Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To Cura via the Depot. But First, World Cup.

Evan the Barfly
Wednesday night, being the good parental figures that we are, we took Evan to the Westlands area of Nairobi to Gypsy, a bar favored by Hayden's old University hooligan friends, Paul and Gerald. I'm fairly certain Paul is the mayor of Gypsy, and if he is, his fiefdom is an excellent one. In Nairobi's lovely rush hour traffic, the 15 km drive took only 1 hour.
It was a mob scene at Gypsy, with both the England and US football matches on and expatriate supporters jamming the bar. Vuvuzelas were in full force. (Truth be told, 99% of the televisions were tuned to the England match. The US supporters were relegated to a little corner of the bar with no tables. It was close to the restroom, though. It was us and a table of Algerians rooting cautiously for our respective teams. When the US scored the winning goal, the Algerians kindly gave us their table.

So Evan's first experience (we assume) at a bar was one to remember (we think.)

US 1 - Algeria 0. Next up on Saturday night: US v. Ghana. Should be epic around here.

In Nairobi there are large communities from just about every country you can imagine. So for World Cup action it isn't just the African nations being supported. Every nation is here, as evidenced by the embassies on every corner in town.

All The Depot Ladies Say "Oh Yeah"
Our driver, Malik, is expressly unhappy with our weird non-tourist destinations. He doesn't know any of our "crazy places" and would clearly rather be driving us on safari or to national parks. Sorry Malik, but you're stuck with us for pretty much the entire trip.

One "crazy" destination is The DEPOT. The DEPOT honors Dan Eldon's life by hosting a small museum of his artifacts and photographs and also conducting leadership training for local and international groups. Seeing Dan's work is always inspiring, and this trip to the DEPOT was no exception.

On to Cura
Our first day at Cura was to be an orientation for the new recruits and a bit of a work day for Hayden and myself. The anticipation in the car was high as we pulled through Wangige and turned onto the red dirt road that leads to Cura. For those who hadn't been there before, it was time to see how the real place lived up to their expectations.

Of course it did not. How could it? No pictures or descriptions can capture any place, but especially not a place like Cura. Cura is an experience more than a place, and you'll just have to come with us next year to understand what I mean.

In addition to our merry band of tourists, we had Matthew with us. Matt is an incoming long term volunteer for Cura, and he was about to get a bit of an education in rural Africa in general and in Cura specifically. The thesis of this lesson: shut up and listen. You have a lot to learn.

We had a very traditional meeting with the board of Cura. These meetings are an exercise in formality, politics, and hierarchy.

Much more on the Cura experience as I have time to reflect.

Useful Phrase of the Day
We love our Swahilli guidebooks. We especially love the "Useful Phrases" sections. So, for all you future Kenya travelers, here is what you say to the waiter when your prawns have run out:
  • Kamba zi mekwisha. (Literally: Prawns, they are finished.)

Trivial Pursuit Question of the Day
To pass the time in our van between Nairobi and Wangige, I have a full box of Trivial Pursuit cards. Today's most interesting question:
  • What Disneyland ride, in 1964, was responsible for the amusement park's first fatality?
Look it up.


  1. Enjoying your writing! It's almost like I'm there w/o the traveling part!

  2. The answer is the Matterhorn. And It's a really sad story of how he died. But anyways, I love to read You,my Mom's, and Evies blogs. I wanna go next year!!!!