Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Halloween

We had a great Halloween at the Rosslyn Ridge compound. It is a nice compound of over 80 homes that basically looks like any normal neighborhood. We however live on a smaller compound of only 20 homes. We enjoyed being there and getting to visit so many houses for Hannah's first real trick or treating. We were not quite sure what she would do and as expected, she was ready to stop and eat her one piece of candy after the first house. After we bribed her telling her that she could have more candy (meaning Tom could have more candy) if she went to another house, she finally dragged along. We were the last ones left of over 100 kids, but she was very cute and we had a lot of fun. Although some of the houses had already turned off their lights by the time we got to their homes. Regardless, Hannah had a good time and Chase was a trooper in the stroller the whole night. They both lasted until after 9 pm. Wow!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Piper is Here!

After 4 long months of no Internet and no Piper, they both have finally arrived! We could not be happier for Piper to be here, we missed her horribly but know she was well taken care of by our family back in Atlanta. Thanks Dads!

It was a tough trip for Piper as she had to leave Atlanta Tuesday evening, arrive in Paris, France Wednesday morning around 10 am, then leave Paris to go to Nairobi at 7 pm that evening (spending the whole day in Paris by herself). She then arrived in Nairobi around 6 am on Wednesday our time. We were very nervous and rightfully so as we have heard many stories about pets getting lost, getting out of their crates at the termial and things I can not even think about during layovers and transitions. Horrible stories!

So, when we got the call from our contact at the airport that no pets arrived off of the plane from Paris...I am sure you can imagine our reaction. I was Hysterical!! I called Tom crying wondering if something horrible had happened, if she has taken the wrong flight from Paris to who knows what country or possibly someone stealing our wonderful little Piper. Who knows? I called my Dad around 2 am his time frantic and did not know what to do. He was calling France checking with the airlines and Tom was trying to work his angle at the Embassy while I sat patiently awaiting some phone call from someone telling me our sweet little Piper was OK, even if she was still stuck in Paris.

After waiting a very long two hours to get any sort of news about Piper, we finally received the call. She DID actually make the flight and that they had been misinformed. Eeeeeggghhh!! For those of you that have pets I know you can empathize.

Now she is safe in our new home in Nairobi with Hannah chasing her around the house, constantly using her as a pillow to lay on and Chase chewing on her paws and grabbing her fur any chance he can get. She is yet again, part of the busy Rhodes family...full force whether she likes it or not. Ha

If she has any complaints it is that in her nice but small backyard only has about a 10 x 10 foot square of red dirt, the rest of the yard is stone. Our little Piper is so spoiled that our snooty world traveling dog will not go pee-pee or poopy on the dirt and we have to walk up to the playground in order for her to go to bathroom in the grass.

Oh Pippee, we missed you...

National Holiday in Kenya

Well, not only do the Kenyans believe that "their son" has now become president of the United States, but they have made November 6th a Kenyan National Holiday in honour of Barack Obama. The Kenyans have a number of holidays and I have not quite figured them all out yet; however, what I do know is that Tom has been off work for about 4 or 5 extra days this month. I can't argue with that!

I have attached a few pics of the local newspapers from November 6th. In one paper there is a full page picture of Barack Obama for your wall if you would like to hang it up. :) Or of course they also have t-shirts, flags, rugs and banners if you are intereseted in any of those as well.

However my favorite Barack Obama item they have here in Kenya by far is a new rap song. They play it at least 15 times a day on the awesome radio station named Ghetto Radio. We also have one other station we can listen to, Indian music. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The United States Presidential Election...in Kenya!

It was quite the experience to be living here in Nairobi, Kenya during the United States Presidential Elections. It was difficult to follow coverage as we only had CNN covering everything. But as you know, all the channels pretty much say the same thing.

No one here was really sure what would happen here in Kenya when we received the election outcome. Would there be riots if he did not win? Would the streets be crazy if he did win? Neither happend (although many were prepared if they did), but it was certainly the most talked about event that has happend to this country (the country of Kenya) in a very long time. It was so strange to me that even though Barack Obama's father was from Kenya, that they would have such a connection to him, almost as if he was running for President here in the country of Kenya. It was quite an interesting experience to be here amongst the Kenyans during this time. I am sure it is a time I will always remember and I am sure never to forget.

When we first moved here I was surprised that whenever you would meet a Kenyan, they would all mention Barack Obama since they knew you were from the United States. He will be your next president, they would say. It is so wonderful, they said. I would smile nicely and nod my head wondering if they actually knew that we really didn't know if he would be President or not and that we had not even had our elections yet. They when make sure to tell me that his grandmother lives here and that he comes to visit here. All as if they knew him personally.

Now a little side note about Africa:
Everyone is of course from tribes and/or villages. There are many, I have no idea how many, but there are a lot. They have their immediate family members, but they also have many other aunts, uncles, brothers, and many grandparents all whom live in their village, their tribe...and they are ALL family. An example of this made itself clear many times with friends when one of their gardeners would say his mother had died. Then the next month she died again, and two months later his mother died yet again. If you had no idea of their connections with their village and their community you would of course not believe them. And on top of all that, they have to get paid time to go to the funerals (normally around 2 weeks) and you are expected to give money to help in their travels to get to the funeral (as sometimes it can be all the way to West Africa) and the expense of the funeral. So having a death can be quite an expense for an employer as you can see.

So anyway, when people speak of Barack Obama, I am not sure if they are from his grandmother's village of if they know his grandmother, but he is a Kenyan through and through and there is no doubt they are VERY proud and honored that he was even running for the presidency of the United States, but obvioulsy thrilled now that he going to be President.

Moment of Zen:
My moment of zen today was when I asked my housekeeper what it meant to her that Obama was now president of the United States. Her English is not great, but she said they were happy. I asked her what that meant for her people? She said we know now that we will get taken care of and that we will not have to worry anymore. This of course made me a little confused and also very sad. In my mind I wondered what she was expecting from our US President? What did she really think he could do for the country of Kenya?

I do hope, after living here in Kenya, that the president can do something for these people. But if anything, I think Barack Obama brings them hope just as he has brought so many American people. Personally, I did not vote for Obama, but I do put my trust in our next president and hope he will do the right thing for our country and our people. And I also believe in our system, in our democracy, our freedoms and hope that one day all people will have this, even hopefully one day, the people of Kenya.