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  1. #21
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    Just "re-read" (via audio) this book recently. I love her horse stories and the tales of flying over east Africa. I used google earth to see if I could re-create her experience. I've always wanted to visit Kenya. She had an amazing life.



  2. #22
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    It is a way of life, now gone from Kenya. My father was pioneer in Uganda and my Godfather ox-waggoned up from the cost....getting into gold mining, and vanilla plantations. Dad met my mom on home leave and she went out by ship to marry him. He met her off the ship, married in Mombasa in 1939 and took the train up to Uganda, reminiscent of the train journey in Aut of Africa. Nevertheless, the way of life allowed for horses - Dad started the Uganda Polo Club, land that was soon after expropriated for the railway. His polo ponies had to come from Kaptagat in Kenya and had to be 'salted', meaning they had to have survived tsetse fly. Mum never took to the horsey way of life, but I do have a picture of her on Velvet Runner, one of his racehorses....but I ramble on.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


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  3. #23
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    Foxtrot, your experiences must have been amazing, and yes, that way of life is gone (was really a change from Kenyatta to Moi). I hope you DO ramble and write down your experiences!

    A former partner of mine is Kenyan (kikuyu and kamba), so loved traveling around, seeing his family. climbed Mt Kenya, sailed on the coast. Mombassa is okay but Lamu was heaven!! I doubt it still is. Spent a lot of time in Machakos, and Nakuru and south of Garissa (exciting, although scary being a little mzungu ) Did NOT like Malindi. Also up north a bit while he cored some trees!

    The Rift Valley is amazing! Nimesahau kiswahili lakini ninampenda sana! (am sure I bungled that!!)



  4. #24
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    Before my Dad married he was consul in Djibuti, where his men intercepted slaves being shipped on the dhows to Arabian countries, and then they had to be re-patriated to their homes.

    After Dad retired we moved to Kenya (just when the Mau Mau started) where I did Pony Club, Hunted (jackal) and even evented. They built a house on the very edge of the Rift Valley. My elementary school was in Nakuru
    overlooking the flamingoes on Lake Nakuru. Our holidays were spent driving the 300 miles to the coast over dusty murram roads to exotic places like Mombasa where the dhows came in off the trade winds. I guess I could write a book.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    Our holidays were spent driving the 300 miles to the coast over dusty murram roads to exotic places like Mombasa where the dhows came in off the trade winds. I guess I could write a book.
    And you should! Saw the flamingoes at Lake Nakuru (and Naivasha) Just awesome! Those roads are still dusty (out to Mwingi then dirt to Garissa) rutted dirt south. A few dusty dukas with warm sodas (and prostitutes up at Garissa). Sailed on the dhows up to Kiwaiyo Island, then out to Tenawe. Then when I went back my ex and I went out with a crew to Foza, sailing back in the moonlight. totally fell in love with Lamu - donkeys! Hibiscus! Prayers! I would doubt its still like that. I still thought it was sort of exotic at the Hotel STanley (mercifully was only in Nbi briefly, kind of a pit) that they have a bulletin board for travelors. Can meet up with people to go anywhere!!

    But you would have known it when it really was a little paradise, I guess eventually under Kenyatta. What a place! You should definitely write about it because those days are gone, pole sana.



  6. #26
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    wow................the childhood memories you guys have!!...yes,DO write down these memories for those of us less-traveled..........i would LOVE to hear / read more.......


    and on a side note, "the spotted lizard" is the follow-up book to flame trees of thika..........
    it was a PBS series many years ago, i wonder if it is available anywhwere


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  7. #27
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    Re: Moi:My mum worked at the local elementary school in our little town of Molo and Daniel Moi was the Minister of Education at the time - when he visited the school she thought he was thick as a plank...then he eventually ran the country almost into the ground.

    I did not read the book Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness because
    I heard it was writen from a rather bitter point of view and very anti-Brit.
    Having lived the life there I can say that since many of these countries got their independence (which I agree with), the infrastructure has decayed and corruption has ballooned - i.e. Mugabe, Imin...Kenya came out one of the best.

    We have an Old Girls Association and about seven of us live up in the PNW -
    Lilitiger if you are ever up here in BC we could arrange a luncheon since we like to get to gether to talk about our homeland when nobody else understands.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    Re: Moi:My mum worked at the local elementary school in our little town of Molo and Daniel Moi was the Minister of Education at the time - when he visited the school she thought he was thick as a plank...then he eventually ran the country almost into the ground.

    I did not read the book Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness because
    I heard it was writen from a rather bitter point of view and very anti-Brit.
    Having lived the life there I can say that since many of these countries got their independence (which I agree with), the infrastructure has decayed and corruption has ballooned - i.e. Mugabe, Imin...Kenya came out one of the best.

    We have an Old Girls Association and about seven of us live up in the PNW -
    Lilitiger if you are ever up here in BC we could arrange a luncheon since we like to get to gether to talk about our homeland when nobody else understands.
    Oh I would love that! And true about Moi. My sense, be interested in how you see it, is that one reason Kenya did well (initially) was due to Kenyatta? As you noted, under Moi, not so much (very, very different). I don't follow politics there anymore, but of course you are right about Imin and Mugabe (who initially I liked, actually). I have not been since 95, so I imagine a lot has changed. At that time, the infastructure was pretty bad (the Mbsa-Nbi hwy was just crazy, crater sized potholes, narrow, and we drove it at night/early am of course, driver whizzing along about 60mph, my ex in the cab and a friend, myself and a professor of his in the bed of the truck (no roomin the cab), professor was just terrified so we tried to distract him from nightmares of early death by pointing out the southern cross...) took the train the next time, which was quite the adventure!! Electricity outside Nbi unreliable (well, of course, we were in the boonies, probably okay at the big lodges). Traveling by matatu (do you remember those?) exciting! So exciting they recommend wearing glasses so if/when you smash, the glass won't get in your eyes !

    What I loved was the amazing singing! It seemed like every church, every group of people working had these incredible voices, we'd just listen with our mouths hanging open. Perfect harmonies. No books, no conductor.

    And of course the food, still make sukumawiki (chopped greens and tomatoes).

    And the people are SO friendly. We camped on the Mara and would wake up to Masai men standing outside our tents, leaning on their spears - Sopa! Ipa! And we'd offer chai and they'd offer jewelry or whatever. No matter where we were, some dusty boma, we'd ALWAYS be offered chai with sugar, even if it was their last bit.

    Anyway, your group would be fun! You are not so far away (by our standards out here!!)



  9. #29
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    Thanks for reminding me! Its about time to do another rereading-what a woman!
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.



  10. #30
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    Sorry to hijack, but it amazes me that coth folks speak Ki-Swahili.
    My Belgian is Bwana Kubwa. I yell, kuja hapa hapa when I'm calling the horses in from the field. Twende, twende! We go! And here you go, have some chakula.
    I am Mama Chakula. Mama Food.



  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    It is a way of life, now gone from Kenya. My father was pioneer in Uganda and my Godfather ox-waggoned up from the cost....getting into gold mining, and vanilla plantations. Dad met my mom on home leave and she went out by ship to marry him. He met her off the ship, married in Mombasa in 1939 and took the train up to Uganda, reminiscent of the train journey in Aut of Africa. Nevertheless, the way of life allowed for horses - Dad started the Uganda Polo Club, land that was soon after expropriated for the railway. His polo ponies had to come from Kaptagat in Kenya and had to be 'salted', meaning they had to have survived tsetse fly. Mum never took to the horsey way of life, but I do have a picture of her on Velvet Runner, one of his racehorses....but I ramble on.
    Such fascinating rambling I could listen to all evening!
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.



  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaf View Post
    Sorry to hijack, but it amazes me that coth folks speak Ki-Swahili.
    My Belgian is Bwana Kubwa. I yell, kuja hapa hapa when I'm calling the horses in from the field. Twende, twende! We go! And here you go, have some chakula.
    I am Mama Chakula. Mama Food.
    That's awesome! Did you live there? nimesahau sana! but I do use a few phrases - say "twende" a lot too, nikotayari" (I'm ready!) sina pesa (no money!), nakupenda (love you!) "uko wapi?" (where are you?) and so on with friends who were there. One friend can only remember "sitaki samaki" (I don't like fish, which was a very important phrase for her). My ex teased me mercifully (had me call his mother a donkey and so on) so I learned "unanidanganya" (you are BS'ing me) very well!! Nothinglike living with a native to really help with language (although his "help" was not always what it seemed!!) My favorite restaurant in Lamu is the Hapa Hapa!

    I love Mama Chakula and Bwana Kubwa (I assume he is, kubwa?)



  13. #33
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    Well, in the interests of this thread, Lilitiger, how did you meet your ex, and did you go to Kenya as a visitor with him, or did he live there? May I assume this was a bi-racial relationship, which would have been unusual in MY day as I went to schools that were still segregated (they are not any more, of course, and a lot of our Old Girls are black).

    We had a competition called Worthington Cup (a sort of Young Riders of the day for eventing) and had to get our horses on a train to get them to Nairobi!

    Our Hunt was called the Molo Hunt and the Master was Jim Ryan (his wife was Molly) Their son was Thady and as crazy an Irishman you could ever meet. At 14 I thought I was in love with him --- but he went back to Ireland and became a priest. They were the Ryans of the Black and Tans and I do believe someone on this board knows the pack. I often wondered where Jim and Molly went after they left Kenya (as we almost all did). Maybe New Zealand.
    My parents were good friends of theirs and we enjoyed all the traditions of the Hunt, including puppy shows and puppy walking. The staff/whips were all black and had presitgous jobs for the time.

    To get to the Hunt my main mentor, Eddie Duirs, member of the Kings African Rifles, a volunteer reservists group, would come by and pick me up and we wold go at hounds pace - 9 miles an hour - the maybe ten miles to the Hunt. Hunted all day after jackal and if I was lucky the owner of the farm where we might have ended up, would phone my Dad to pick me up and send my horse home with one of his syces. By this time we would be over twenty miles from home.

    Pony Club was run by old Brigadiers and Majors who had settled in Kenya to farm after the wars - spending their discaharge money. They would stand in front of us kids and say things like "Collect your ponies", without any of us having a clue as to what that meant!

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to take myself down memory lane, something that I don't do that often with the business of current life here in Canada.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to take myself down memory lane[.]
    Thank you for taking us with you!



  15. #35
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    Sometimes, if we hunted towards our home, I would end up riding home by myself. Monte Roberts would have nothing on "Join Up". I'd get off to rest my legs and walk a good distance home, with my litle Arab mare, Jamilla,
    following along behind. My beloved, absolutely dreadful parents let me do this, until one day I took things a bit far. I let Jamilla go ahead up the driveway and I hid behind a big boulder at the front of the drive by the road.
    Mum came out and called my name several times, her voice getting shriller and shriller each time, thinking I'd either fallen off God knows where, or had my head chopped off.
    I came out eventually, killing myself with laughter, until I realized how terrified she was...so turned down the volume on my practical jokes after that.

    My brother went to school with Dr Richard Leakey at Duke of York's in Nairobi. Richard's parents had been captured by the Mau Mau and as he was a diabetic they assumed hehad died from not having his medication, or been killed, not sure how that ended.

    My first language was more Swahili than English, but because I am not around Kenya people much the day today idioms have gone. But there are a number of horses with Swahili names - Rafiki, Farazi...I'm tall - my nickname was Twiga (giraffe). Lots of Simbas (lion) in the dog world, mainly yellow dogs I guess.

    Has nobody called "troll" yet - must sound a bit bizzare to some.
    A life I will always appreciate and know how lucky I was, by an accident of nature, to have been born and raised there. Y'all should go and experience the African night and the stars, like nothing else anywhere. The sounds of the
    wildlife wil lkeep you awake all night, especially if you have hyrax. I liked them because if they were startled they would shut up, so they were like little sentry's.

    Oh, we had a troop of Colobus monkeys swing through our forest - beautiful monkeys, black with white fringes along their arms, but ufortunately hunted almost to extinction for somebody's bloody bedspread, etc.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


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  16. #36
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    Wow! So you hunted jackal? What an amazing experience! You should definitely write (you probably already have!) your memories about this, as it is a lifestyle gone now, and one of great, great interest! I would bet at that time being a whip would be pretty high status for someone native. What was the impact of the Mau Mau uprising where you were? Must have been tense. Of course my ex's family had opinions about it (all I knew before that was what I read in Ruark's book Something of Value!!)

    I would guess you were there when the Adamson's were working with Elsa! I also guess you were there before and during Kenyatta - my ex remembered the 60s as a good period in Kenya. He really loved the music from then too (first song I learned was Malaika!)

    I was over there first for 3-4 months traveling, part of an outdoor program, climbed, sailed, and so forth, then came back to the US and wanted to learn swahili. He was getting his doctorate at the U of Arizona and available to tutor me, so......
    When he returned to Kenya to perform his doctoral work (partly on the Tana River south of Garissa, partly up north) I went with him. His family have a place in Machakos and in Kangundo. We lived with his family and traveled around Kenya as well, and I had a friend come visit and she traveled some. And yes, it was interracial, interestingly not an issue for his family but it was an issue for several of his family's friends. They would refer to me as a kamzungu ("little white person", kind of a dig). It was a safety issue for him when we were in Bura (on the Tana, south of Garissa). we had soldiers in the truck, I usually had to keep my head down, as there was lots of worry about what great kidnap targets white folk made (so I did not go with him all the time). One Madaraka Day in Bura I was the only white person at the celebration and I think they did not know what to make of me!! When we were driving from Bura down to Mombassa the luggage rack broke off the truck so we were stuck while they (he and his friend) fixed it. I was with my friend and his professor, visiting at the time, and they were VERY worried about bandits seeing us wazungu, so we cowered in the back of the truck and played "I'm thinking of a movie..."

    Have you been back to visit?



  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    .
    I'm tall - my nickname was Twiga (giraffe). Lots of Simbas (lion) in the dog world, mainly yellow dogs I guess.

    The sounds of the
    wildlife wil lkeep you awake all night, especially if you have hyrax. I liked them because if they were startled they would shut up, so they were like little sentry's.

    Oh, we had a troop of Colobus monkeys swing through our forest - beautiful monkeys, black with white fringes along their arms, but ufortunately hunted almost to extinction for somebody's bloody bedspread, etc.
    Twiga! you were lucky with that one! I was "kichwa kubwa" (big headed), They told me it was because of my hair (bad perm) but my ex told me that it meant the same thing in swahili that it does in English (!).

    As far as the amazing African night, I remember camping, both on Mt Kenya and on the Masai Mara, and when any of us had to pee we'd wake up the entire tent to "watch me" then unzip the tent, to....eyes. You'd see a bunch of eyes in the dark and try to gauge about how tall they were!! I also remember sailing back from Kiwaiyo Island (have to leave around 2am to catch the tide) and laying on my back watching the stars while the crew sang...

    We did not have the Colobus monkeys (and LOVE the hyrax!!) but did have baboons throw rocks at us and totally invade camp when we left for a hike. They would definitely charge - and they have pretty impressive fangs!



  18. #38
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    You travelled more thanI did in Kenya. How interesting and howfortunate you were to have the opportunity.

    I actually hate primates, except where they should be. Too human like, and when we went to the Game Parks, the horrible baboons wold climb all over the car, poking their fingers trying to get treats through the windows. They would sit on the hood with their disgusting red bottoms against the glass and wreck the wind shield wipers and grimace at us. Couldn't wait to get away from them.

    We had a number of wild pets, or our neighbours had them....injured, orphaned, etc. that our staff would bring us. One neighbour had a little monkey that was quite cute, really. Another a lion cub, and in Uganda a friend of our family's hd a baby elephant, and - best of all - a cheetah who was so beautiful and kind.

    Yes, remember the Adams' though did not know them.

    I was born in Uganda and we moved when I was eight, but at the time I was the coolest kid in town - our syce would ride Seymour my Dad's polo pony iinto town and Seymour would give the kids rides around our garden on Kololo Hill. Then he would ride Seymour all the way back - honestly, spoiled or what. But we were not really spoiled and had to show respect and manners at all times to everybody. And I try to pay-back by supporting a few charities, amongst them ACCES in Kakamega which gives a chance of higher education to poor, bright Kenya children. Our Old Girls Group likes our donations to go to girls since we believe in the power of women to make changes.

    I use names here because you never know which COTHer will have been to any of these places or know something about a person.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  19. #39
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    Oh I HATED the baboons! Vile little things (but perfect in their environment!).I think I remember monkeys with blue butts

    I bet you were cool giving pony rides on a polo pony! AND yes, here people might adopt a skunk or something but a cheetah? or a baby elephant? That is so cool! My mom has a colleague who works with saving cheetahs in south africa. When we did the obligatory tourist thing (still stunning) around the Mara I saw (from a truck) a lioness and her cubs just lying in the sun. We got pretty close nd the size of those paws....very impressive!

    Funny when I think of Kakamega I think of snakes, probably not true but the image I have is snakes everywhere!!! Of course had plenty out by the coast (and the folks who lived there cruised around in sandals, talked about mambas crawling between their feet -noooooooooot for me!)

    I agree about the women; my ex's mom was very involved in women's rights, particularly in addressing the female circumcision,a very sensitive topic. We had many conversations about women in the US versus women there. I get how it (the circumcision) connects them with their ancestors and history and discards the influence of the whites, but still, no thanks.

    Such a beautiful,amazing country! I just loved it. Have not been back in so long I bet it has changed a great deal. There is a certain smell - smoke, animals, cooking - that I always associate with my experience there, just a wonderful pungent! I keep thinking I will go back, but have not. Yet. Labda.



  20. #40
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    Has anybody read White Thorn by Bryce Courtenay - it was recommended to me but at 600 pages it is quite a tome to attack?

    To answer questions: at 8,000 ft above sea level we did not have snakes tht high, but at Nakuru some of the boys would find puff adders and kill them
    much to the awe of the school girls. Where the heck were the teachers!
    At home we had a local leopard who left his claw marks on our trees.
    One night my Dad called in our yapping spaniel and we heard an expletive as he ran into the house and slammed the door behind him. "Bloody pig chased us". The dog was chased by the wild pig, she ran to my Dad and theyboth ran for the house. Guess they didn't see the little piggy eyes glowing in the dark!

    The only time I have set foot back in Africa was a trip to Morocco a couple of years ago. Someday, through ACCES probably.

    FGM /circucision - it was part of life at that time. The men were 'done' when they became men and the drums and drinking would go on all night. Three weeks later a young man would emerge from his hut, walking very gingerly.
    The girls were done too - but not in the form of a celebration. My mum had to deal with a few situations where the poor young girls had to be taken to the hospital (if she could find out about it) - gives me the creeps even today,
    thinking back.

    During the Mau Mau things were tense, more for other tribes. Our staff were Luo, but the Kikuyu were rounded up and put into concentration camps.
    My Mum got stuck in the mud once. Before she knew it a whole hoard of Kikuyu were let out of the camp nearby, running towards her. In moments they had pushed the car and put it back onto the hard part of the road.
    She breathed a sigh of relief.

    Both my parents carried handguns and we were all taught to shoot.

    Their singing - so musical. My Dad would walk through his shamba as they worked picking the pyrethrum and he always wondered what they were singing about - perhaps him, and no knowing if it was polite or not.
    Pyrethrum is a daisy like plant tht has insecticidal properties that is used in your horses' flyspray.

    Well, folks, that's about it - horses were my love there and have continued to be a big part to this day. Thanks for your comments.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



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