he was a tad worried about traveling with his dad, who is the mastermind behind many many holidays from hell, but his sister and i assured him that even his dad couldn't spoil africa. mama and big sis were so right. and so ensued a photo safari where the boy snapped this, and many more shots of his all-time favorite animal, the cheetah......
as well as lions, zebras, giraffes (oh my!), and numerous hordes of bouncy or galloping ruminants. he loved it most that he was taking pictures, and no one was killing anything. then they helped install water tanks and rain collection gutters in a school in Nairobi.
note the ladder. when he asked "where do i find a ladder?", he was told, "you build one." as there was no hardware store to run to, he did just that, from wood he had to harvest himself. he also made the hole for the spigot in the 500 gallon vinyl water tank with a screwdriver, as there was no drill or cutting implement to be found.
the gentlemen below are responsible for security at the school. hall monitors of a sort. there's a certain faction who consider educating and feeding children to be a threat to the local economy - or at least to their lucrative business selling hootch and drugs. if you look closely, you'll see the business end of one fellow's rifle resting between his feet. their job is less to keep the children in class, than to ensure that outside interference stays outside.
as Luke finished work on the eaves troughs one day, a newfound friend offered an invitation to join his family for a meal, which invitation they were pleased to accept. their time in Nairobi had already taught them that they were sometimes awkwardly ill-informed regarding local social conventions, so they asked another friend if there were some protocols they should be aware of, regarding a dinner invitation. the conversation went something like this:
"Well, it would be polite to bring a chicken."
"Where can we buy a chicken? There is no store here."
"I think I may know someone who might sell you a chicken."
so off they went to the home of this lady.....
Luke waited in the car while, after a pleasant conversation with their friend, the lady agreed on a price for a chicken, of which there were none in sight.
she received her payment, reached inside her house for a tin of something, and scattered a handful of it round her feet. a flock of chickens immediately and magically materialized out of empty air, pecking cheerfully at her feet. just as cheerfully, she reached down and snatched one of them up by its feet, which she bound together with a piece of string found in her pocket. by now the chicken was less cheerful.
it made a terrible racket as her customer opened the back door of the car so she could toss the desperately flapping chicken on the floor at Luke's feet.
i'll let him tell the rest of the story in his own words. "i felt so sorry for the chicken, Mum. i just wanted to pick it up and cuddle it and tell it everything would be o.k..... except that would have been a lie.
.... and i didn't want to make friends with dinner."
shortly thereafter, lad and dad continued on to climb Mt. Kenya, which i believe he said is the 2nd highest peak on that continent - where only 25 non-nationals make the summit each year. he was determined to be one of this year's 25. today i received a note from him via facebook, posted from his cell phone,
credits for all photos but the chicken (which i stole from a web archive somewhere) go to our intrepid adventurer, Luke.