Monday, August 30, 2010

I work really hard

Kenya's new Constitution came into effect on Friday (now known as Promulgation Day).  There was a big ceremony in Uhuru Park, attended by Kenyan and many other leaders, including, unfortunately, Sudanese president and war criminal Omar Hassan Al-Bashir (who's been indicted by the International Criminal Court, which means as soon as he landed in Kenya the Kenyan authorities should have arrested him).

So Friday was declared a national holiday in Kenya, which meant U.S. government employees here got the day off.  So my friends and I celebrated by going horseback riding out in tea plantation-land.

You can see more pictures here.  It was so, so much fun, and I am hoping to make this a regular weekend activity.  I was super sore afterwards, though!

Then yesterday I went on another embassy-organized trip to a place called Bomas of Kenya, which is kind of like the Kenyan version of colonial Williamsburg.  The government set it up in the 1970s when they saw that the country was really starting to develop and change, so that Kenyans wouldn't forget their cultural heritage.  Of course there are lots of tourists that visit, but it's mainly for Kenyan schoolchildren to see how their ancestors lived.

They have traditional huts from different areas of Kenya; for example, this is the style used by many ethnic groups along the coast of Kenya:

Besides the traditional houses, at Bomas you can also see performances of the traditional dances of the different ethnic groups:

You can see more pictures of Bomas here.  Unfortunately the lighting in the auditorium wasn't great, and it was only towards the end that one of my friends pointed out that sometimes the pictures will actually turn out lighter if you turn off the flash.

Then yesterday I went hiking at Mt. Longonot, which is not just a mountain but a volcano!  I've never been to one before, so it was very cool.  In the morning it was very foggy, so we couldn't see much, but we finally got some good views at the very end of our hike.

You can see more photos of Mt. Longonot here.

It may not seem like it from this blog lately, but I do actually do some work in Kenya on occasion, when I have time in between all the fun stuff.  I'll write about it soon.