Hello friends:) To my Jewish brothers and sisters, I hope you had a lovely and inspiring holiday season:)
Again I am sorry I have not posted in quite sometime. From the three-day Jewish holidays all month, and finally getting a chance to travel around Kenya to more remote areas, I haven’t been much online.
That being said, today I want to share a small photo gallery of my recent travels which includes spending time with the Masai in Magade, living in a remote Luo village without electricity or running water while celebrating Simcah Torah, and traveling to and through Kisumu (passing by Lake Victoria) to get to Kampala.
Lake Magade is in Masai Territory near the Tanzanian Border. To those who never heard of them, the Masai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. I spent a couple of days hanging around with some Masai that my friend already knew, who happen to be great acoustic musicians! Below they are performing one of their songs about stealing cows (an old tradition). I took video footage, as their style is hard to explain, so keep checking back to Café Avra for the music video. I named them the Magade Trio…(they guy on the far left is not a part of the band)
Where we stayed…deserted except for flamingos and hot springs.
Ondati. Luo Village Life.
The Luo’s are the third biggest tribe in Kenya, and is actually the tribe that Obama is from so they absolutely love him. This was my first time staying in a Kenyan village without electricity and running water while trying to celebrate Simcah Torah with my friend Jamie. We had a lovely host family take care of us, and it took a few days for me to get used to not being able to basically do everything I usually do….ie chose what I want to eat because it is available, or have a running water tap to wash my hands, or remembering there is no sink in the kitchen to put my dishes, etc.
We had Kenyan Sugar Cane Liquor for Kiddush (Oops! Sorry but Kosher Wine in Africa is hard to come by)…but we did have Matzah for Hamotzi, thanks to the two Chabad Rabbis who came to visit Nairobi for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (Thanks Chanania and Zev!)
After finally explaining what this strange substance was that Jamie and I kept blessing, we gave the leftover Matzah to Dan and Leonard below, who are eldest sons of the family we stayed with. They happen, quite fortuitously, to be Seventh-day Adventists (to those who don’t know they are a Christian denomination who observe Saturday as their Sabbath) so they were very excited to see what real Matzah looks like as they do a small Passover observance each year! It was a pleasure to all share the same Sabbath day.
I also have to give Dan (right) a shout out below for being an amazing Kenyan cook.
Sugar Cane. Love that stuff:) It seems the kids do too…:)
Jamie, my travel companion who brought me to the village, laughs with the father of the house, Joshua. We were having a small disco post-Shabbat with my MacBookPro. Joshua was confused what it was:)
Bus Ride from Awendo to Kisumu
Awendo is the closest town to Ondati village, which took one hour by motorbike to get to.(Was a very fun ride and I unfortunately don’t have photos…)
From there we hopped on a bus 3-hours up to Kisumu.
Some of my new friends below…
Kisumu (Lake Victoria)
We reached Kisumu and decided to hang around the lake towards sunset, which was quite beautiful.
I envisioned the picture below to be the real marketing campaign for Kenya! The vehicle below, for those who have never been to East Africa, are called Matatus. They are basically vans, with about 12 packed in seats, and are the major mode of transportation used. They are intimidating at first as the drivers are crazy, usually music is blasting, and if you are lucky you get your change back if you give more than the fare is. Nevertheless, you learn to love them. One must come to East Africa to experience these ‘party buses’. Especially this nice and clean one coming out of Lake Victoria…
Okay, a scenic shot just for fun…
And last but not least, I was able to catch this shot right as the sun went down and I saw the train coming through. Looks more like a shot from the Wild West USA, right? These trains pretty much run like the ones from the movies…take it from experience as my one-way journey last month from Nairobi to Mombasa took about 30 hours instead of the intended 12.