Friday, September 28, 2007

my parachute is yellow

today i have that feeling that things are going to be ok - that my job will lead to something, that i am gaining valuable experience, that i can build on what i know and where i am, and that i am in fact employable.

we will see how long this feeling lasts, but it is a nice change from the normal sense of panic and urgency that i normally operate under. it could have something to do with signing an 8 month contract or having my business cards printed with my new title, but whatever it is, i am enjoying the ride.

i finally feel like i am really learning how to run a project in this crazy world of international development and that i am narrowing my focus whilst moving past knowing only what i don't want to do. feels good.

this optimism might have something to do with the workshop i get to attend next week - sitting around a safari lodge talking about gender mainstreaming and organisational responsiveness sounds like a fine way to spend a week to me. thank YOU canadian tax payers!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

worth a read

considering i live in a country where homosexuality is illegal, i found this rather interesting.

i also love his directions on how to slap!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

rush hour madness!

on my way to work this morning i had to yield to the bus coming down the sidewalk. shortly after i had to move my head to avoid it being clipped from the side view mirror of a matatu driving down the grass meridian.

kenya and i are not getting along so well this week.

corn for food

(september 18, 2007)

happy birthday tay!

holy shite, my little brother is 15. and way taller than me.

i am catching up on my cbc podcasts and am listening to a fascinating piece on ethanol and the growth and use of corn. as much as husky would like canadians to believe that it is better for our environment if we use biofuels like ethanol, i really do not think that growing corn to be used as en energy source is a good idea and perhaps because i tend to look at these things from a global perspective. but as the difference in climate change and energy use is negligible it does not seem to be a fair trade off to drive up corn prices, effectively cutting out many buyers in the market who use corn to keep people alive, like the united nations world food programme (WFP) that cannot afford to buy corn to feed people in emergencies or refugee camps.

but that is just my simplified and off-the-cuff opinion on that.

i finally watched Garden State tonight and i give it a big Medium. an exboyfriend of mine once told me that i was like Natalie Portman’s character in the movie and i think that just goes to show you not how quirky i may be but how devastatingly normal he is. i like Zach Braff but was not as impressed as i felt i would be with this attempt at dark humour that he is normally great at. fabulous music and soundtrack though. have you seen The Last Kiss? a recommendation for sure.

now my podcast is telling me that canadian pot is 10 times as potent and half the price of american weed. and that canada has 4 times more marijuana users than any other western developed country. can you imagine what that dude from the Molson I Am Canadian commercials would say about that? it would be a funny advertisement. good podcast though. gotta love the cbc for covering a story from all angles.

i am working on my budget and it is almost complete and since this is the beginning of the year, as i see it, it is just in time to sort out my finances for the coming year. i love a budget. and i love excel. although it took me awhile to really fall madly and deeply in love with excel. it does so many neat things. and yes, calculations, sums, averages, exchange rates are all ‘neat.’

i can hear the imams at the mosques nearby as i type from my bed. it is a soothing sound.

mubarak ramadan.

Monday, September 17, 2007

scheduling boredom for a cause

today i visited a shelter for street children just outside of nairobi (called undugu, if you want to check them out). i drove out there in a car with red license plates and a logo on the door. the police don't stop you at the ridiculous police checks and people watch you drive by, assuming you are someone important or someone who can make decisions that will make things happen. it is strange when you show up at places and your very presence invokes hope and people are on their best behaviour. i am not sure i will ever get used to that.

i will also never get used to the conditions in shelters. especially shelters in developing countries. although i know the staff and organisations do their best, it always makes me a little sad to leave them. i am happy to be involved in work that will improve at least one shelter in nairobi.

i am missing home at the moment, but not in a homesick way. in a way i cannot yet comprehend. it could be because i am hoping to be home for christmas this year so i am already thinking of all the wonderful canadian winter things i can do while i am at home and it could be because i love the changing of the seasons and the autumnal colours of the leaves and the way everything seems to begin again. it could also be because i am sick of the rain here and the red mud is really a pain in the ass.

i finished Half of a Yellow Sun and it was fabulous. i am hoping that they make it into a movie because i think it would be a wonderful story to depict visually. i didn't know a thing about the biafran war and now i know a touch and am eager to know more, which i suppose is that gift of books.

yesterday i started 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa and although i have only read the first chapter, i am so far impressed. i am even more impressed with the inscription that i failed to notice was in the front cover from a fabulous lady who had sent it to me. a little vote of confidence from someone you respect can do wonders to keep you going.

a multi-grain bagel with light cream cheese and a slice of tomato from t ho's would be on the top of a list of things i want right now. along with a hair cut and colour, the new tegan and sarah cd, and a new pair of slippers. oh, and a laundry basket, a good tailor, and the mirror in my room fixed. and a pair of sweatpants that are still fuzzy inside.

this past weekend i was rather bored of nairobi. i am missing the action and activities of bigger cities where there are always museums to be visited, concerts to attend, movies to see, people to watch, shops to peruse, cafes to haunt, and parks to walk. i like nairobi but i am not sure how many more months than the 10 i am scheduled for that i could live here.

now i must prepare for my swahili lesson. i am feeling motivated to learn and practice again, which is nice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

overhead in nairobi

(september 12, 2007)

the following were all parts of my conversations today:

‘i put my indicator pants on this morning and they gave me good news, they indicated in the right direction’

(you know indicator pants, the ones that tell you when you have gained or lost weight)

‘today was such a long day, the best thing that happened to me was that i found out i am hiv negative.’

(i am not sure why i find this so funny but i think it had something to do with the delivery and the absolute seriousness with which it was spoken. i guess you call that irony)

‘my stomach is full but my brain tells me to keep eating’

(this seems to happen a lot in our flat but without the goodies that we are used to eating when we want to eat snacks or junk, we eat pb outta the jar, cheese, substandard ice cream, yoghurt, cups of tea, or left-overs – none of which are terribly unhealthy)

‘you smell like an engine’

(he did)

‘i know how much you love q tips, do you want the package of q tips that came in my package from north america?’

(ummmm... yes! do you even need to ask? q tips around here are like cigarettes in prison, or what i would imagine cigarettes would be in prison – you can barter and trade using them as currency because they are so scarce and difficult to get. i now have a fresh package for all my ear cleaning needs. if i have one neurosis (and who are we kidding, i have about 56), it is obsessively cleaning my ears with q tips and no other brand can even begin to compare)

Thursday, September 06, 2007


(september 5, 2007)

  • i have not been for a run since last thursday and am feeling rather guilty about it

  • i had chocolate fudge cake for lunch twice last week

  • i have made a rule that i cannot have chocolate fudge cake again until i have been for 3 runs

  • i feel as though my life makes more sense when there are rules

  • i did do pilates tonight and i really need to get a yoga mat because otherwise my flatmate is going to start wondering why his keeps disappearing and coming back smelling like my feet

  • i am having lunch with a man i hope is in uniform tomorrow

  • i am pretty sure that i am in over my head at work, but shhhhhhhhhhh..... don’t tell anyone

  • i have also been given an opportunity to demonstrate that i can do it

  • i am beginning to like the feeling of being protected and taken care of, it is an adjustment

  • i made leek and potato soup last night, it was a bit too salty but won rave reviews

  • i have been trouble getting up in the mornings lately so i have instituted a bedtime of 9:30pm but it is currently 10:15pm

  • i took my newly named laptop (lucille, if you were wondering) for her first spin on kenyan wireless and i think she liked it

  • even though i made a rule that i was not allowed to buy peanut butter (due to the unfortunate incident(s) of eating it right out of the jar with a spoon...), i bought a jar but it is just a little one and i have yet to use it for anything but spreading on toast

  • i can’t get into The L Word but am really enjoying the first season of Six Feet Under – i am also really enjoying renting bootleg copies of tv shows for my evenings’ entertainment

  • i watched Brokeback Mountain for the 4th or 5th time last night and it is still as heartbreaking as ever, i swear it is the music

  • i spent last weekend napping, reading, drinking tea, running from monkeys, watching elephants and hippos sloosh around in swamps, trying to locate the top of kilimanjaro through the clouds, eating, and drinking wine and i am not sure why i am so lucky to be able to do that on a random september weekend
  • i also spent some time last friday night on the side of a dirt road after dark with a flat tire about 20km outside of the park gates and with a jack that did not work – my job was to sit in the car and not be noticed and not protest about being told to sit in the car, i did pretty well at my job but it was damn scary and thanks only to a truck full of nice men in suits am i not trampled by an elephant, eaten by a tiger, the victim of armed robbery, or any number of other roadside calamities you hear about in this country

  • i’d rather be at home today sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of wine with my mom than anywhere in the world – happy birthday momsy