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May 17th 2010
Published: May 17th 2010
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Oops it became a really long story, so here are some highlights and things that got my attention. I understand that not all of you want to read the entire story 😉 For pictures I refer to facebook 😊

- peeling 25 kg of cassava every morning is very boring, but the children like it and it's really good to see them eating with a smile on their face!
- kenyan drivers are crazy, they overtake anytime, anywhere. which even gets Elise to shout: fuck you! asshole! while rasing her middle finger. liking my supervisor.
- becoming a real hero when it comes to big cockroaches and other stuff, armed with my flipflops and insectiside.
- study is going well, although our time schedule is very tight, and being in Africa doesn't really make it go faster.
- our car already broke down three times, today we had to pull the car with the other car, and we had to leave it in another village while someone is getting some genuine parts from Nairobi.
- went to the Taita hills last weeked, which was just great!
- saw a whole herd of elephants, from about 5 m distance 😊
- survived a picky picky ride through the mountains with a stoned driver.
- became a vegetarian for the time being, I am just too picky for the meat they serve here.
- still didn't have any diarrhea! (worth mentioning, right?)
- a very cute kid started crying when he saw me
- feeling weird every time I see a white person, you somehow feel you have to say hello, but I don't really want to..
- should have left my running shoew behind, it's just not gonna happen.
- you can find a church on every corner of the street, which on sundays leads to a lot of noise.
- not missing anything from back home too much, although I'd love to eat some pizza and dance salsa!

For the intersted reader:

We moved to another guest house, which is really great, rooms are nice, staff is very friendly, its way cheaper and above all it’s safe  There are four of us now, Lindsey arrived two weeks ago and Prosper arrived yesterday, nice team!

Two weeks ago I went to Nairobi with Jasper, by matutu... Great experience, takes a while since it stops every 5 min to let people in and out of the car (mainly in), amazing how many people can fit in one of those things.
In Nairobi we first picked up the car together with Gloria (she is the research assistant, and stays partly here with us, partly in Nairobi). Car looked good and we were very positive about heading back the next day. This obviously wasn’t going to be the case. Tuesday morning we first visited the hospital since I had some skin infection, which all in all took almost three hours, and when we were finally done the car didn’t start. Great. After a couple of hours the car was fixed again, but since we had some major shopping to do, we only left the next day.

Back in Kibwezi, the rest of the week was filled with preparations for both the cassava feeding trial and the vitamin A deficiency study. We organized a parents meeting for the feeding study, and together with Anne I explained to the parents what was going to happen, with Chris by my side as a translator. Next to this we organized an information session for all the headmasters and parents representatives from the 15 schools selected for the vitamin A study.

By then it was weekend, and Friday evening we went to a bar for some drinks. (we visited this bar before and that time a fight started between a waitress and some guy, the bottle she threw just about missed Gabriel’s head…) Evening started nice, I went dancing with Chris, and immediately after I entered the dance area I got sandwiched by the waitresses and some other girls. A dancing Mzungu  Was very funny, and with my white skin and different dancing style I remained the centre of attention. So all was great until another fight started, and this time a man hit a woman in the face as if she was a guy, right in the eye, blood everywhere. Well apart from the violence it’s a nice bar.

Last week we started the feeding study, and most things go quite well. Getting a bit bored by it though, especially peeling 25 kg of cassava every morning is not a fun activity. Three more days to go! But the children are lovely!

Last weekend I went to the Taita hills together with Lindsey and Chris. We left early saturday morning, and planned to take a bus to Voi, and then travel to Wundanyi by matutu. We were lucky though and got a lift, me and Lindsey in the front, Chris and about 7 other guy suffocating in the back of the car.
Wundanyi is very nice, it’s as small as Kibwezi but the location is stunning! Up in the hills, very green, nice and cool, and the people are very friendly and actually started talking to us (instead of just saying, Mzungu!, just imagine I would shout ' he zwarte' to every black guy in the Netherlands). From there we arranged some picky picky’s (small motors used taxi’s) and they took us all the way up to the top of the hill. With a helmet twice the size of my head, a road with more holes than actual pavement, and too many miles/hour I was relieved to get off on top of the hill. Only to find out my driver started to smoke a joint, meaning a stoned driver on the way back, how lovely! But the view was amazing, and they showed us around and in the end dropped us, alive, in Wundanyi.
The next morning we wanted to do some safari, due to the lack of an own car and money restrictions we decided to arrange our own safari tour. Chris found some taxi driver who said he could take us to a wildlife sanctuary in the Taita hills. We agreed on leaving at 06.00, and arranged a fair prize for the ‘tour’. 06.00 being African 06.00 we left at 06.45, being a little bit pissed off, not just because of the delay, but even more because of his tinted back windows which couldn’t open! I’m sure he answered yes, when we asked if his car was suitable for safaris :S But everything turned out quite well, after we peeled of the tinted part.
So we entered the park and drove around, and found zebras, antelopes, ostriches and many antelope like animals, really beautiful! It is not safari season though, and with the grass being very high (and no professional guide) it was very difficult to spot any other animals. After two hours we drove to a lodge to ask whether the rangers spotted any elephants, they told us it was not a good time to look for elephants, and that the rangers hadn’t seen any… But we decided to keep driving round for a while and in the end it paid of! Lindsey spotted an elephant! We drove towards it, and as we were hoping, there was a whole herd! Really amazing to see them in the wild! When we came close to the first one, the driver started to drive away very fast. He was scared of his car getting stepped upon by en elephant. I reassured him however that nothing could happen to us, would be too much of a coincidence when two persons from WU would be crushed by an elephant don’t you think? So in the end we were very happy and satisfied with our tour! And the ending was just perfect, we went to the main lodge to tell them were we spotted the elephants, and then they offered us to use their swimming pool, yeeeh  Was reeeaaally nice to swim and refresh, with a fantastic view over the park!

Ok to summarize I’m having a really good time over here!


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17th May 2010

Lieve Annemarie. Wat een leuk verhaal. Je beschrijft het allemaal zo humoristisch. Ik zie het ook al helemaal voor me, jij op kakkerlakkenjacht gewapend met slippers geweldig!! Ik heb gekozen voor de lange versie van je verhaal. Heel indrukwekkend allemaal en soms ook een beetje eng. Maar bovenal een prachtig avontuur voor jou en je medestudenten. Blij te lezen dat je het zo naar je zin hebt. Heel veel plezier nog en veel succes met je/jullie onderzoek. Veel liefs en een dikke kus, André en Sonja
19th May 2010

Thank you for the long part of your story. I like details more than just summaries. Time flies, it is certain, so I will keep my post short: Amazing little Mzungu will return Zwarte! HAve fun!
19th May 2010

Dear Annemarietje, realy loved this story! From whom did you get this gift of writing so nice and humorous?? The pictures are great, this elephant looks very impressive, didn't it frighten you a bit? I'm happy you're having such a good time, take care! big hug XX Mam
13th June 2010

Ik heb de lange versie gelezen en wauw, wat een belevenis zeg! Echt gaaf dat je zo'n onderzoek kunt uitvoeren in Afrika. Als je terug bent wil ik wel graag mee salsadansen hoor! Vrijdag ben ik met Vianne in Eindhoven gaan stappen en hebben we een cocktail gedronken in Santiago de Cuba hier. Inmiddels wordt ik helemaal gek van de straatmuzikanten die zich afwisselen onder ons raam 's avonds en in het weekend. Volg je het voetbal WK ook een beetje. Ghana heeft net gewonnen van Servie! Maar is niet goed voor de B1 huispoule, haha, volgens mij sta ik helemaal onderaan... Tot gauw! Maar voor nu genieten daar!! x Paulien

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