Saturday, June 22, 2013

Yikes, I've met a far right wing Christian!

I can't really do the presentation I attended today with Rose, Magdaline and Joyce justice without lots of gesturing, shouting, eye-rolling and possibly an adult beverage. But some highlights:

(Rose was told that there would be a community meeting of women who would be getting a presentation on HIV by a visiting American woman. We thought it would be interesting to attend, so we headed over to the orphan home which was the site of the meeting. It turned out to be a training session for teachers at the affiliated school, but we were welcome to stay, so we did.)

The presenter was a seriously right wing Christian who was there through a "Pregnancy Resource" (read anti-abortion) clinic in Salt Lake City.

First, obviously, we must all be saved through Jesus, and having sex before marriage is not god's plan for us. So far so expected, once I realized her orientation.

But then she kept telling the Kenyans how America is depraved because we have rejected god, 80% of girls get pregnant in high school (not fitting well with her statistic of 18ish being the average age of first sexual intercourse), "don't get me started" (she said) on American kids, who uniformly don't like to learn and don't do homework.

Also, American parents don't care about their kids, and a very high percentage of parents lived in sin before they got married, and set a bad example of godlessness for their kids.

When asked by one of the Kenyans why we "allow" homosexuality, she said that it was caused by early sexual abuse and absent fathers, which were both signs of how depraved America is.

I was appalled and riveted at the same time. I'm really really sorry now that I didn't stand up at that point and say that hers is a minority view in America, and that science has proven otherwise, but I didn't. I think it was partly because I was there by invitation of Rose, who was there by invitation of the director of the school and orphan home, with whom Rose is trying to establish a professional relationship. Mostly, maybe, since I was attending a right wing presentation by invitation and choice, in the moment it felt like it wasn't my place to criticize. I think I was wrong once we got to the topic of homosexuality - leaving her ridiculous statements about America untouched was one thing, but when we got to homosexuality I wish I'd spoken up.

Then, the same guy asked about "swinging" - he was told about it by an American friend. She told the others that swinging was having orgies in a big group, and that although young people sometimes did it, it was largely American adults who engage in big orgy parties where "everyone is having sex with everyone."

THEN, they turned to a page in their workbooks that showed them how to have the kids do a mock marriage! Such fun, she said, and it helps motivate the kids to stay pure until marriage. They choose a bride, groom, parents of the couple, wedding party, menu. . .  then they dress up and conduct a mock ceremony.

We then heard about how well her son Joshua has responded to the purity and abstinence training. He's a senior in college. He wears a "purity" ring on his ring finger, and his girlfriend Emily does, as well. She reminds him periodically not to do anything with Emily that would make her ashamed and guilty when she walks down the aisle with him next year, and reminds Emily of the same thing vis a vis Joshua. Sometimes when they're "out on the town" (yes, she actually talks like that. plus, Kenyans have no frickin' idea what that means, I'm sure) she calls Joshua to remind him about his purity pledge. Because that is what good parents do.

THEN, she tore into "women's lib" - I kid you not, that's what she called it. She doesn't care for it. It elevated women and tore down men, and now only weak men are ever portrayed on television.


Friday, June 21, 2013

I hope this is just part one. Wrote a hugely long post yesterday, with lots of photos and captions, and my iPad blogger app has crashed and is only giving me access to the couple of photos that I had saved online at the beginning. Unfortunatley I saved the rest of the draft locally, and don't have access. Sigh. Anyway. . .

This guy is king of the roost around here, though jet lag, and not he, woke Matt and me yesterday.

We cooked bacon and eggs over the wood fire in Rose's kitchen.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Left Evanston and Arrived in Kenya!

Okay, a speedy tour through the last few days so I can get caught up, get to bed, and make breakfast with Matt tomorrow morning - bacon, eggs and fried potatoes over a wood fire in Rose's rural kitchen, for seven people!

Summary - my nephew Matt and I are off to Kenya for a working holiday. We'll be there from June 19 - July 30, and hope to do everything from teach about biointensive gardening (Matt) and the importance of condoms (me) to a balloon ride over the Masai Mara!

Matt takes a quick nap, having helped pack, weigh and label six 50-pound boxes and duffels.

Becky and her friend Leslie give us the traditional Mary Ann and Lee send-off.

Packing light. One suitcase and one duffel for Matt and me, and 5 boxes and one duffel of library books, training material, games, etc. for the 5 projects we're visiting.

Layover at Heathrow - yummy breakfast at the Giraffe in Terminal 5.

Fishmarket in Nairobi.

Some ex-Lavenda students and a friend gave us a quick tour of Nairobi University. I took a brief moment to appreciate being in the same space that was once occupied by President Nyerere.

If you look closely, under the archway is Matt with Beatrice and Stella, ex-Lavendians, and Beatrice's friend Simon.

Stella, Beatrice and Simon looking at Julie's wedding photos.

Had a puncture before we started off to Kakamega - repair being made.

Some flowers in the parking lot of our lunch stop in Nakuru.

Matt at the Rift Valley. We'll go back again, as it was too foggy to see much.

Rose buying potatoes for the girls's home at a roadside stand.

Heaving the bag of potatoes into our poor, overladen car.

If you can zoom in, can anybody tell me why it looks like Matt is taking a photo in the rear view mirror, but has his hand in his lap in the body of the photo??

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why I Won't Go to Kenya in the Summer Ever Again

As excited as I am to be leaving a week from today for Kenya, I am sad to be missing some of the best months of my beautiful garden. Sheena John, my wonderful garden designer, has helped me have a garden to enjoy all through the growing season here in the Chicago area. I may be heading to work, literally, in the jungle in western Kenya, but other than banana plants and avocado trees you can't beat my garden for jungley lushness.

And by "lush" possibly I mean "desperately needs attention".

My newhew Matt was planting my veggie garden for me, but we both gave up when it became clear that only the bunnies will enjoy the harvest.

My compost bins.

Where's my machete??

Spenser at the side entrance into the garden.

Location:my garden!