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Burns Night

Back in January, J. and I attended Burns Night, hosted by the Caledonian Society of Kenya. It was held at the Muthaiga Club. The evening started out fine. The food was good. The haggis was delicious. And then came the speeches.

Mind you, I waited several weeks to let myself cool down. I didn’t want this post to be a rage-filled outburst. So, this is my take after a few weeks and I am about as calm as I can be about the speeches that night.

The night was all about old men making sexist jokes. I live in a world where Donald Trump is president of the U.S. and yet that night was the most misogynist, sexist, hate-filled (against women) experience I have ever had. It was awful.

A friend and I left our table and went to the back to talk amongst ourselves. We didn’t want to stay and listen to anymore anti-female bullshit. We were told to shush as we were a bit loud…pesky women that we are.

I will not attend another Burns Night nor will I attend the St. Andrew’s Ball, or any Caledonian Society event in the future.

I will not give my money to a group that promotes misogyny. 

The Caledonian Society owes a big apology to women.

They also owe themselves a look into their own history. Perhaps they have forgotten their female monarchs? Or perhaps the men speaking that night were more of the John Knox variety, who can’t handle strong women? Well, it’s not the 16th century anymore. If the Caledonian Society of Kenya wants to remain relevant, I suggest it oust the sexist assholes and take on a more civilized approach to Burns Night.

Meanwhile, I urge everyone in Kenya to contact the Caledonian Society to let them know that this type of behavior is unacceptable. Boycott their events. Stop donating money to them. Cut them off entirely until until they change their sexist ways. 

Oreo and Maddie

Double Trouble: Expat Life with Two Dogs

Here we are…not only do we have a dog back in our life, we have two! So far, so good. It’s twice the work but half the trouble.

Oreo and Maddie get along very well. They play well together. There is no jealousy. There are no issues at feeding time. They even walk well together. My cookies make a great pair!

This was not by luck. Oreo needed a companion, but it had to be the right kind of companion. We made sure personalities would match. We also looked into a number of other things:

  • Can we afford two dogs?
  • Can we keep both socialized so that they can adapt if we move to a more urban area down the road?
  • Size mattered. The second dog couldn’t be any bigger than Oreo—again, we were thinking down the road to the likely possibility of a smaller home in our next post.
  • Would our lifestyle accommodate two dogs?

Maddie, like Oreo, was a forever decision. This is about family planning. We would not get two if two wasn’t something we could commit to overall. We would not get a second unless we could commit to specifically to that second dog’s needs.

If you’re an expat and you’re thinking of expanding on the pets you have, please consider all the bullet points I listed. Pets are your family. They depend entirely on you—just like children.

The issue of expats abandoning pets is becoming is bigger and bigger problem in Kenya. Please don’t add to this problem. Think it through and make responsible choices. If you’re not sure and want to research more, contact the KSPCA or check out this information from TNR Trust.

Okay, the cookies need some exercise (as do I). Off we go to Karura Forest!

Guest Post: Maddie

Hi there! My name is Maddie, short for Madeleine (which is a cookie). I am the most recent addition to my home, Chez Cookie. I love it here!

My mummy and dad are great. My big sister, Oreo, is fantastic. We get along very well.

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Like Oreo, I am a TNR dog. Also like Oreo, I had a broken leg—specifically, it was a fracture in my front, right leg. I’m healing up very well. The people who rescued me off of Mvuli Road, Dr. Cockar, and my foster mom Anne all made sure I would be healthy for my forever home.

I was five months when they rescued me. Now I’m seven months. I have to say, life has been getting better and better over the last two months. I’ve gotten so much love from so many people and I feel much better.

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I’m really excited to be here! Look what I can do with my ears! Sometimes, my mummy calls me Arrow.

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If you’re interested helping other dogs like me, please contact TNR or the KSPCA!

 

Review: Yapperville

While we were on Christmas holiday in Lamu, Oreo was on her own vacation at Yapperville. Yapperville is a boarding facility outside Nairobi for cats and dogs. They are also part of the IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transport Association) in Kenya, taking care of the export and import of pets.

We chose them because we had gotten so many great reviews from fellow dog owners. Everyone we know who has used them says that his or her dog loves it there. Oreo agrees! She had a great time time.

The place is like a big safari lodge for pets. There are a number of kennels with little boma-style huts. Dogs also go on walks in vast open fields (the facility is fenced along the perimeter) where they can run and play. It’s really nice.

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It made me feel better knowing that Oreo was enjoying her own vacation!

If you’re interested in Yapperville, you can contact them:

 

Tel: +254 722 732 547 / +254 722 833 277 between 8 am and 1 pm and then from 2:30 pm to 5 pm. You might prefer to text or email as they are out with the dogs most of the time and not in front of a computer or phone all day.

E-mail:

info@yappaville.com (General enquiries)
relocations@yappaville.com (Import & Export)

Please keep in mind that there are only so many boarding facilities in Nairobi. Make your reservations as far in advance as you can. They get booked up for Christmas by the end of October. I know people who are already booking summer boarding while they are on home leave. Don’t wait until the last minute!

 

Review: Kizingoni Beach Bandas

For our Christmas holiday in Lamu, we stayed at the Kizingoni Beach Bandas. It was absolutely wonderful! Tucked away on Lamu Island, far from Lamu town and Shela, it was paradise.

What do I mean by paradise? I mean just a few little bandas (cottages/huts), all spaced out from one another, and all very close to the beach. It’s quite Robinson Caruso, but with wi-fi. (If you forgot sunblock or a toothbrush or something, you’ll need to trek to Lamu town to get it. This is not a big, fully-stocked resort.)

Our Banda, Low Tide, was gorgeous. The lower portion was a covered but open deck with swinging day beds, a table and chairs, and then an additional lounge area.

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Upstairs, we had a balcony/terrace and then the room itself. Everything was very open. The room was decorated in the traditional Lamu style with attention to detail.

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The bathroom was a bit dark, but it was spacious. Good water pressure and plenty of hot water was a nice surprise. I didn’t expect it given the rustic vibe but it wasn’t a problem.

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The toilet area…It was a loo with a view. For the most part this was nice. But, when it got windy, the curtains would fly in your face, which made it awkward when using the toilet. I had to hold the curtains…it was like kite surfing while on the pot.

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I should note that, as is the case with all places in Lamu, there is no air conditioning. There was a fan and that helped with the heat, as did the ocean breeze. But, because it was all so open, there were a ton of mosquitos at night. Even with bug spray and netting, we were eaten alive and it made it hard to get a good night’s sleep. This will be the case wherever you go in Lamu. (Take anti-malaria medication.)

The one other thing…It was open…very open…and I am sure some animal got in one night. I woke up one morning to see the soap on the other side of the side. Okay, no problem. I pick it up. I noticed a bite mark…teeth imprints and a chunk missing. AHHHHH!

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This is the tropics and this should be expected in an open environment. Whatever it was, at least it didn’t bite us. Only the mosquitos did that.

Getting back to the good…the service was fantastic. The food was amazing. They personalize the service and check with you on what time you want each meal and if the menu is to your liking. On our last night we had a lovely dinner on the beach.

Overall, it was a really nice stay. Would I go back? Yes and no. If we decide to go back to Lamu, yes I would. However, given the lack of air conditioned places to stay and the mosquito situation, I don’t know if we’ll go back to Lamu.

If you go want to stay at Kizingoni, here is how to contact them:

info@kizingonibeach.com
Phone: +254 726332399