The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love...Kenya

The contents of this website are my own PERSONAL opinion. They do not reflect the opinions, policies, actions, feelings, or eating habits of the Peace Corps, the U.S. Government, any government, shadow governments, or anyone else, for that matter, but ME.

Monday, January 22, 2007

This and That

I don't know what I had even thought about writing here. I have been very busy on the usual stuff and can't think of too much new to write, not at the moment at least. I am ultra excited about my brother coming to visit in a few weeks. It has been so long since I have seen him (well before I left for Peace Corps) and it will be the first time he gets to hand with his big sis all by himself.

My women's group has been kickin' butt with their bead work and I am in the process of creating an internet persona for them. They now have a blog of their own ( It is pretty sparse for the moment, but I hope to get more pictures up soon, profiles of some of the women and general group demographics. They sold 4000/- ($56) worth of product last week, that means they are close to buying a sewing machine as a group (they want to make school uniforms to sell). I have included a picture below (hopefully, if this thing works right) to get you an idea of what's going on.

Ok, the following story is quite, um, harsh is the ONLY word for it. I am about to describe a traditional practice that would have PETA righteously flying 8000 miles to my house if they only knew. So, I might suggest that some would wish to skip past this to the end of the post.

So, last week, on a fine morning at 7:30am I was startled from my routine by a group of people out my back window tying up a bull. I really didn't pay them much mind except they were kinda loud and drowning out my radio. When I peeked back a few minutes later, the bull was hog-tied and on its side with a pole shoved between its legs for the length of its body. Well, you don't have to tell this girl twice to grab her camera and see what's going down.

Here is where it gets intense. In Kenya lots of men carry a runga, a stick carved with a big knob at the top. It has many uses, but I had no idea about this one. See, the family had brought in a traditional castration guy, with a mighty big runga. Well, there was to be no cutting this day my friends. Nope, this skilled tradesman placed the bull's testicles over the pole and began whacking on them (think "whacking day" on the episode of the Simpson’s). He did it over and over again; the bull uttered not even a sigh! I was beyond shocked at this point, I couldn't believe this was really happening, and within two feet of my house! Just when I thought the dude was done, he flips the bull over and goes about it all again! Now, I kinda (but not really) understand why they use testicular trauma to castrate a bull and not snipping them off. There really aren't any vets around, the bull was several years old and there would be no actual wound care available. But, when that bull was untied and it got up and walked away I thought that there is NO WAY I just witnessed what I had, let alone snapped some disturbing pictures. Kenya never fails to surprise me. I wonder if what Jeff would think of this method of animal care.

So, there we go, nearly two years in and still nothing is really routine. I hope everyone is well, and I will be uploading more pictures (on various subjects) in the next few days, so go check them out.


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