Thursday, April 23, 2009 Comment15 Comments

I love Kenyan food already and I haven't even been there yet. How can this be you ask? Well last night Caitlyn, Deanna, Danielle, Meredith and I were able to enjoy a traditional Kenyan meal thanks to our Kenyan friend Simon. Simon is pretty much the nicest person around. He has been so willing and open-armed towards us and last night was another example.

What is Kenyan food you ask? Well the traditional daily meal (which Simon made for us) consists of a dish called ugali and sukuma wiki. Both these words are Swahili and the latter means roughly "to push the week". The two dishes are usually eaten together and eaten using your hands. So to be as authentic as possible we chose to do so. The ugali is basically a much thicker and heavier version of grits. It is very simple, made of just water and ground corn meal. Sukuma wiki is generally made with kale (as was the case last night) or other green, leafy vegetables like spinach and then mixed with other vegetables and some sort of meat.

To eat the food, you just tear off a piece of thee ugali in your hand and then scoop sukuma wiki with it and enjoy. I cant say enough how tasty the food was. Suprisingly so, in all honesty. I had heard that it wasn't much to the flavor but Simon's was very good. I am soooo excited to get to Kenya and eat more and more of the food.

Perhaps the best part of the night however was another tradition of Kenyan meals: conversation. The actual meal took all of about 20 minutes to make and then a little longer to eat but the night was much more than that. We sat and talked to hours afterwards, about all kinds of topics. Simon told us that this was very common and actually generally expected of people when they are taking a meal. It was such a great experience and really got us all amped up to get in country (and for Danielle she was longing to be back in Botswana).

One Month and Counting!

Friday, April 17, 2009 Comment0 Comments

Thats right everybody, in case you haven't had enough of it yet we made more tie dye. But get it while it lasts because this is our last batch! This round includes some new additions: Powercat t-shirts courtesy of GTM Sportswear. We got a decent deal on these puppies and so now we have a super cool way to show your support for K-State and our trip all at the same time. These shirts, along with plain t tie-dye, and Nyimbo CDs will be available during Open House tomorrow in the Union. Come out and see us and show your support.

T-Shirts, CDs, and More
Saturday (Tomorrow) April 18th
KSU Student Union

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 Comment0 Comments

So today Deanna, Caitlyn, and I got to meet with this wonderful fellow named George. George is a student here at K-State who is actually from Nyeri, Kenya (the town I am working in case you somehow forgot). He stumbled upon our Facebook group (funny world we live in) and let us know about his ties to the city. Meeting him was seriously an awesome opportunity and it is always so amazing to hear people's stories and listen to their outlooks on life, especially when that person is from a completely seperate culture. During our meeting with George, he told us something that completely blew me away and really resonated with me. When talking about the people in Kenya, George pointed out how community oriented they are. This does not surprise me as many cultures around the world are like this. But the part that was really incredible was what he said after that. George told us that when you are around people in Nyeri and other parts of Kenya they are happy. As simple as that, they are happy. You see, in Kenyan culture, as I learned in Swahili class, it is rude to greet somebody by saying that you are anything but "nzuri, salama, etc" which mean good/fine and peaceful. No matter how bad your day may be, it is fine. George furthered this point by saying that when one is around others in Kenya, you are always happy because whatever else may be going on in your life is left aside for that moment. For them, happiness is not about personal belongings and the collection of goods. It is about others and fellowship. As George pointed out to us, so long as they have food, clothes, and shelter they shall remain happy. You see, happiness to them is about the shared experience of life with those around you. Not having a wealth of goods or the latest crazed gadget is not reason to hide and seclude oneself to them, but rather a reason to seek out the company of others and truly be happy. I left the meeting tonight thinking, hoping, praying, that if there is one thing that I am able to take away from my experience this summer it is that mindset. It is that belief and faith in happiness.

always seeking,

Thursday, April 02, 2009 Comment0 Comments

Holy cow Manhattan! Oh how I love thee. But seriously, everytime we do an event like the Radina's show I am shocked at how much this town and university comes out and supports good people with good causes. Just like our Fake Patty's Day T-Shirts, the CD release/t-shirt sale was a huge success. We had a super great turnout and received a lot of support and encouragment from soo many people and I, along with the rest of my team, are greatly thankful for that. It is just so nice and soo invigorating to receive such genuine support and backing from your peers. I actually wanna make a specific shout-out to a few people..

Much thanks to:

  • Dana, Josh, Russell, Colby, Aubrey, Michael, and Chalupa---thanks so much guys for coming out and supporting not only me but my entire team. It means a lot and you guys all rock. I love my friends.
  • Danielle and Meredith---you two both have been incredibly supportive of our team and all of us involved in the program this year and it so greatly appreciated. not only do you two turn out to help out our fundraisers but you girls are always more than willing to help out and answer question and just lend a hend whenever you can. i don't know what the previous student coordinators have been like but i can assure you it's be hard to imagine anyone being any more supportive than you two (i'm sure tricia was a super coordinator too haha!)
  • Trisha---again, just like Meredith and Danielle you have been more than supportive of all of us and helped out whenever possible. I'm sure they both have taken a lot from you. (i'm not even saying this to suck up either ;-).....even if i am your least favorite, supposedly). This whole experience has been super great and smooth thanks in large part to Trish, Meredith and Danielle.
  • Dan, Liz, Cara, and Tiffany---for those of you who may not know, these four awesome people are members of the other Service Teams for this summer. Dan and Tiffany are going to Puebla, Mexico. Liz and Cara are going to Botswana. Yet all four of these people were soo cool and made it out to Radina's to support our trip and that is so great. It's so nice to have that kind of support from members of the other groups so that it is not 4 seperate teams doing 4 seperate programs but rather 1 Intl. Service program that happens to have several sites and teams. I urge everyone to support their teams every bit as much as ours and we (Kenya Team) are eager to lend a hand to them however we can.
  • All the Musicians on the CD: without all you of you and your awesome gifts we wouldn't be able to put on this event. Extra special thanks to those who performed tonight (Matt Patton, Nick Timmons and Dan Hornsby. **Super special thanks to Nick for stepping in at the last minute)
  • Last but not fellow team members! Nick, Deanna and Caitlyn you guys rock! I am super pumped to be spending 10 weeks with you guys (alright i know what your thinking, great Jamie is already annoying the crap outta me....too bad!). Seriously though this has been awesome. Without Caitlyn's super special skill at tie-dye we ain't got no shirts. And Nick, well as you can tell Nick is like a music extraordinaire. Not only can he play like 200 instruments (something close) but he was the man responsible for recording, mixing, etc this WHOLE CD!! and then there's Deanna....yeah anyways next topic. HAHA just kidding Deanna (had to get you back for taking shots at me)....pretty much Deanna and I are the ones who just the gopher work for Nick and Caitlyn's ideas...cuz all we came up with is bake sales and tubberware (lets us know if you wants some though haha). In all honesty, joking aside, I wouldn't trade my group for anything. We all bring something to the table and all together we pretty much dominate. Watch out Kenya, HERE WE COME!

Once again thanks to anyone and everyone who came out tonight. If I forgot to mention you or didn't mention you by name its not cuz i dont like you are you aren't important. The truth is, I am completely exhausted and its late but I really wanted to get this blog post out there while I was still riding this excitement.

Oh by the came to my attention today that we are somewhere around 1 MONTH AND A HALF away from leaving. That means in a little over a month I will be in freaking AFRICA, a whole ocean away. Talk about a dream come true (as most of you know).

paradoxically exhausted and invigorated,