KENYA: a day in the life of a Maasai

My god, I miss hot showers. A decent toilet. Chocolate. First world issues that spin through my head while writing my third Kenya -blog post. The days here are like night and day compared to my life in the Netherlands. Our routine is different, other things take priority. Let me decribe a typical day for you.

When I wake up, most of the time around 10 AM, the first thing I check is if there are no bugs in my mosquito net. To be honest, this is something I do all through the night. Last week, an cockroach the size of one of my fingers was in my mosquito net. I almost cried. Then I get dressed and go on my way to the best part of the day (please detect my sarcasm): the bathroom. As I mentioned before, the shower is a bucket and we have no access to hot water. Luckily, the climate is dry and hot here but it still is a daily struggle. The toilet is maybe the worst thing here. I am well aware that the people here do not know anything else. This is what they grew up with. But it is awful. The corners of the small wooden house are filled with spiders and bees. Flies swirl around the small hole. You can probably imagine how terrible this is for a ‘westerner’.
We prepare breakfast in our small kitchen on a gasoline stove. Fridges here are rare, so no cooled foods. Cooking here is, believe it or not, quite fun. Since we do not have much diversity in products (bananas, oranges, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, onion and carrots we have mostly. Occationally we find a paprika or an avocado on the market, which makes us all extremely happy), we experiment different preparations of the foods we do have. I actually learned how to make bread from scratch. Lara brought spices so we often make garlicy bread. So tasty. For breakfast, we are a bit obsessed with french toast. Okay, me. I am obsessed with french toast. We have eggs and milk (fresh from the cow) plenty here, so it is great to make the boring bread (white bread, zero nutritive value or taste) more delicious.

Two of the school cows. The Maasai have two eating/drinking habits: lots of meat and lots of milk.

Then we go on with our day. Mostly our days consist out of conducting interviews, typing out the interviews in the computer lab (they do have wifi there, which is the most modern thing in this place) and going to the city centre for groceries. The city centre is about a 15 minute walk away, and has a few shops where you can buy the essential foods and drinks. When we go for shopping, we bring some of our guides. You need them here to buy cheap food. You see, shopowners have no problem with tripling their prices when they see tourists. If we would not bring locals, it would cost us a fortune to eat here.
Monday is market day. Then they have a broader mix of foods, like avocados and water melons. And sometimes, sometimes Moses (the headmaster of the primary school we stay at) brings goodies from Narok, the ‘big city’. Muffins, cacao to make chocolate milk and brown bread. What a treat!
Strangly enough, we rarely have lunch. We wake up rather late (10 AM) and by the time breakfast is ready, it is not breakfast anymore but more a brunch. The people here find our eating habits weird anyway. They wake up at 6 AM (HOW? SO EARLY), eat breakfast and have lunch at noon. They eat dinner at 9 PM.

We stay in Nkoilale, a village that lies at number 58 on this map. 12 KM from the National Reserve and practically in the Conservancy (a Conservancy is practically the same as a National Park, but instead of national property it is runned by the local people and the county)

We are already hungry around 5 PM (obviously because we don’t eat lunch haha). Mike, the game keeper of the school, brings us our fresh milk and when we still have cacao, we make hot chocolate. Mike is by the way also the one who keeps us safe from the wild life. Believe it or not (we sometimes even have trouble believing it ourselves), but the daily life here has elephants destroying the fence of the school and lions preying on the school cows.
Preparing dinner takes the longest. We have to fetch water to boil the veggies and clean and cut the vegetables and potatoes. Also, most of the time the dishes are not done yet. I hate doing the dishes back in the Netherlands. My least favourite chore. But here, it is worse. You have to get the water outside, boil it (but you never have enough to wash all the dishes) and clean it in a bowl. The bowl is always dirty unfortunately. Also, they are unaware of the concept of dish soap. They use just an ordinary soap stick here.
When dinner is ready, we pop on a movie (no netflix but we have some movies that we brought) and relax for the rest of the evening. It is strange, but even though we don’t do much, the time flies. Lara warned me for this: each chore and activity takes twice as long as in the Netherlands. You need patience for everything.

Yes I miss lots of things we do have in the Netherlands. Everyhing is easier where we live. But this life also has a charm. Taking time to prepare a full on dinner. Fetching water in the Kenyan sunlight. Going to the bathroom at night and seeing that the sky is full of stars and a bull is quietly eating some grass in front of the toilet. Just the normal things… haha.



One Reply to “KENYA: a day in the life of a Maasai”

  1. Ahh ahah wat een leuk verhaal weer om te lezen Geloof dat als je straks terug bent je ook mij afwas mag gaan doen. Je bent er tenminste aan gewend om twee keer zo lang erover te doen. Zou zonde zijn anders. Het klinkt allemaal echt amusant heel cosy enzo en fijn van die luxuries als verrassingen.

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