Monday, July 19, 2010

What Goes Up, Must Come down

This weekend, although not overly productive, was pretty great. On Saturday, we met Salomie at the barrier market around 11am all pumped up for our full day of mountain climbing. We are kind of in the foothills of Mt Kenya. Not quite but almost. The land is flat-ish but then there are these GIANT grassy hills everywhere. Mountain might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the term hill is a bit of an understatement. Think very very very big hills. Either way, Salomie agreed to take us climbing for the day.

The first hill we climbed was very steep. I was expecting the hills to be kind of steep but to have a little bit of a path from the base of them to the top, but I was clearly mistaken. The first hill was rocky and grassy and we literally just trudged our way right up the side of it. We tried to zig zag up as much as we could to prevent from falling to our deaths but most of the time we were gripping onto long tuffs of grass to prevent ourselves from falling backwards and rolling right down the hill. There were a few close calls; a few slips and more then a couple of times that what we thought was a good place to put our feet resulted in one of us sliding a few meters back down the hill. We got to the top in about 40 minutes though, and the view was worth it. We packed homemade chocolate chip banana bread that we baked, carrots, apples, almonds and peanut butter sandwiches with us to share, and Salomie brought onion mandazis so we had a fabulous little picnic lunch on the top of the hill. Unfortunately, it turned out that the hip high grass we were climbing through also contained burrs and thorns. By the time we got to the top, our pants and shoes were absolutely covered in burrs and you could barely even see the fabric through them all. We spent about 40 minutes trying to remove the thorns before we headed back down so we'd have enough time to climb another hill. By climbing down, what I really mean is falling strategically. Up was the easy part! Going downhill seems to use strange muscles you didn't know existed, not to mention we managed to get even more burr covered on the way down then up. Every inch of my pants were covered. Turns out lulus and burrs are not a good combo.

Lesson of the day: Up is better than down.

The second hill was much less steep and actually had a path most of the way up. It was more of a hike then a climb. We chilled on the top for about 40 minutes and then headed back down to head home.

(I had some awesome top of the hill pictures to add to this post but for some reason the internet freezes right up whenever I try to add them so hopefully I can figure it out soon.)

I was wearing my Nike frees because my old crappy runners that I brought because I totally don't care if they get ruined were soaking wet. Our cleaning lady Gladys is a shoe cleaner extraordinaire, but unless you hide your shoes under the bed, they get cleaned. I'm not complaining, but I really didn't want to wear my brand new, white shoes trekking around Kiirua in the dust and grime. I've been using tweezers to try to get the burrs and thorns out of them for the past two days and I think they're almost as good as new. Gladys managed to get her hands on them today though, so I'm sure by tomorrow once they are washed, they'll be whiter then they were when I got here.

We went to Kiirua Boys Secondary School today to tell the students about the nutritional benefits of unpolished maize. The staff liked the idea of not polishing the maize for the githeri as it saves them the money is takes to have it polished, but they did not think that the students would find it acceptible. The headmaster thought that hearing the benefits from two young Canadian girls might make them more willing to try it. Tomorrow, they are preparing the githeri with unpolished maize for the first time and want us to go back to eat lunch with the boys. Nothing like good ol' peer modeling to make kids (and grownups) accept new foods!

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