vegetarian since birth. This bit of information caused a bit of a stir, with the story passing from elder to elder. My diet was anathema to the Masai diet of blood and milk. They were very accommodating though and soon offered me a plate of potatoes and smoke flavored rice.

Times are changing in Masaailand. This chief carried a Nokia cell phone, dressed in camo jacket, and wore Bata veldskoens. No red dress to be seen on this guy

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Spears and Simple Sticks

A month ago we bought Cody a wooden spear from some of the Masai ladies that come here to camp to sell curios. The greatest toy from the States never made him as happy as that simple spear. It is now lost, everyday we hunt for it around the area it was last seen. He doesn’t seem to worry about it; he is now playing with a basic carved stick. More primitive looking, but all the same games and stories are initiated by it.

I haven’t figured out the schedule of the fauna that come around camp. Of course that would probably be a life time endeavor. In the early part of the week we had many zebra, impala, and topi in front of the lodge, towards the escarpment edge and along the airstrip.
Yesterday it was overcast with wind and we didn’t see a single animal. Today, we have similar conditions, but the regulars are back along with a large herd of giraffe.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Migration

Right now most of our staff is gone, as we are between mission groups. Tonight we asked the two remaining workers to watch “Winged Migration” with us in the dining room. We all thoroughly enjoyed the amazing cinematography of this award winning film on bird behavior. Upon seeing the sage grouse do his courtship chest puffing routine, the askaris outside hooted in wonderment. After, Theodore, our staff cook, thanked us “for that nice flick”. Coincidently, this movie was just shown last night at the Nairobi Museum

Monday, February 14, 2005

Beautiful day in the Masai Mara. Clear, temperature not too hot. I took Courtney and Cody to Mara Serena lodge for a Valentines Day lunch. A good value at $13 each and $6.50 for Cody. The desserts were excellent! At the gift shop, I found the Masai Mara Visitor Map Guide published by Jecana Maps. Detailed maps, photos, and very nice illustrations make one of the best guides to the area that I have found. The ISBN # is 1-77009-004-5.

We followed the Mara River back to camp. Being mid day, we did not find many animals, but did see a large pod of hippo sunbathing on the riverbank and the first croc sighting for Cody. One of the first grass fires of the year was seen in full swing, possibly from the area around Olare

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Bush Tech

I am based at Kawai in Transmara County on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, East Africa. Updates to this blog are done using a Dell Inspiron 1000 (the low of the low). The modem is a old Ericsson T39m mobile phone connected to the computer via Bluetooth at the USB port. Celtel (formerly Kencell) has a dialup number of 350. No username or password is required. This service is provided by a company by the name of Access350. There are no other charges beyond the phone call. Of course, I am limited to a 9.6 connection, so am limited as to the speed of the web browsing I do. The Internet Accelerator program provided by Propel does somewhat help in that regard. This is an excellent set up if you are in a remote part of Kenya that only has cellular coverage. This equipment is stored in a Pelican 1490 Case, so is well protected against the hazards of bumpy roads, dust, and water.