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Wordless Wednesday 007: Ancient tree

One of the many old, old trees that covered the Gede ruins in Mombasa, Kenya.

Two weeks ago, my fellow Volunteers and I decided to spend our weekend together. We went to Gede ruins near the coastal town of Malindi in Mombasa. Gede ruins is a 12th century Swahili village that was mysteriously abandoned some 600 years ago for unknown reasons. It is now a national park  and the ruins are now overgrown with beautiful forest trees, such as this huge baobab tree. The place reminds me so much of the temple ruins at the Angkor Wat complex. It may have lacked the grandioseness of the temples in Cambodia, the Gede ruins give visitors an eerie atmospheric feeling from the massive trees with mangled branches reminiscent of Ta Prohm temple. The Gede ruins continue to attract tourists from everywhere.

Wordless Wednesday 006: Tribal women

Another update set in the auto-post mode. I am not sure which tribe they belong to but these women work as entertainers/performers at the hotel where the VSO Coast Volunteers had a 3day conference two months ago. I have a feeling that these women do not exactly enjoy what they're doing but they  have no other choice. They earn from performing their tribal dance every night.

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A Kazuri present for Sreisaat

Just a quick post for my sister who kept on bugging me for Kenyan beads. Apparently, older sister is into beading/crafting these days and so the persistent request for beading materials. I have, unfortunately, misunderstood her request. I thought she wanted a beaded piece of jewelry so while in Nairobi last week, I went to this Kazuri bead shop and bought her this:

I never had an inkling that a ceramics bead necklace like this could cost a lot! For a volunteer relying mainly on a meager allowance, it cost  me my one month food budget *lol* I know I have made huge efforts to lose weight before, but  depriving myself of food for a month is an idea not too appealing to me these days.  Just kidding. 

I don't know anything about jewelries let alone beads but these Kazuri beads are beautiful, are of high quality materials and hand-made by Kenyan women. The cost may be a tad too high for a volunteer like me but I'm glad to know that purchasing items there goes to helping disadvantaged Kenyan village women earn extra income. 

Just a little information, kazuri is a Swahili term meaning small and beautiful. So to my dear sister Sreisaat, a Khmer term meaning  beautiful, here is my something kazuri as my gift on your birthday. Hope ya like it!

For those who are wondering how I was able to post this when there is no electricity nor internet connection where I work, this was set in auto-post mode. *grins* Wow, I feel like soo tech-savvy! hihihi.

Hey, I'm still here!

After a hectic February and March and a 4day volunteers conference in Nairobi, I am back in Mombasa to spend the remaining days of the Lenten and Easter. So please excuse the long blog silence, just you be patient and I'll be updating as soon as my schedule allows me to. 

The volunteers conference in Nairobi was an opportune time to meet all the other VSO volunteers all over Kenya. It was great seeing new faces and reconnecting with others. It was a huge mixed group of newcomers (in my case, I have been in my placement for about 6months and yet I am still getting used to my new surroundings), some half-way through their placements, while others are preparing to leave. It was nice to finally see the people face-to-face whose names I only read in email exchanges between volunteers.

Nairobi was way cooler than Lukore as the rainy season has already began. I can only wish the weather is the same in Lukore! The hot weather is still making me sick. It is extremely, extremely hot in Lukore even at night. I come from a tropical country myself but the heat is nothing like here. The community cooperative has no office of its own and so we meet just about anywhere there is space we could find. I do not mind it at all as I am used to this kind of stuffs - in fact, I love that we are outdoors - but due to the unbearable heat at this time of the year, I am experiencing severe headaches which is very unusual for me. It could be dehydration, I don't know. While I am very enthusiastic about my work in the community, the heat and headaches are hampering me from doing my  job. I have asked my PM if I would be allowed to do 3days of field work and 2 days paperwork just only till the hot days are over and I'd go back to regular work activities. Up to now I have yet to hear from my PM. If not, then I will be forced to do the rain dance whether I like it or like it very much! *lol*

Anyways, the planned trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro by most of us volunteers was canceled because of the rains, much to our disappointment! So we all decided to go back to our respective areas. On my trip back to Mombasa, fellow Pinoy volunteers came with me and we were welcomed again at the Pinoy mansion where I decided to spend the Easter holiday. It's actually a company-rented townhouse provided to the Filipino engineers I met a few weeks after I arrived in Mombasa. These lads have graciously opened their house to us - VSO volunteers like me, garment workers, and a lot more - and has become our  "holiday house" of sorts. Not only did our gracious hosts provide us with a nice place to sleep with running water and electricity, internet connection, and above all,  they feed us Filipino food that we sorely miss and the much-yearned for companionship.  I'm sure many of you will agree with me that being thousands of miles from home, in a sea of foreign faces and tongues, being with your kababayans helps ease the loneliness and homesickness. My first Christmas and New Year in Kenya would have been earth-shatteringly lonely if not for the engineers at the mansion, who I consider now as my older brothers, I was spared and enjoyed a wonderfully holiday celebrations Pinoy-style. Truly, wherevever you go, the famed Filipino hospitality still comes shining through. Madamo guid nga salamat sa inyo. 

Now that holidays are over, I can't wait to go back to my community and continue the work.