- The lake in front of
Marsabit Lodge (49k):
On the 8th of July, we went to the
Marsabit Lodge for a several hour long retreat of silence (a retreat
of silence is where you go and spend a few hours praying / journaling
/ meditating on what God is doing in your life -- no talking!), and
also to enjoy the marvels of creation. What you don't see in this
picture, is that those hills extend up and circle all around us -- the
lodge and lake are in this extinct volcano crater. Now, when a
leopard is in the same tree as a bunch of baboons, the baboons make an
incredible racket. So it was pretty amazing to hear a leopard hunting
for lunch, as the racket followed the treeline along the countour of
the crater we were in. See if you can spot the elephant in this picture!
- Be polite! (22k): The sign
reads "Animals are requested to be silent when people are drinking,
and vice versa." This is a closeup of the picture before, and yes,
that little black dot on the far shore right above the sign is an
elephant. Really. Here is another picture of elephants, as seen by
my camera. Yes, it's those two tiny spots. Stupid 14 dollar camera.
- Those are too baboons!
(36k): This is a picture of Josh Bilhorn looking at
baboons through binoculars. (The baboons are those tiny dark brown
spots amongst the yellowish grass above Josh's head. Really.)
- Nne mawe (33k): "Nne
mawe" means "four stones" in Swahili. Isaac, Rebecca, Jon and Jenny
Stone at Marsabit
Lodge. I think that's Joel Mekkes in the background, although it might
have been Dan VandenBerge or Dan Panik or heck, anyone with one of
those yellow long sleeved Tech shirts. (On second look, it *is* Joel
Mekkes, with his "Nongene" bottle. He hated the fact that he had to
spend 12 dollars on two Nalgene water bottles, and just wanted to
collapse a couple of two liters and bring those. And then when we got
to his house in Grand Rapids, it turned out that his mom already
bought him the water bottles. So he taped over the "Nalgene" logo,
and wrote "Nongene" instead. When we got back to the states, Eric
Therkildsen made him a homemade nalgene out of a two liter and duct
tape. I'll try to get a picture of it and put it here -- it's pretty
- Stupidity Knows No
Boundaries 1 (17k): Eric Therkildsen and Jon Doane climb a very
large, very tall stump, while Joel Mekkes waits his turn to climb on up.
Now, I remember when I took this picture that I spent a good 30
seconds getting the right angle so that Venus would be in the picture,
and, well, Venus didn't show up in the final pic. Sigh. So much for
my career in amateur astronomy (stupid camera).
- Stupidity Knows No
Boundaries 2 (21k): Eric nears the top (almost out of flash
range) of the tree stump, while Jon Doane and Joel Mekkes follow right
- Stupidity Knows No
Bou -- Hi mom! (15k): Eric Therkildsen is the king of the stump,
as Jon Doane waves at the camera man. Joel Mekkes is thinking "How
the heck do I get in these situations?" as he's perched precariously
on a stick nailed into the tree stump.
So, why did I name these pictures "Stupidity has no boundaries"?
Well, that's what was going through my head when I was taking them.
Keep in mind, this is a very large tree stump. Snakes of any kind
could be living in it. And while it just looks like a tree, about 6
yards behind me the forest started, and let me tell you that it's one
thing to watch some foofy movie about africa and hear monkeys coming
out of the little TV speaker in your living room, and it's another
thing to hear monkeys making a heck of a racket about ten yards
right behind you. And while, yes, nothing bad (or funny)
really happened, I was waiting for impending disaster (with the camera
at the ready! "Hey, Doane, how does it feel to be swallowed alive by
a giant. . . snake-lizard type thing?")
- Don't take a
picture! They'll charge if they see a flash! (27k): So, we
stayed at the lodge a little longer than we should have (it says, I
saw the sign, do NOT drive in the park after 6:00 pm. We left
the lodge at 6:30.) On the way back, we see a cape buffalo. On the
road. Not good. These things are huge, and they can be very
agressive, and can run at
30-40 miles an hour. We saw only one, but if there was a herd around,
well, I didn't know what would happen, but my imagination said it
couldn't be good. As soon as Mike Kolassa sees the buffalo, he starts
saying all these things like "Oh man, stop! These things will charge
the car and flip it right over!" Now, Kim Schouten is driving. Erin
Karner was in the car, and I think Song Yang and Jenny Pintsch or maybe
Sarah Bonsall was too. And someone takes a picture, and Mike goes
"Don't take a picture! It'll charge if it sees a flash!"
And, of course, the buffalo looks over right at that moment.
Mike really sounds like he knows what he's talking about, and every
now and again, Jon Doane adds something in which is just as bad what
Mike is saying, and the
girls are just freaking freaking out (especially Erin). Kim
eventually had to tell him
to just shut up (a couple of times before he actually did) because
they were getting scared so bad (Kim was pretty levelheaded
throughout actually). The cape buffalo finally went away after a bit
(they don't like the smell of diesel -- can't say I blame them) and
Kim drove us on out of there. Well, for the rest of the way back, all
the guys are making jokes like asking Kim if she's licensed to drive
in a Buffalo Infested Area and the like. Later, I found out that Mike
was full of it when I rode with Jon Stone in a land rover on a later
trip, and he drove up pretty darn close to a cape buffalo and started
talking to it and it didn't flip the car over or even charge us (darn).
Anyway, pictured here are
Andy Kress, Jon Doane, Mike Kolassa, Joel Mekkes, and Erin Karner. I
don't know if this picture was taken before or after we saw the buffalo.
- Putting up the
walls of the water tank (43k): Going clockwise: Brian Tracy,
Cori White, Karissa Bultman, Bill Schoonover, Dan Panik and I hold up
the large metal framework which will become the wall of the watertank. At this
point, we were attaching it to the metal mesh which was embedded in
the foundation of the tank, as well as attaching the seam (this was
just a large roll of square mesh) together and fixing any joints which
- Attaching the chicken
wire (66k): Dan Panik works on attaching the chicken wire to the
larger wire mesh, as Karissa Bultman and Cori White get instruction
from Joseph Nyamu (white overalls and workshirt) on how far to pull
the chicken wire down. In the background, Bill Schoonover plays with
the digital camera. Later on, we will be taking a large tarp
(actually made out of stitched together burlap sacks) and binding it
tightly to the outside of the wall, and then going down inside the
tank and pressing concrete into the mesh. The concrete will then
harden around the mesh enough so that we can take down the supporting
burlap tarp, and then build the walls up so the concrete is of equal
thickness on each side of the supporting mesh.
- Oooh, baboons!
(31k): Jarret Gill and Tim Webster look at baboons. There were
bunches, and I tried to take pictures of them (and was largely
unsuccessful). Baboons are right bastards -- they'll throw stuff and
annoy the crap out of you if they're in a bad mood. Kinda like my
housemate. *grin* Anyway, this the only
picture of the baboons which came out reasonably well (although,
you can see the little baboon right above Tim Webster in the other
picture too. If I would have known that I could get a good picture of
baboons at the Nairobi game park, I would not have wasted so many
- Timmy playing football
(14k): We brought lots of balls and toys for the children in
marsabit. But to get them to fit, we had to deflate all of them.
What can you do with a deflated kickball? Why, use it as a football
helmet, of course!
- Cement fight? What cement
fight? (21k): Okay, you saw above how we put the chickenwire
mesh up? Well, after pressing enough cement into the mesh (against
the burlap), it was time to *throw* the cement against the tank wall.
Well. You can imagine about how long it took for us to realize that
throwing cement at walls inside a confined space with other people
lends itself to . . . interesting possibilities. So these guys start
flinging cement at each other. And then, they decide, hey, let's do
this right. . . so they clear everyone out except them, and get ready
for a *real* cement fight. This what they looked like during the
intermission -- after this picture was taken they started up again. I
kind of wish I would have went in there and taken part -- but I
realize that then I would have had to shower, and man, showers were as
frustrating as they were relaxing. Because, yeah, you were getting
clean, but not *that* clean because you only had a little squiggle of
water to work with because, well, we were in the desert and water was
expensive. (I wound up taking about one twice as long shower every six days,
instead of one tiny tiny short one every three days.) And, besides,
the drains eventually backed up in the guys showers, and so sewage
would come bubbling up out of the drain toward the end of your
shower. (We wound up putting one of those giant plastic tubs in the
shower to stand in.) But fortunately I'm a Comp. Sci. major, and so
I'm used to not taking showers for a week at a time. ;)
- Water fight? What water
fight? (41k): Okay, after just going on and on about how scarce
water was, here I am posting a picture about a water fight. But man,
there's something about nalgene bottles and the last few swigs from
one. If you recently filled it up, then you're okay, but if you let
it sit for a while, it's nasty and you have to pour it out anyway.
(Both of my water bottles got that dirty, stank water smell in them,
and I couldn't clean them because I didn't have the water for it, and
I got all neurotic about it so I had to buy bottled water the last 3
weeks we were there. (for 60 shillings a liter -- two liters a day.))
Anyway, this is Jon Stone and Kim Schouten after a good water fight.
This is what happened just before I took the picture: Jon and Kim were
standing there, and Jon was talking to someone else. Kim had already
gotten Jon pretty good (as you can see by the picture) and Jon had
missed with most of his water bottle. But everyone thought that Jon's
water bottle was empty (except me. I could tell that Jon was up to
something.) and so he was fooling around with it, and then tossed the
last quarter inch of water onto Kim without even looking in her
direction. That's why he's got such a huge grin on his face, even
though he's pretty wet.
- Church. (107k):
Joseph Nyamu invited us to his church, so we went. It was not this
nice outside when we started out -- it was cold and drizzly, and all of the
dry red dirt became thick red clay mud and fiercely attached itself to
our shoes so we were walking on 1-2 inch platforms. But, when they
say church, they mean church. We got there shortly before
10:30, and we didn't leave until well after 1:30. And then we all
went outside for a group picture. And then we had to walk 20 minutes
back. We were pretty wiped out after that, but we had a lot of fun.
The white people in this picture are Eric Therkildsen,
Serenity Schoonover, Bill Schoonover, Mike Kolassa, Me (the scowl on
my face is me worrying about my camera), Dan Panik, Karissa Bultman,
Joel Mekkes, Hilary Webster (in front of Mekkes), Cori White, Andy
Kress and Brian Tracy.
- The interior of the water
tank (14k): We hired a cement expert to come in and smooth
everything up with really fine cement and the like, and this was the
- Isiah's family singing (51k): After we
were there a few weeks, we got invited to people's houses for dinner.
The two dam teams went to Pastor George's house (farm? I'm not sure
-- I wasn't on a dam team), but the two tank teams went to Isiah's
farm. Him and his family are almost entirely self sufficient with
their farm (he's a water engineer, so he does clever things like
redirects rainwater runoff from the road to his trees and plants).
This is a picture of him and his family performing a song for us. In
the picture is Jenny
Pintsch (the stuff on her arms is henna -- it's a natural dye (that stayed
stuck for weeks afterwards)), Andy Kress, Brian Tracy, Dave Bosscher
and Bianti Curry. Isiah's family, well, I don't remember their
names because like a stupidhead, I didn't do a journal while I was
there. That's Isiah on the far right in the blue shirt though.
- Isiah's family in front of their
house (44k): Isiah's family standing in front of their house.
Isiah's son (on the far left) is holding a guitar like instrument
which he made himself. The way it works is, you move your fingers up
and down on the strings in certain places to create harmonics and the
like, all ad-hoc with no frets. He had a good rhythm thing going down
with it too.
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