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Easter Weekend

J. has been traveling almost nonstop for work. I’ve been holding down the fort on my own in the meantime. We both needed a break. Thankfully, we had the four day weekend from Good Friday through Easter Weekend. We escaped to Navaisha!

We got up early and beat the traffic out of Nairobi and enjoyed the drive along the Rift Valley escarpment. We arrived at Olerai House (review to come soon) a bit before lunch. Then, we let the relaxing begin!

We did not do much, and that was the point. We spent most of our time lazing about, napping, reading, playing video games (J.), and knitting (me). All this was done outside in the presence of zebras and giraffe strolling by, sometimes quite close!

Zebra outside our cottage

Zebra outside our cottage

Zebras

Zebras hanging out

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Grazing

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Checking out the lunch scene

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Hanging in the shade

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Even the babies came right up

We also some some hippo. They come up from the lake at night to feed. We saw one right outside our cottage Friday night. Sunday we saw one come up in the early evening. An adolescent male, in bad shape, came right up outside another cottage and happily munched away.

Zebras

Hippo first spotted outside someone’s bathroom window

Hippo

Hippo munching away

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Hippo – up early for food

The drought has been tough on the animals. This male had been in a lot of fights and had a lot of injuries. He was also skinny. You could see his spine along the top and you should never see that on a hippo. Still, what he lacked in brawn he more than made up for in brains. He got up out of the lake early and got to the grass first!

We did move a little bit and decided to take a long hike Saturday morning up along Olerai Ridge. It’s an easy to medium level hike. I’d say more medium if you’re out of shape. It’s pretty easy if you’re already fairly active. Whatever your level, I recommend it. The view over Lake Navaisha at the top is gorgeous and the trail is fun, with only one small tricky part—nothing as tricky as Hell’s Gate or as hard as Mt. Longonot. You can do this.

View of Lake Navaisha

View of Lake Navaisha

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Our guide looking out over the lake

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Pretty scenery of a once volcanic landscape

Giraffe on the way back from the hike

Giraffe on the way back from the hike

After the hike we went back to chilling out. It was a fantastic way to spend the long weekend!

Raised bed planter

The Garden Blooms

The gardening is going really well. What can I say? Everything grows in Kenya! I have written prior posts about trying my hand at not killing plants and about how I stepped things up after moving to the new house. I am happy to report that the gardening efforts are literally bearing fruit.

Passion Fruit Growing on the vine

Passion Fruit Growing on the vine

There are two types of passion fruit growing and bearing fruit that is already starting to ripen. There are a couple small orange trees that need more time but in another year should bear fruit. There’s a mango tree (also small) that should start to produce fruit by the end of this year. And I didn’t kill any of these! Yay!

In addition, the vegetables are coming along quite nicely. It’s still early, but it’s going well. I am very hopeful.

Seedlings ready to go into the larger planter

Seedlings ready to go into the larger planter

In addition to the vegetables and fruit, the flowers are doing very well. The roses and hydrangeas are doing great and survived the drought. There are tons of other flowers as well.

 

 

The succulents are also doing really great. Lazurus, the aloe that came back from the dead is now planted in the ground.

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And, because everything really does grow in Kenya…this little guy just sort of appeared in a pot.

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He now has his own proper, little pot and is out on the balcony with his friends.

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Dog Decisions

A while back I posted about how J. and I decided to not have a dog while in Kenya. We were still grieving for our last dog. We were also unsure about giving a dog a good life while living here. We are now rethinking some of that.

What changed our mind? To be clear, we haven’t made the decision yet. We are still thinking about it. But, these are the factors that are making us consider sharing our life with a dog again.

There are more services than we thought

It turns out that there are indeed a lot of services for dogs. There are great groomers and dog spas and excellent boarders. We just hadn’t known of them…which leads to the next factor.

We met good dog owners

We didn’t think there was much in the way of services because many of the people we knew with dogs didn’t use them. That had nothing to do with Kenya but rather the quality of the owners. These were the dogs we felt sorry for…

…we saw a lot of dogs that just sat around all day. They got walked (rarely by the owners, in fact we only knew one couple who walked their own dogs) and the rest of the time did nothing. There is one dog we know that doesn’t even get walked. Basically, all we saw were people who had others look after their dogs and we rarely saw any dogs interacting with people or with other dogs. We didn’t want to do that to an animal.

Then we started to meet good dog owners and happy dogs. We not only learned about the services but we saw how there is plenty an owner can do to give a dog a fantastic life. We met people who care properly for their animals

We moved

In our last house, there wasn’t much of a yard for playing. More important, there wasn’t really any area where we could safely walk a dog (no sidewalk, matatus speeding crazily down the road and sometimes on the dirt path alongside the road). Now we have a huge yard and are in a large estate with sidewalks.

Between that and Karura Forest not far away, both doggy and his/her owners can get plenty of exercise. Plus, knowing some great owners and great dogs, we can have some playdates.

Not there yet

There is still a lot to think through. I have a lot of research to do. Some of things on my list:

  • Talk to a vet to get an idea of how much care a dog needs in Kenya. I’m thinking mainly about flea/tick and any other regular medications that might be needed here.
  • Research boarders. I want my dog to be able to have his/her own vacation when boarded, not just sit in a kennel.
  • Think about rescue versus breeder. I just don’t think I can do a puppy again. It was so much work. But, I also want to make sure I get a dog that I can keep. It may be that I go through some people who foster rather than KSPCA. I don’t know. We’re thinking through all this.

It’s a lot to process and it should be. Adding a member to your family is a big decision. We are going to take our time and really think this through. Also, we don’t want to do anything before our home leave in August. Nothing is happening before the latter half of the year.

That’s fine. This is a big life decision. There is no rush. If we decide to go for it, then we’ll to responsibly.

 

globe

Working While Abroad

I’m still taking a bit of a break from work. During this time I’m thinking about how I work and would like to work. One aspect of work that keeps coming to mind is that I am very lucky that my career is portable. I can work anywhere with an internet connection, which is easy in Nairobi. Because of this, I don’t have to give put my career on hold due to geography.

There are people who think that you have to be in the city that your main office is in to have a successful career. This is not the case for many professions, certainly not the case for a user experience designer. I’ve worked successfully with teams spread out all over the world, even before moving to Nairobi.

I wrote about this is a recent piece on Medium and shared the tactics that worked for me. If you’re interested, you can read the article. If you have experience in this, please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear how other people have worked with remote teams.

 

Trying New Things: #2 AWA

I want to try new things. I want to meet more people, make more friends, and be more social. So, I tried the American Women’s Association.

They meet once a month at the Tribe Hotel in Gigiri. They hold coffees once a month. They also plan various outings. In addition, they support a lot of great causes in Kenya. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me.

The speaker was fantastic. The women were nice. But…I just didn’t have much in common with them. I also got hit up right away to serve as a board member (which I declined).

It was worth trying.

Now, just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it’s not for you. If you’re in Nairobi—and by the way, the group is open to all women, not just Americans—you should check it out. Like I said, it’s worth trying.