Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Another Marathon, Strange Weather, and Kenny Comes Back

It seems unbelievable that we have been in Moshi  for 11 Kilimanjaro marathons, and that John has a lovely set of medals hanging from his mirror.  He will add another when we return home, though this one was a bit harder.  The past 2 weeks have been filled with some wonderful, stressful experiences of course, but the Kilimanjaro Marathon certainly stands out.  It is one of those times when nearly everyone in Moshi comes out to cheer people on. 

 I would like to go back to an unusual occurrence  before discussing the marathon!  First is Kenny.... Do you remember Kenny?  The tortoise that we had two years ago or so and has come back again.  Found in exactly the same place he was previously found by our gardener Pauli.  It is very illegal to keep these tortoises or "Kobe", because they are considered "Wild Animals" but they are loved by some people for food, and so are at risk , and they have a often killed by cars and motocycles because they no longer have the open fields and space that once was around Moshi.  So, with mixed feelings, I found our old Kenny sequestered behind the chicken coop because Pauli didn't want him to be killed.  I don't know much about tortoises but our Kenny seems to want to be into the chicken coop very badly and works every day to find his way into there.  Now, Pauli has put enough rocks up to keep Kenny's escape from happening; however, I feel badly because he doesn't have enough access to food. Now he does get food, and lots of it because he has me! and I buy him melon, mango, beans, cabbage and hamburger.  None of our staff can afford that much food, and of course I will be leaving. But, the scariest experience I witnessed today was that Kenny had tried so hard to get into the chicken coup that he wound up on his back and he could not turn over.  I immediately turned him and talked to Pauli about watching for him to do it again.  (turtles do not have big brains, and Kenny is old) Fortunately Pauli is a good man and has promised to check on Kenny several times every days.  (I will also give him money to feed Kenny.)  I do hope that Pauli can find Kenny a better home before we return.

After Kenny came back we saw amazing things that could not be captured on camera.  One day a lady walked past our house with an entire tree on her head.  My friend John Schmitt (I am sending this blog to him) promised to send me her picture, but has not done it.  She did not look in distress and she balanced the whole thing right there on her head!  Hope to send a picture sometime.

Also, our new askari added variety to their weapons to protect us.  This past week, I saw an askari pass with a bow and arrow.  And he looked like he knew exactly what to do with it.  It was amazing.  His partner had a huge club.  I thought, ok well, maybe Jean's Jack Fruit will be safe!.  And then right in front of them was an askari with a gun.  As much as I want to be safe, this all seems a bit of overkill, but hopefully if the thieves are within the compound they are shaking in their shoes.  (and we definitely think most of the thieves are inside.)  I like this group and just hope that the company will  not move them away.  (which is what happened with the last security system.)

Another change  to our system has been the relentless police who stop us at the bottom of our hill.  In the last 2 weeks we were stopped when I had hired my lovable and smart project driver Carol and they did not like his lights.  I'm not sure how to describe the events that occurred, but they very typical Tanzanian.  Apparently now, you can be arrested for having a dirty car, a car that has ripped seats or (as ours has) foam coming out of the seats.  Ultimately Carol was able to leave and we were able to continue our trip to Marangu to see our carver Lawi who is amazing.   
This is a crown bird being made by Lawi Mushi for his new 'garden" where he has life size giraffe and other animals.

 I am stopped every day by these same police but they are actually really nice to me and just say, "Tuenda" (go)

Thank heavens, I was stopped by the police before the marathon and after the "Tuenda" I asked what time our road would be closed.  I was told saa Mbili (8 o'clock am). On Sunday, the day of the marathon, I left promptly for church at 7:45 and arrived two  1/2 hours early.  It was perfect.  I chatted with our priest for  a 45 minutes and then took pictures of John and our friend Bob coming down to the last 2 K of the race.  They were pretty exhausted but they did it. The contrast of the exhausted half marathoners and the Kenyan full marathon runners was also pretty incredible.  The Kenyans did not look at all exhausted and with their long legs and tiny thin bodies, they soared ahead of this group of half marathoners.
Blurry John and Heiko

Heiko and John

Mostly Heiko
 Heiko is our one of our eye doctors at KCMC.  He and his wife have been in Moshi for 6 (I think) years.  They have been very helpful to us. They are positive, pleasant and as an old lady, I love being around their children  their energy and competence.  John was proud to finish one minute behind Heiko who is probably 20 years younger than he.
Bob, 15 minutes ahead
Bob, our dear friend, finished 15 minutes ahead of John all credit goes to fitness, living up high in Machame and having an extra month here to run in the weather.
John coming in to stadium

John pushing
The marathon brings out mostly happy days for most people. The marathoners are comparing time (John 2:29, his slowest time but also least time for prep and muddiest marathon) And others who are just having a good time.
Here are three happy old men!

I can only put a few pictures on this blog because we have a new confidentiality agreement for pictures of our youth group,but here are a few that were taken. by one of our group leaders.
Beginning of the 42 Km marathon just at dawn
Marathon Sign

view of massive marathon stadium
One of our wonderful Study Coordinators Dr. Peter Karoli (life savior)

We had 41 runners with our Community Advisory Board and Youth Group.  I hope I can continue to post throughout the week.

The weather has been  unusual because it rained all week. Though it used to be common, I have not experienced this early in March.  It was almost impossible to see the mountain, but occasionally we would see a piece or two.  I have not yet seen it for the last two weeks.My friend says that she feels a little "unhitched" if she doesn't see it everyday, and I understand what she is saying.  So you will see the best that we had this week.
If you look carefully you will see Kili

Not great but the snow is even heavier now.
Bob brought us a bottle of "delicious" gin.  (this is in response to our terrific grades on gin testing (we all failed to identify any of the gins.)
So happy happy march.  This gin cost the equivalent of $7.99 And by the end of the evening I could have sworn it was Bombay Sapphire.

Our last few days are always hectic and I hate that they are over.  Of course we are excited as our new grandchild is coming and we have a wonderful wedding in store, but how I love my home in Africa and our friends.  My Dadas ( we had lunch but no one got a picture) and my baby Patricia who at 4 months is weighing in at 9KG, and smiling all he time  when she is not screaming.  It is also planting time here so the tractor should be coming any day. 

We went to dinner with our friend Oneko who is in the OB/GYN department.  I thought it would be just an ordinary 10 to 10 dinner but this beautiful (obviously well accepted) cat strolled though.  I had never seen a cat with swirly markings, so I spent some minutes getting her picture.

John just showed me a movie that some medical students made about him in the marathon.  It reminded me of all that has come about since we started this journey in Moshi.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Am I Really Retired

Kilimanjaro behind KCMC Hospital
After the past week, I do not feel retired and I'm ready to go back to being retired!  It was wonderful but incredibly busy and filled with new information, dinners, visits to our wonderful carver, a concert, a graduation for our Moshi Youth CAB members who have reached aged 26 and above and finally the 15th year of hashing in Moshi.  It was exhausting.

The week began with the arrival of Scott who is the nephew of old friends in Durham.  He is doing a project in Iringa (many hours away) but wanted to see Moshi, and to attend the workshop.  It was wonderful to have him and his friendliness and energy made everyone comment about him.
Trish is the short one
The Socio-Behavioral Health Symposium was very interesting.  I do not think that in two days I saw a bad presentation.  So much information is being researched and so many new ideas are coming from young investigators who are linking HIV and mental health, behavior changes, medical adherence, etc.  I was so proud of our Community Advisory Board who attended the conference and had many questions.  They care about their community and about the general health of it and have many ideas about how to change things, and how they might be able to implement some of the research that was presented.

Same picture, two views.  If you are ever asked to take a big group shot for your own sanity's sake, say "no"!  I have done the photography for this symposium for years and I have never gotten everyone in the picture.  You say, "turn to the camera" they turn the other way, you say "short people in front"  and so many believe that they are not short!  You say, "squeeze together" and more and more add themselves to the edges.  Next year the picture venue has to change, and someone else has to be the dictator.  I'll just snap the photo.  Even trying to get everyone to come join in the picture was impossible, but then later, they say, "aren't we going to have another group shot?"  ARGH!
As I said, lots of new information was presented and our Moshi Health CAB were no different.  This time they were talking about the pros and cons of monthly ARV injections.  Just how they would feel as young people if they were to take any shot once a month (and it had to be on time).  They were terrific and the speakers spoke with passion and their interpreters were supportive and wonderful.

Here are pictures of the MEPI Team (Medical Education Partnership Initiative)  who are out for a night of nyama choma (grilled meat) at our favorite restaurant, Mkulima (Farmer Restaurant).  The group was congratulating themselves for living through a week of Charles (that actually is not true).  They love to get together and everyone loves the mbuzi (goat) kuku (chicken) ndizi (grilled banana) and salad there. It was also a relief as they work towards a new grant that helps all of them and the University.
This truck was parked right in front of the restaurant.  I think everyone felt as if they were carrying an abnormal load after eating huge amounts of food at Mkulima.
I am a lucky member of a new Moshi Community Choir, and no, this is not the Moshi choir, it is a choir from Mwika (a small community farther up the mountain) who joins with the Moshi Community Choir.  I forgot to give my husband my camera so only this group is featured.  We are not a big group, but enthusiastic and we have a lot of fun.  Miss Mary, is not a Miss, but she (not featured here) is an incredible musician a tireless smiler, and a really accomplished cellist.  Though it started typically late, it was fun and we had a huge crowd.  Blow me over!
A crown crane in its infant stages.  It will be painted!

A rough piece of ebony.  If you look just in the middle, you will see where he carved just the top wood off and where the black wood lies underneath-very dense wood

A fountain lady and a cheetah (I think)  all built from concrete and metal coils

Rough outline of a woodpecker (just started work on it)
My friends Lisa, Terrie, Carol and I took an afternoon to go to see my favorite carver Lawi Mushi.  I have shown pictures of him in the past and here is one of him and John.
Lawi is in my opinion a creative genius who carves from his soul, much more than from what is ordered.  We have ordered many things from Lawi, and they have been fantastic, but we love to visit his humble surroundings.  He is currently building a little garden by his house, just for his and his family's enjoyment.  The trip began because Lawi called me completely out of the blue just to see if I were still around!  I couldn't believe it, as I think that it has been about 3 or 4 years since we visited.  I was so excited and rounded up the friends to go to his house.  I promise not to wait 3 or 4 years again.  I want to see his garden all finished, and of course I might have to have him carve me a very small ngiri (warthog) just for the occasion.

We also visited the Marangu Hotel, a place that is my peaceful home away from home.
Beers taste much better at Marangu Hotel
As much as it seems that the week should be over, there was still the graduation of the Moshi Health Youth CAB members who had reached the grand old age of 26.  We have about 25 younger and 26 older so we decided that the issues and discussions were becoming more difficult because of the age differences.  And, the younger kids saw that graduation was a really fun thing.  We had some good discussions, and Dr. Peter gave out candy for members telling one thing that they had learned in Youth CAB.  Pictures were shared and certificates given.  And one of the graduating members made delicious bites!  So proud of her for coming up with a little income generating business and saving us the headache of ordering bites from somewhere else.  Wonderful Stella.
My love and respect lie with this project, but Sister Bona and I have been together since I first came to Moshi.  She does a fantastic job in outreach and gives so much additional time for the Community Advisory Boards that she deserves a special place in heaven.  Tragically our picture together makes me look like an escapee from a mental institution, but Bona looks exactly like Bona.
Sister Bona and me!
The other person without whom the project would not work is Ema.  Lots of my friends know Ema and the entire board of Global Connections for Change has met and talked to Ema.  He is tireless in his job with SIMAMA as an NGO that helps mothers find ways to care for their children in more healthy ways and helps them to start businesses that can stabilize the family, and he is tireless with the Moshi Health Youth CAB.  He has been the Youth representative to IMPAACT (an NIAID National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) for a number of years and is eager to bring knowledge back to his our two groups.  Ema will graduate, but be a leader and continue coordinating.  He gives courage to the young members (13+) and communicates on a regular basis with their caregivers to let them know that they are in safe hands with our group.
Ema and Trish with Dr. Peter
But wait! The weekend was not over.  We still had a hash (this is a group who are described as drinkers who have a running problem) on Sunday.  The Kilimanjaro Hash House Harriers was founded by Greg Emmanuel 15 years ago and he has nearly single handedly  kept it going. Hashes as I have explained previously, are where a "hare" finds a location that would be fun to run/walk for about 5 kilometers, and sets a trail with flour.  There are giant X's where the trail ends for a while and you have to locate the start of the flour again.  There can also be false trails which hares love to set and runners/walkers hate to see.  For our group (with young and old, various states of fitness) it can be really grueling.  This last weeks was one for the books. I guess it is appropriate that it was  the 15th year.  (personally I think the lost hasher until midnight, my unfortunate crash with a boy on a bicycle, and a broken femur were pretty significant ones as well)  There were river crossings, Acacia Trees everywhere, and quite a few very lost souls.  (full disclosure-John met me after the Acacia attack and said that I could not do the second water crossing which was a very wise decision on his part).  But it was lots of fun as always to get together and this was the first that I had attempted in two years so I feel that I have made progress even as I age.
beautiful old baobaob tree

Lawyer Ralph greeting John. (Ralph did lock his keys in his car and it was quite a job to jiggle the lock undone. Thanks Bob!)
The 15th year t-shirts are introduced
Greg showing off son's 5th year T-shirt.  (Nikoli would have been 6 then)

These were the last folks to make the first water crossing (and you always realize that if you cross once, you have to cross again--on this hash there were two (or 4 depending on the way you looked at it.)  The river was just past my knees so it was tough.

This was only part of my body with Acacia spikes in it.  Every time you got one out the branch would grab another, but the best were the ones in my rear end that our priest had to get out.  I teased him about taking selfies of this procedure but it was all a joke.  The nice thing is that they heal quickly and I have just one bruised upper arm today.(they hurt like hell when you get them).
Bob and John

Aat and John
When everyone was accounted for, we heaved a sigh of relief for all of the group got lost in one way or another, except Nikoli and two of his friends who ran with one of the young men who had helped to set the trail.
On our way home we saw several of the evil Acacia Trees (sorry for the dirty windshield)  And I just imagined it about 5-6 feet shorter hugging my rear end.
Wonderful Baobaob with out many leaves

some heron or ibis blocking the road home
We arrived safely, and now the week has started again!  Moshi is a place that is unique, and perhaps some people do not like it, but this is not true of the Bartletts!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

First Two Weeks in Moshi, Trip to Shimoni Kenya

The Smugglers Bar, or as they say, Smugglass Bar--No CREDIT in large letters

john Bob and I show the NO CREDIT sign at Smugglers
Our trip to Kenya was a bit incredible.  We started at home of course and after an hour of familiar driving got through immigration with no problems except something about the printer being broken and Bob needing a paper about his car insurance.
This is immigration Taveta.  Very new.
Our next stop was the policeman and his nails.  He wanted to see all our papers but really made little effort to question us.
For some reason I could only think of the Christmas Carol (the babe the son of mary-3rd verse)
We entered Tsavo National park and were in heaven for the next hour.  Excellent road lots of wildlife

Entering the Tsavo West


And cross they did

Elephants of Tsavo

Giraffe so graceful

Hartebeeste and zebra group hanging out together

Lilac Breasted Roller just hanging out on a sign

Ostrich Pair loving life

oops Zebra Crossing

Zebra wondering---who are these white people?
We had actually left Tsavo and were in Taita Hills when we cam upon a group of Kudu
Sadly we had to join the Nairobi to Mombasa Highway after the lovely Taveta Road, and it is all it is cracked up to be, huge lorries bumper to bumper, smell of diesel making you nauseated, diversions because they are always having to work on the road, but some interesting things to see like the brand new Nairobi to Mombasa Railroad.
Bars are one of my favorite things but the road was so bumpy that it was nearly impossible to get a decent shot off even with a fast camera.  But here is one bar which I liked because it was next to a group of camels (the pictures of them were not very good) and as John said "Karibu Brucellosis!" This is a disease that you get from drinking raw camel's milk.  It is a favorite thing for Bedoins to drink and back in the Saudi Days, John was always invited to the desert to drink camel's milk by his patients.
Note the site Cameral Bar

We had been advised to avoid the Mombasa Ferry (which we intended to do anyway) but to take a different road.  They called it the Taru Road.  And as far as I can tell we were lost for hours on different road paths, but we knew we would get out of it somehow! 
What the Hell!

Yea a town

We think we joined another road, the Samburu Road - who knows?
Alls well that ends well.  We arrived at our destination, the Shimoni Reef Lodge which is pictured here from the bay.  It is luxurous compared with anything else in Shimoni and we did have 3 good dinners and lovely views.
View of our lodge from the bay
The first day of fishing was fun at times, boring at others but I am told that this is the nature of deep sea fishing.
Bob's first Marlin tagged

Striped Marlin close

Bob's sailfish

John's Sail Fish

John's sailfish2

John Fishing

John had a big marlin strike and suddenly Bob had a big Sailfish strike.  Saddies, John's marlin was able to shake its hook after 30 long minutes and Bob got his sailfish right in! We stopped at the Smugglers Bar, and you note the pictures.
This is not a very good picture of the three of us who had been waylaid by a guy we thought worked at the bar but was just a guy hanging out at the bar waiting for tourists to come and pay him to guide them through Shimoni town (a town about the size of whatever the smallest town in the US is.)

People coming on board the Pilli Pepa Boat.

Coral Island of Wasini
Look carefully and you will see a man walking along from the small island


Fishermen in Dhau
I had unfortunately not been able to get my little underwater camera to work so my snorkeling experience I can only vouch for was terrific.  I saw so many fish that I wish Jay Garbose had been there to tell me what I was seeing.  The coral was terrible, much worse than two years ago, but the fish were everywhere and it was a joy to watch.  After we snorkled, the dolphin came as if they had figured out it was time for them to come.  The show was amazing.  Here are just a few pictures.

Dophin everywhere.  After we said good bye to them we went to the Pilli Pepa Lodge where we were treated to a delicious seafood meal.  I was lucky to have my waiter take a really nice picture of me, and show off the food.  There was one dish--the seaweed dish that tasted like the crunchy Kale recipe.  It was incredible.  It is remarkable how there is much reliance on Coconut mild as a staple for mixing with nearly everything including rice.
Happy Trish

When we returned to Shimoni, I walked down to the place where the Hemphills live and waited for the boys to come back.  When they did, they brought part of a Dorado for dinner, and reveled in the tales of being in the middle of wild sailfish and marlin for almost 2 hours.  They had strike after strike and at one point Simon (who is the real fisherman) said that he couldn't figure out what was on whose line because one fish would pick it up and another would take the line away.  He made a statement to John--well there's your sail fish and it was a marlin when it came in.  Same thing happened to Bob.  They were so enthusiastic that clearly they are ready for another trip next year.  We shall see.

This may be the first day bob marlin or Sail fish

We had the Dorado for dinner and had a lovely chat up with our manager and waiter.  The end of a perfect weekend.

beautiful sunset

Coming home was exhausting though efficient.  I only took one picture and that was a better picture of the old Baobaob near Himo.  We were stopped by police 3 times in Kenya on the way back and they were not very nice this time.  Wanted to see all Bob's papers, argued with him about them, and argued about me lying in the back seat of the car.  We had righteous indignation about it all and the finally let us go each time.  Those nails again.  Going through immigration was a breeze except that John had gotten sunscreen in his eyes and was in utter misery the whole last half of the trip.  Here is the Baobaob to say Good-bye Shimoni until we meet again.