Friday, April 25, 2008
BORN in the USA
Well, I do appreciate being an American. I don’t have as many American friends in
Maybe also it was that I had the added ‘glamour’ of being around a bunch of white people (which was weird in and of itself) and being the One Who Lives in “
How exactly does one work off penance for that?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Written on Saturday (April 12): Kibaki and Raila had stopped talks and were both grandstanding, threatening to drop out of the “Grand Coalition” government
Everyone is annoyed and frustrated. I think I can say that with a high degree of confidence, unfortunately. Lots of folk are frustrated with the Politicians – the ‘hardliners’ on both side who are refusing to take what could have been at least a short-term solution and make it work.
I think everyone recognized that the February “coalition government” solution was a short-term solution. It wasn’t going to work the way that it does in
In the meantime, there are still THOUSANDS of people in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps who are convinced that they cannot go back to their homes, their farms, their jobs, their schools, or their lives.
Written on Sunday (April 13): Kibaki and Raila announce that they have come to an agreement, and they name a 40 member cabinet. That’s right – 40 ministries, with 40 ministers. Also, a Prime Minister (Raila).
Well, it’s amazing how grateful one can be for a bad deal, when the day before it seemed like there would be no deal at all. I guess it’s a good tactic – make everyone worry that the leaders are going to whip their respective populaces into a frenzy again….and then agree to something everyone knows is a huge waste of money but which is a lot better than civil war.
Twenty four new ministries have been pulled out of…anatomically correct but impolite places to mention here. I mean, some of them are potentially good ideas...sure, northeast Kenya needs more attention, but I have serious doubts that the new Ministry for NorthEast Kenya will do much to help that area. I guess we’ll see.
Written on Monday (April 14): Mungiki members block many of the major roads in and around
Okay. First of all, man, it is discouraging to wake up the day after the government has named a 40 member cabinet with the argument that it has to be that big in order to appease all of the parts of Kenya, to wake up from that to an SMS from the US Embassy that ‘gangs of youth are clashing with police’ and blocking roads in Nairobi. Sigh.
So the Mungiki. They are a “sect” – because they were originally focused around reviving Kikuyu religious beliefs and practices. As a way to reclaim heritage, as a way to shake off the cloak of colonial repression…pretty much good stuff, as far as my post-colonial white sensibilities are concerned. Fast forward to today, and the Mungiki is a Gang. A Gang that controls a lot of the matatu routes, that provides most of the basic services of the Kikuyu slums, that holds initiation ceremonies and that depends a lot less on their traditional spiritual beliefs than it does on the fear of what will happen to you and your family if you cross them.
The Mungiki mobilized big time during the elections, and in the post-election mayhem they did a lot more ‘recruiting’ – in some areas, young Kikuyu men who refused to join were killed. All of the militia were being pumped with money from politicians and big men during this time also. Now we are back to a time of ‘peace’ in which we have a Grand Coalition, but we’ve also got Grand Militia. This is going to be a problem for a while...
Thursday, April 03, 2008
In Memory of Stephen Otieng
He was found in his locked apartment on Tuesday, dead from multiple stab wounds. His old laptop was missing, and his phone. We don’t know what happened. The police are looking into it, but so far this seems to primarily involve asking the family and work colleagues for payments.
I was in
We miss Stephen. We already miss his contributions to the Stop EPAs campaign, and I know that within
More good food.
- Starches – I LOVE
- Groundnut sauce – Somehow they make it fluffy kind of. And usually the peanuts are pounded with the red skins still on them, so that makes the sauce sort of pink. So good with matoke.
- Bananas – I hate bananas in the
- All of the food (except the raw meat) – so….good…..
- Tejj – Honey wine. Drinking it makes you feel like a greek god (well, yes, it is potent. But I’ve never drunk very much, so I can’t say whether or not one would eventually feel that one has power to intervene in the lives of mortals. It’s more the fact that it is honey wine, and tasty honey wine, that makes me feel that way)
- Coffee – I reckon Ethiopians have drunk coffee longer than anyone else in the world, seeing as it originated in
You know how West Africans tend to be really tall and big? It might be because they have the best food in
- Red Red – Fried plantain, bean and tomato sauce, fish. The whole thing as spicy as you can take it.
- Jollof Rice – Chicken, rice, vegetables, the whole thing as spicy as you can take it.
- Shiroo – the chili sauce that makes everything so very good.
FOOD - Kenya
(sorry - had computer problems where i couldn't cut and paste, so couldn't blog for a while..)
I do like food. And, happily, I have eaten a LOT of good food in the past 2+ years as an MCCer.
- Passionfruit Avocado juice – As previously mentioned, this is a divine combination. Okay, yes, for the benefit of my gourmet relatives (hi Karen!) it’s probably a puree from the avocado. But whatever you call it, it is dang tasty. Passionfruit – known as ‘passion’ in these parts - is a tangy fruit, and it balances nicely with the smooth avocado. If you ever find yourself in the Jomo Kenyatta airport, go all the way down past Gate 14 and you’ll find a Java House that usually has it. Enjoy!
- Indian Food – In plenty, relatively cheap, and extremely tasty.
- Irio / Mokimo – in my opinion, the best of the limited starch options in
North Rift Valley
- Ugali - I’m not a huge fan of ugali, the basic starch of
- Ghee – Well, most people don’t have refrigerators once you leave Nairobi (and for that matter, lots don’t have them in Nairobi), which explains in part the rarity of butter and the commonality of Blue Band, a palm oil margarine. So dairy farmers tend not to make butter, but one time when I was staying at Hellen’s we made ghee. It involves making butter and then cooking it over a fire, stirring very very briskly the whole time until it separate into clear oil (ghee) and little pellets kind of that can also be used for cooking. Tasty, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- Honey – Kenyan bees are still alive, and they are producing great honey.
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