Monday, September 16, 2013


Enough giraffes already!  What’s the town of Naivasha like? 
Eric, wake up!  Giraffes!
Glad you asked.  It’s almost recommendation season, so let’s answer this is question in recommendation format to get in the mood.

Typical street in town
What are three adjectives to describe the stude…uh, I mean Naivasha?

Enriching.  I wasn’t sure what to expect before coming, but Naivasha has terrific food, people, and numerous shops and stands to explore.  Good times.

Dusty.  I think Naivasha was used for the set of Tatooine in the original Star Wars.  I actually don’t mind the dust.  It makes me feel...tougher?  Let’s move on.

Pulsating.  Driving or walking around the center of town increases your pulse rate, especially at night. There are people everywhere and boda boda motorcycles darting in and out. I find it both exhilarating and exhausting.  Camille explained that many expatriates move to Africa for the freedom.  You want to put three people on a bike pedaling down a highway while carrying a baby?  Go for it.   You want to pass three cars on a highway heading into an oncoming truck?  Sounds like fun.  Afterward, we can go beat some donkeys.  I do find it thrilling driving and walking around without any rules, but don’t the rules make everyone safer and less stressed out?  Yes.  Yes they do.    
I drove home from a restaurant last night on a normal road.  Driving on this road at night is just like driving on roads in the states, only if you take away the road lines, all lights, all traffic rules, and added crazy passing matatu taxi vans and massive wild animals. For my Open Window students, it would be similar to driving in the Slender Man game.  I’m sure I’ll get used it in nine months and ridicule myself for panning the freedom.  

Most people actually live outside of town in the surrounding slums.  I’ll talk about the slums in a future post, but we should feel very thankful for what we have.

Camille's hospital
Best Choice Supermarket

What are the academic strengths of Naivasha?

All Naivashans are exceptionally polite and formal texters!  It is refreshing.  I’m pretty sure my friend, Daniel, makes fun of me in Swahili, but then he sends me the most polite texts.  I make fun of him in English, and but I need to work on my polite texting. 
 Everyone is also eager to talk with us.  I went to a bar on Saturday night called Acacia and realized that I still feel rather uncomfortable, mostly because of the language barrier.  Camille laughs at me because I still talk to everyone, but I need to learn Swahili.  Around eight 5-10 year old children gave me Swahili lessons by the lake this weekend, so I’m getting there.  Sawa Sawa.   

Camille with Eric and my Swahili teachers.  The lake is full of flamingos.


Naivasha has terrific food and amazing juice.  I went to this restaurant called Smart Butchery with my friend Jody last weekend.  At Smart Butchery (and other places), you can pick out your own live chicken, and they will butcher and cook it in 40 minutes.  Wasn’t I a vegetarian in Seattle?  I decided against choosing between the two chickens, Edgar and Murray, and just ate what previously had been killed.  I think.  Edgar was gone when I left.  Freshly stewed chicken with ugali (corn dish that everyone eats similar to polenta) and sukamawiki (sautéed greens).  Yum.

Smart Butchery.  I'll miss you, Edgar and Murray, but I will also eat you.
Mothers might be the best restaurant in town

Eric, Camille, and Jody at one of our favorites, Carnelly's.  Baby, what are your thoughts?  Um, I'm walking on a table.  I'm up late.
 Of course, the setting is a strength, as you’ve previously seen.  More on the fabulous setting at the end.

What are some areas of improvement for Naivasha?

Don’t run me over, stop beating the animals, and no Cheerios for Eric. (Eric is spoiled). 

Anything else you would like to add about Naivasha?
  •    Animals on the road!  I love it.  We encountered our first baboon on the side of the road yesterday.  I also question the intelligence of sheep.  They tend to wander into the road pretty often. 
  •  Camille is full of insight today (and every day!  Every day, Sweetie!).  Kenya is similar to the U.S. in income disparity.  Despite being one of the richest countries in Africa, Kenya has some of the poorest health metrics, such as maternal mortality, infant mortality, life expectancy, and extreme poverty.  1% percent of the country consumes and flaunts the wealth while the slums continue to grow. 
          And Camille and I are now part of this 1%.  

I took Eric on another little Safari last Thursday.  I know, more giraffes, but I can’t help it.  Eric slept in his carrier while I walked around.  We were all by ourselves, and it was breathtakingly peaceful and beautiful.

I crept up to the lake with Eric to get this picture, but I started to feel a little uneasy.  I was surrounded by dense growth, there was a dead gazelle to my right, and all of sudden, the birds took off in front me...

...and when I turned around, I saw this water buffalo eying us under the tree.  Time to go.
Giraffes were everywhere.  Try to count all of the giraffes in this picture.  Answer on the next pic.
There were 457 giraffes.  Just kidding, I think there were eight.

  At this point, Eric began to wake up and yell.  This giraffe was intrigued, but the scared zebra hid underneath the giraffe.  Yes, I think the zebra is under the giraffe.
Baby safari. Life is great.
 HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the greatest mother of all time.  We'll be thinking of you.


  1. D-

    First, Eric is way too young to be dancing on the table at a bar. Didn’t you at least wait until first semester in Brunswick to do that . . . oh, no, wait . . . probably not! At dinner last night, I told Liz the story of you picking out the chicken that was to be cooked for you, and she almost lost her dinner. Guess I will have to exercise better judgment about dinner conversation! I am really struck by how much of “your city” looks so western in flavor . . . only to be surprised by a picture of a street scene that is anything but western. Your description of driving sounds like a variation on trying to outrun McGarry on Giberson Road when you have been ____________________. I notice that a lot of the business establishments in town seem to have bars on windows. Is the local crime that much of an issue? You said in an earlier post that you felt very safe in your home – that has to be a good thing. I continue to find myself returning to the nature pics repeatedly!

    All the best,

    1. Thank you for all of your comments, Les! Parts of Naivasha certainly feel very western. Crime is not major issue, as it is in Nairobi, but there is some crime.

  2. D, C, E,

    I just read the story from Nairobi . . . be safe, be smart, may a higher power look kindly on you . . . we will pray that it was an isolated incident . . . and we hope you are OK.

    Les and Liz