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.:: The Daily Cowbell ::.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

First Sabbath here!

NAIROBI, KENYA - Happy Sabbath! It was an interesting and exciting one down here for me at Maxwell. I woke up (late) and ran over to the Hartzel's house to grab some waffles before Sabbath School/Church started at 11:00am. I know I haven't been gone long, but the idea of waffles was so comforting already. I haven't suffered, food-wise, by any means, but I think I'm already getting spoiled with these home-cooked meals all the time. When school starts, and the cafeteria is open, they'll be cooking all my meals, so I better take advantage while there's a chance, huh?

After breakfast, Valerie, Elvin (my roommate in the guys' apartment and IT guy), and I headed over to the church for a little Sabbath discussion. It's really weird to think that this far away from the U.S. and my normal life, and the Sabbath School lesson is still the same where you are. I hope I can keep up with it throughout the year. The topic this week was on relationships and how to keep them going well to show God to other people. Pretty important stuff to think about if I'll be deaning, I think.

At around noon, there was a little potluck in the cafeteria, and we gladly participated in it. We weren't really sure if anything was happening afterwards, so I was planning on taking a nice little nap until Mr. Thomas asked us if we wanted to take a trip to Magadi, a little town and lake (if you can call it that) about 40 minutes south of us. Obviously, the travel and sight-seeing sounded great to us, so we grabbed guidebooks, cameras, and sunglasses, and jumped into the Thomas' SUV.

According to my Lonely Planet: Kenya book (that I think I'll be using quite a bit here), Lake Magadi is a mineral-rich soda lake in the Great Rift Valley. The water is heated with hot springs, scattered about the lake, so it's pretty warm. When the water evaporates, it leaves the minerals on the top of the lake, forming a crust of sodium chloride (ordinary salt) and sodium carbonate (soda). The Magadi Soda Company, whose factory sits right on the lake, rakes all the minerals in and sends it in trains to Nairobi, where it is made into soda.

The lake is almost completely dried out, so on the few really wet parts, there are fish that have adapted to the high salt content and warm water. These fish are the perfect meal for flamingos, storks, and other water birds, so they just walk all over the place. The whole place is very barren, and so to look up and see flamingos walking around is a pretty cool sight.

After hanging out there for a couple of hours, we headed back up towards Maxwell. However, before we even left the dried-out lake of Magadi, I got to see my first zebras and wildebeests! Pretty cool! I didn't realize this, but Mr. Thomas said that the locals actually consider the zebras in the same way they do donkeys because they are dumb and really can't be domesticated or trained. Nonetheless, I will still find one, train it to be my car, and ride it about the countryside.

On the way back, we saw a couple camels, a few dust-devils, and ran into probably 15 different herds of cows heading back to their homes. (Mr. Thomas called it "cow rush hour.") There were also herds of sheep and goat we saw throughout the day, and I learned that Cake was wrong in the song "Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell." The tails of sheep actually point down, while goats' tails point up to the sky. It became a game for Valerie and I to be the first to identify what the little animals were.

After a small breakdown of Mr. Thomas' vehicle on the road, we finally got back to Maxwell. We headed over to the Hartzels' for a supper of hot dogs, popcorn, and fruit, and then played Risk with Alex and John (the Hartzels' two sons) until after midnight. (I came in second place, losing to Yemen, the only student here so far.) All in all, it was a great day. Tommorow, sleep in until noon and hopefully get my power situation and internet connection fixed!



  • Yeah baby, Sabbath afternoon with the animals. Thats cool. Let me know when you think you got that Zebra domesticated, we can go for a ride.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Aug 16, 10:08:00 AM  

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