mombasa: pictoral highlights

spices in the mombasa market

piri-piri, tomato powder and two curries

one of my favorite things to do in a market where people don’t know me, is get re-educated about spices. i pretend i know nothing about any of the spices, and let various sellers tell me all about them. my favorite part is when the let me taste them! (or, in most cases, force me to taste them. good thing its my favorite part!)

right- christian radio, left-our hotel. inturpret at will.

the stairs up to our hotel in mombasa were just begging to be photographed. one cannot pass up a nice set of stairs… if you go left, you get the christian radio station that pumps its music so loud i’m not sure they *actually* need to broadcast…if you right you get to our hotel. swanky.

prayer items

prayer items

mombasa is a place with some great worship spaces. these prayer cards are from the hindu temple in the heart of mombasa.

old town door, mombasa

old town, mombasa

people’s spaces fascinate me-especially when they look like they have been around for hundreds of years…in this case, it has! behind this door, mombasans live their life. a swahili woman was kind enough to allow me to photo her door before she went in. she herself, however was too shy to be photoed as well.


friends. traveling companions.

shadow pictures are fun. especially with fun friends.

water and boats

boats on the coast

just to prove that mombasa is truly on the coast… i spied these boats while climbing around an embankment looking for fort jesus (yes. its called fort jesus) a delightful find.


human rights violation

alright. enough is enough.

i have not posted or really written about the anti-gay bill that uganda is currently struggling with, but i can no longer keep quiet.

before i continue, if you have comments–keep them clean. keep them respectful. or they will not be posted. full stop.

it is nearly impossible for me to disagree MORE with the bill that is trying to find itself into law.
right now i am short on time (computer battery and internet availability) so this is brief.

perhaps the most important thing for this post is the possibility to sign the petition to stop the following from being signed into law:

*that homosexual persons would be sentenced to prison. (even life in prison.)
*the bill has little to no distinction between gay sex and pedophilia. huge difference, people. so not the same thing. (same with rape. not. the. same. thing.)
*that people such as PRIEST and PASTORS could serve jail time for not reporting someone admitting/confessing/speaking with them about their sexuality, their questioning etc. if a priest hears confession, and someone admits that they are even simply questioning, the priest must report said person or they both face jail time.
*that “repeat offenders” of “the homosexual act” could be sentenced to death.

if you have a problem with any of that, go here. and sign the petition.

almost out of time for now, so if you need more reading go to these pages:
zeleza post blog–spells out in (a lot) of detail the human rights violation.

an article from the guardian–a church of uganda (anglican) canon speaks out against the bill.

an africa files run-down on the violation of human rights in the bill.

the petition (again.)

PDF photocopy of the bill is available on the box turtle bulletin site, as is an HTML text version.

tremendum et fascinosum…

mysterium tremendum et fascinosum

i said: "woe is me! i am lost, for i am a man of unclean lips…

yet my eyes have seen the king, the lord of hosts!" isaiah 6:5

like isaiah, i, too, have unclean lips, step back,

tremble before the holy that draws me

close. what live coal must purify my mouth

when i answer to the judge? shall i

be judged my law or by the holy

which stands behind it? if i can choose

between edict and the bush that burns

unconsumed, i’ll embrace the implacable torah.

any thug who stumbles

into court might escape between

see-through cracks in the 366 prohibitions

of the law. if i have trouble living in history

with the torah, where are the fissures in teh holy?

i do not speak of antiseptic rectitude,

but fire’s absolute autonomy that scolds me

for putting dirty sandals on glowing cinders,

but invites me to approach barefoot.

–kilian mcdonnell "god drops and loses things"

busia, part two: screaming child edition

so there we were in busia… after the first
epic-public-transportation-day wondering if our new “friend” was really going to show up in the morning to “help” us get to the bus park or not.

i had (stupidly?) given her my mobile number the evening before just before she left our room. thinking that like many people who have taken my number, that she would text or call or, more likely, beep me at some point–but certainly not the next day.

oh, i was wrong.

while i was having tea in the hoteli that morning my phone began to ring. over. and over. and over.
i put the phone on silent–not sure if i wanted to answer, or if we should just try to make a quiet get away.

i did not answer any of her calls/beeps until after i had got back up to the room to discuss with mel.

we didn’t *really* decide until we were all collected and downstairs looking for a taxi to kisumu.
one of the ladies in the hoteli told me that there was a
transportation strike–and that the matatus (14 passenger vans serving as taxis) were not running that day.

regardless, she had the fellow who was butchering meat go try to flag down a taxi for us. (he went, machete still in hand. no time like the present?) he managed to flag one with space but they wanted each of us to pay 1,500 kenya shillings. that is ASTRONOMICAL. like at least five times the price it should cost. so, we declined.

somewhere between getting downstairs and turning down that taxi i’d called our friend–and she said that she was “on the way coming.” now, for those of you who do not have experience with
east-african-english…this could mean darn near anything. from literally being a few seconds away, to just now getting dressed. its really anyone’s guess what that means for each individual person at that particular moment in time.

we probably waited for 30 minutes until she showed up. with toddler in arms. toddler SCREAMED and CRIED upon seeing us. so, that was fun.

she then wanted us to take photos with the kid. and with her.

we complied.

just let it all out...

you know, in retrospect, i'm glad we took this picture...

nice socks...

the day before she had told us that she has a shop that sells dvds near the taxi park in mbale. she now told us that she also has a dvd shop here near this taxi park…and that we should stop by there on the way to the bus. we declined, saying that we would really like to get moving–especially with this matatu strike.

we each boarded our own boda-boda.
mel and i ended up at the taxi park with-in a few seconds of the other. our friend was no where in sight.
this wouldn’t have been a problem IF she didn’t have mel’s bag full of gifts for people.
so. i called her.

she had apparently gone to her shop, and wanted to send someone to come get us. i asked how far it was she said “okay. just wait.”
she then appeared from the swirling eddy of people that is a taxi park, and started to take us toward her shop.
i protested. “shouldn’t we see if there is a bus? we REALLY would like to get moving.”

so she asked around, and it would appear that the only bus at the moment going to kisimu was full. and that the next one would be there in about 45 minutes.
“good, you can come to the shop then.” she said.

we were then practically held hostage in this woman’s dvd shop. i wanted to exchange some more money, so an even more shady exchange went down out of the eyes of everyone. again down some random allyway. at one point, it crossed my mind, “something really bad could happen right now.” but the dude was old, and i had my wits about me. everything was fine and i got another great exchange rate. but. shady. nonetheless.

i purchased our tickets from the conductor, and the woman gave him her phone number so he could beep her when the bus came.
back to mel in the dvd shop with the woman’s brother and her kid. (at least, at this point, the kid had stopped WAILING!)

we endured our imprisonment, bought some dvds (ugh) and were eventually sprung when the phone call came, “the bus is here.” PTL.

we schlepped our things to the bus, boarded and settled in. FINALLY we were on our own like actual adults. it was nice.

and the the bus hit a cow.
and it was tragic.
but no one else seemed to mind.

never. ever. a dull moment in east-africa!

one more time...