The Center of the World


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Africa » Kenya » Nyanza Province » Kisumu
December 10th 2006
Published: December 17th 2006
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OK, not the center, more the middle. Kisumu is just south the equator, so we crossed a few times this week. In one village shop there was a sign that said, "located 30 miles east of the equator..."

Last week, I did some work in the field and visited a few school and houses, pretesting the surveys we are going to use starting in January. One of my favorite things about visiting houses is seeing the way that people decroate with a mix of old calenders, poorly translated proverbs, and very serious photos of relatives. The small sitting rooms always have an abundance of chairs, a small indicator for how important it is to have enough room to fit any group that comes by. Doors are always open and the joy and hospitality of people never ceases to amaze me.

I headed down to southern Nyanza to meet with some government officials to discuss the project. If you look at a map, Nyanza Province straddles Winam Gulf. On the way back from Mbita in Suba district, we took a ferry back aross the mouth of Winam gulf. I got a quick glance the explanse of Lake Victoria beyond. The
HeadcasesHeadcasesHeadcases

Everything here is carried on the head. If you have ever tried it, you know how difficult it is, especially if it is 20 liters of water, a day supply of firewood, or the harvest of kale. That stuff may be bushy, but it still looks heavy.
ferryman told me that I could see Uganda, but I was skeptical.


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Y2K PsalmY2K Psalm
Y2K Psalm

I always use this prayer when working at my computer
It's BACK!It's BACK!
It's BACK!

Remember what I was saying about the hyacinth in my "Kayaking the Vic" entry? This is taken from where we put our boats in. Last week, a huge island 'o plant blew in and overnight all boat traffic virtually stopped.
They lost the lottery for uniform colorThey lost the lottery for uniform color
They lost the lottery for uniform color

...but they do have a brand new electric pump and borehole.
OrphansOrphans
Orphans

In Nyanza, the HIV/AIDS rate is about 30%, leaving many children to grow up without parents.
Street kidsStreet kids
Street kids

One of the most upsetting things that I have come across in Kisumu are the street kids, nearly always huffing glue out of a used plastic bottle. Apparently many of these children have homes, but prefer the street. This photo was taken at a world AIDS day rally.


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