Archive - October, 2008

Blog: Header Fix, Twitter, and Comments 101

 

    1. I have fixed the header (the pics row of pics at the top which says Robert’s Kenya experience) to where if you click on it you will be brought back to the homepage.  So, if you click on a post and want to return to the homepage just click anywhere on the header.
    2. I’m added a Twitter sidebar on the far right a little ways down.  Twitter is a way to keep people up to date with what you’re doing.  “Going to bed…” and so on.
    3. Comments 101: Someone asked me to teach them how to comment, so here we go.
      1. To comment on a particular post, click the “comment” button at the bottom right of that post. If comments have already been made it will say “# comments,” click on that. The example below shows the button and says “2 comments.”
    1. A window should pop up as such.
    2. Type a loving comment in the white box below where it says “Leave your comment.”
    3. Scroll down and click “Publish Your Comment.”
    4. If asked to enter a security word, enter it in the line provided and click “Publish Your Comment.”
    5. Your comment will publish after a few minutes.

In closing, Macs are the most amazing machines in the world.
RTQ

Week 8-2: A Maasai Kinda Weekend

Hello friends,

I have added some new people to my e-mail list, so welcome to my blog about my experiences in Kenya as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) with the PC(USA).

This past weekend the Foxfires and I journeyed to Maasai land with Project Esther of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The Maasai tribe is one of the most popular tribes in Africa today because they rejected Westernization when Africa was colonized and still today avoid much of the Western influence.  Therefore, they have really cool clothes, bling, and houses.

Project Esther provides feminine products to girls so that they don’t have to miss school for days every month.  They actually just bring a few products for each girl, teach them how they work, and hope that with the knowledge that such a thing exist they will purchase more.  They also do counseling with the girls and give them an open form to discuss issues they would normally not be allowed to discuss because of the Maasai/African tradition.  Now it’s story time:

(Begin writing in 3rd person)
So, in order for Robert to fit in a bus, with his amazingly long legs, he likes to sit in the very back middle seat so his legs can stretch out into the walkway.  In this instance, it was a very bad idea, why you ask?  First, the road to where he was going had A LOT of holes (construction work) and therefore, his head hit the ceiling on occasion.  Note: The bus was tall enough for Robert to almost stand up straight in, that’s a long way up.  Second, the back seat is also logically where you put all of the things you are bringing with you on a trip, in this case hundreds of feminine products.  Thus, Robert’s ride to Maasai land consisted of him flying through the air A LOT immediately followed by feminine products raining down on his head like manna from heaven.  On the ride home, he decided to sit in the front of the bus sideways so his ride home went much more smoothly.
(Cease writing in 3rd person)

From Maasai

When we journey away from the city, as I have said before, the mzungu (white person) population drops substantially/completely.  Also, in Maasai land most people don’t have power and thus television, so they are not use to my US accent like everyone in Nairobi who watch Everwood, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, and a lot of other US programs.  Thus, they don’t understand me although we both speak English.  Story time round two:

Cosmos and I had finished our counseling session and were sitting watching a soccer game.  All of the sudden, Cosmos decides that he is sleepy and goes to take a nap and I am left sitting by my-Mzungu-self.  Ten minutes or so pass and I begin to hear whispers and footsteps behind me…five more minutes and I hear more and more.  I finally turn around and their is a substantial crowd of girls (60-70) staring at the back of my neck.  I decide to get up and go inside and work on my Swahili flash cards that I had brought with me.  They followed me peering throught the window at first, but eventually they had me surrounded and were helping me with my Swahili, rubbing the hair on my arms and head to make sure it was attached, and rubbing my skin to make sure it wasn’t just paint.  I took a very short video of them rubbing my hair.

Very Short Video of kids feeling my “soft hair” in Maasai Land:

After the group got back together from all of the different schools to which we dispersed, we sat in lawn chairs and watched the sunset. I felt like I was back in Oklahoma or Texas sitting in the backyard at a BBQ. It was very nice, perfect almost, but lacked BBQ.

Video of Maasai women getting food:

From Maasai
From Maasai


From Maasai
We went to one more all girls boarding school at night which was amazing to be with that many people singing Jesus’ songs in minimal light.  We returned to where we were staying the night and sat around eating rice and spinach.  It was one of those magical nights where everyone is laughing so hard that they are crying.  I told my story of preaching my first Sunday and asking to use the bathroom instead of the toilet.  I told them how I laughed for 10 minutes the first time I heard the pronounce Eden because they say ed-ann.  Then I was given a Kikuyu name by the group which is Muraya (pronounced Mariah) meaning “the tall one.”  So, now I have a Kikuyu name which I called constantly.  We pitched tents inside a church, which I thought was weird, for privacy for the women and men (Cosmos, Jack, and me).

From Maasai

Sunday, my friend I made on the trip, Paita (pronounced like Peter) gave me a Maasai watch band which is my new bling.

We returned home tired after a good weekend. I will be writing more about my second visit to Maasai land this week in the next few days. If you would like to subscribe to receive an e-mail every time I update my blog then please enter your e-mail address on the right above the word “Subscribe.”  Thanks. Have a great day, friends!
RTQ

Week 8: Grandma Huninghake

My grandmother died a year ago today so I wanted to share some thoughts and memories.

Some Memories:

    • I remember waking up in her house with the smell of breakfast and listening to her and my mom catch up and laugh together. This happened every time we went to visit her.
    • When I was in the 7th grade and 6 foot 2 (I had grown a mind-boggling amount the previous summer) I was slumping around her house and she looked at me and said, “don’t ever be ashamed of your height!” and I straightened up and have been proud to be taller than average since. I don’t think she ever knew what those few words meant coming from her.
    • We would always drive by a sign that said 30 some odd miles to Nebraska and I finally got up the nerve to tell her I had never been to Nebraska and wanted to go. So, instead of turning towards town, she just kept on driving until we hit Nebraska then we turned around and drove back.
    • In the early years of high school, my cousin Bryce and I got into building model rockets and shooting them off. She loved when we shot the rockets off.   She was our count down person and she would literally jump as she said, “3, 2, 1” and when the rocket flew into the sky she would cheer and laugh.
From Week 8.1
    • When I stayed in Kansas for a week or two at any of the 8 homes at my disposal, I would always be woken up by her bringing in a fresh gallon of Robert’s Milk (the brand in Kansas is “Robert’s Milk) and a box of whatever my favorite cereal was at that time.
    • When in Kansas, she felt it her obligation to make sure I saw everyone.  That’s a lot of seeing in our family.
From Week 8.1
  • As I got older and was in college and seminary we would sit around her kitchen table after supper and talk about anything and everything. The conversation would usually turn to God and our thoughts about God/church. She was the most religious person I have ever known…and the most Catholic person I have ever known, which makes me very happy.

I have my grandmother’s hands, as does my mother and brother. All of our pointer fingers and middle fingers twist away from our thumb.  It’s a nice permanent reminder of how we are all connected.

From Week 8.1

As my relationship with my mother has become more of a phone relationship I can hear Grandma’s voice in her voice. She also has been saying the most insightful phrases when I tell her a problem, just like Grandma. “You can never get stuck in the truth” and “there will always be somebody better than you and somebody not as good as you are.”  I can see my Grandmother living on through my mother and the rest of the Huninghake family and that gives me great peace.

I was with her when she died last year at 1:14 AM October 29th. I was honored to be there with her and two of my uncles. The most surreal part of it was then calling the person who had given birth to me to tell her that the person who had given birth to her had died.

I returned with my family to the hotel around 4:30 AM to rest a bit then we had to leave early to make the hour drive to Frankfort where the rest of the family was waiting for us. I remember as we walked out to the car that morning watching the sunrise slowly in the north Kansas sky and being reminded of Easter Sunday morning. That was the most profound and comforting sunrise I have ever seen.

From Week 8.1

Week 7: McCain/Obama Debates & Playing Guitar by Cell Phone Light

First off, I have redone the site.  I put a post after this one about the changes if you would like to read on.

I received my absentee ballot which is an empowering feeling to receive a ballot half way around the world.  It has been a very interesting political season for me because I really enjoy watching the Presidential Debates and the VP debate; however, Kenya is 8 hours ahead so in order to do so one must get up at 4 AM to watch them.  So, we did…  By “we” I am referring to the 8 other YAVs, the coordinator and her husband, and our spare, Blair, a YAV who is still here from last year.  The first debate was easy to watch because I was living in Westlands and had access to a TV with CNN.  The second debate and the VP debate proved to be more tricky however lacking CNN… but I had internet in an office that was locked up like Fort Knox at 4 AM.  So, I asked the key holder if I could borrow the keys because I wanted to wake at 4 in the morning so I could watch the Presidential debate.  I think in the States a Kenyan saying this would have received an unusual look or no, but a States person asking a Kenyan was greeted with a smile and an offer to leave some tea out for me.  So, I got up and unlocked all of the locks on the doors and set everything up for CNN.com and was ready to go.  The debate started and the same line kept repeating over and over because the internet was too slow.  So, I did the next logical thing.  I called my family on Skype, asked my dad to turn his web cam on and put his laptop in front of the TV so I could watch the TV at home.  It worked!  It was like I was sitting right there on the coach in our living room in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma!  The VP debate did not fair so well because apparently with 20 minutes or so left the Kenyan internet provider realized they hadn’t been paid yet and cut our internet off.  I decided for the last debate I would play it safe and go to Westlands where there is CNN and bread and tea from Phyllis our site coordinate at 4 in the morning.  Needless to say, when you wake up at 4 in the morning to watch all 4 debates you feel much more patriotic than when you just flip to the channel on accident at 8 PM back in the states.

I have come to AEE at a good time, but an unusual time as well.  In Kenya, the school year ends in November/December, so everyone moves up a grade at the beginning of the year literally.  The year coming to an end means that the 5 Foxfires I live with currently will be graduating and leaving at the end of Novemeber.  Furthermore, the schools which I have been going to everyday will end soon for the year as well.

The 2008 Foxfires:

From 10-22-08

Although this will be awkward in the short term, I believe it is the best possible way it could work out in the long run.  I will have been exposed to the program and understand how it is supposed to look towards the end of the year and will be able to help get the next group of Foxfires off to a good start and spend most of the year with them.  So, I am kind of in training right now and learning the ropes and then next year I’ll be ready to go.

It has been raining a lot this past week (example below: me trying to sleep at 1 in the morning):

Rain means that the power is going out a lot more than usual as well.  The power will usually go out for a short while every other day or so, but when it rains and its dark (so people are using power to light their homes) we just wait for it.  The power is out right now actually, I had forgotten because Macs are amazing and never die.

There are quite a few things I enjoy about the power going out:

  1. It usually happens when I am deciding whether I should go to bed at the right time or stay up too late and read or what have you.  The power goes out, decision made.
  2. I get to use my amazing phone.  When our supervisor bought us phones she walked up to the person at the phone store and said “what’s the cheapest phone you have” and the answer was “the Nokia 1200.”  I love the Nokia 1200 with a passion.  No flare or bling, just straight up functionality and the best feature…it has a flashlight.  So, the power goes out and everyone has their fancy phones, but whose phone do they turn to?  Mine, the Nokia 1200.
  3. When it’s not sleep time and the power goes out then I play guitar in the cell phone light which is becoming one of my new favorite past/present/future times.  Usually when the power comes back on I’m a little frustrated.  In Zambia, the power would go out right after the sun had gone down and it was always so pleasant for us because we had all usually just sat down to dinner and so we would have a candle lit dinner every other night.  I understand that this is a major infrastructure issue that needs to be addressed, but I believe there is something to be said about having everything that distracts you from people taken away and just focusing on each other instead of on each thing.

I hope everyone is well.  Have a great day!
Sincerely,
RTQ

rtqblog 2.0

So, Monday was Kenyatta day (Kenyatta was the first President of Kenya in 1963) which is a Holiday so everyone had the day off.  My computer nerdiness had not had a good outlet in quite some time, so you are now perusing the result, rtqblog 2point0h.
Your reaction should look like this:

What’s changed?  Well, not much in terms of the literal blog (other than it’s wider), but changed the template, added a multi-picture header, and I’ve added a lot widgets to the right side with which to play.  A Fundraising Update with the YAV icon below which you can click on to watch the fundraising update video I made.  A Google Search Bar which you can use just like google.com to google anything and if you do it helps me out.  Some Google Ads which help me as well.  Click here to read about the Google Adsense program.  Feedburner/Subscribe Via E-mail is a place to enter your e-mail address to receive updates every time I add a blog post, I believe I am going to start posting more than once a week, but still only send out the e-mail reminders once a week, so if you want to be up to date please enter your e-mail address.  There is also a FeedBurner counter on the bottom which tells you how many people are subscribed to my blog via Feedburner.  Live Traffic is a service that tells everyone who has visited the site and displays a flag of the country in which they are.  Ads by Amazon also helps me out.  I have added Quotes, www…, I’m Currently Reading, and some other bo-jazz.  Please peruse and let me know if you have any questions or anything doesn’t work via e-mail by clicking here.  Thanks.
RTQ

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