by baldilocks

I spent two days at my father’s ancestral lands in Manyatta, Awendo–no Internet–on which his permanent house is being built. Judging from the time it takes to get back and forth from Nairobi by car, I had originally though this land was 400-500 miles away from the capital, but I’m used to interstate highways. Slightly less than 300 miles takes longer on two-lane paved roads and the occasional bumpy, dirt road. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Father and his wife live in Rongai, but Manyatta is his birthplace and the place to which he will eventually retire and be buried, like his parents and several other relatives. We went to Manyatta because also on the land is the home of my only brother, Charles, and his wife, Lillian. Surround that parcel of land are other parcels belonging to various members of the Otani-Ochieng clan. The land originally belonged to my father’s father, Nicanor Otani[1], and his brothers.

It’s weird for this American to know that there are ancestral lands for my family. But my life has been a half-century of weirdness.

There are two large gates to the land, one for Father and one for my brother. There is electricity in but it’s spotty; we spent several long time periods having our faces lit by oil lamps and flashlights. There is no central plumbing or gas yet, but there is a well and family cooking is done the old-fashioned way.

Fresh Water
Fresh Water
Cooking without gas
Cooking without gas

I think my bro could teach American preppers a thing or two. He also has chickens and cows, but it seems to me that no self-respecting Kenyan man-of-the-land is without at least four cows. I saw so many herds while on the road that I will be thinking about steaks for a month.

Aside from a night during which my intestinal tract reminded me that, no, Toto, we are not in California anymore, the time was fascinating and heart-warming, if a bit bewildering. The day before I returned to Nairobi, all local family and friends gathered to meet me, honor me, and welcome me home.

More photos from Manyatta here and here.

[1] Among the Luo, it’s not customary to take the last name of one’s father. Each kid gets his/her own last name. The name is determined by the conditions under which the child is born, i.e. morning, noon, night, raining, etc. The last name also varies in the spelling with regard to gender: girls’ last names begin with A, boys’ with O. With Western and Islamic influences, many Kenyans use their fathers’ last names, but some still don’t. However, even those who use the European system of naming still have a “middle” name; more accurately, a surname and a patronymic.

My brother. This was the first time we had met in person. Ever.

Since I was born in the US, I was given my father’s last name, but I have my own surname: Akinyi. It’s permissible to call me by this name alone, but in my family, it can get confusing. One of my sisters has the same surname.

And Luo have taken their own spin on the name game. My brother’s name is Charles Otieno Ochieng and his oldest son is named after his grandfather: Philip Ochieng Otieno, Jr. Of course, everyone calls him Junior. Between the surname and the patronymic is the unspoken “son of/daughter of.”


I leave for home tomorrow. Final trip log(s) will be here or at baldilocks on Tuesday at the latest, assuming I’m awake by then.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: Her Kenya Trip Expenses, Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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While Baldilocks is in Kenya I’ve had a busy day. After mass moved furniture for DaSon #1 moving out Covered the Governor making an appearance in a local race (That will go up tomorrow) and did some legwork for a local pro-life republican, didn’t get a chance to get our email blast out till 6:30 which likely explains why for the first time in a while we’ve seen a day when our DaTipjar and our $61 a day goal hasn’t moved a bit. We’re already behind 20 days for our annual goal and with the layoff I’d hate to see it our backlog expand so if you are both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us close that gap by hitting DaTipJar.

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Summary: Can the Doctor Save a Viking Village from Alien Invaders without the cost of his soul?

Plot: The Doctor & Clara are captured by Vikings and while Trying to pass himself off as Oden to escape is interruped by aliens who do a better Oden imitation than him.  Clara & a viking lass named Ashildr (who the Doctor remembers in reverse)  declares war on the invaders after they slay the best Viking warriors, meaning the Doctor & Clara have 24 hours to figure out how to stop one of the deadliest warrior races in the galaxy with a bunch of farmers / fishermen and no TARDIS.


Writing:  This episode has all the aspects of the best of the doctor who stories.  Mathieson & Moffat weave an excellent tale with drama comedy pathos and for good measure throw in the Doctor remembering where he got his face.  It’s a memorable scene but not as memorable as the character they are creating,   but that’s for a later review.

Acting: A lot of fuss is made about Maisie Williams in this episode but I think the supporting cast of Vikings do even better here.  This episode allows both Capaldi & Coleman range to play.  It’s said that Brian Blessed was supposed to play Oden in this episode but could no do to illness.  I confess that knowing that made the episode a little less fun because I keep thinking how much better he would have made it.

Memorable Moments: When it comes to memorable moments It’s Loaded!  Not dying, Yo Yo, You will beg for mercy, don’t believe that false Oden, Benny Hill, The Doctor remembers, To hell with you , the fire.

Doctor Who Flashbacks: Reversing the polarity, literal flashbacks to the fires of Pompeii and Deep Breath.

Oddities: Given the time travel of the Doctor it’s less likely he is remembering in reverse than that he’s actually seen her somewhere but didn’t place her till now.

Pet Peeves: Granted that the doctor adjusted the medical kit but that doesn’t mean a piece of machinery isn’t going to wear out, after all bits of the TARDIS are constantly doing that.

Great Quote(s)


Nollarr: You’re coming with us.
The Doctor: No, I’m not. Do you want to know why? On my face, right now, more advanced technology than your species will manage over the next nine million years. (The Viking breaks the sunglasses) Clara?
Clara: Yeah?
The Doctor: We’re going with the Vikings.

The Doctor: [As the village burns] Well, that could have gone better. Morning.
Heidi ; [waking up] What happened?
The Doctor: The Big Bang, dinosaurs, bipeds, and a mounting sense of futility.
Clara: More recently, Chuckles hit Lofty over the head, on his helmet, with his sword, which knocked him out. There was a little blood, which you saw [Heidi faints] and did that. Only, the first time you did it, you knocked a torch onto some hay, which spooked a horse, who kicked open a gate, and er, I’m sure you can fill in the rest.

The Doctor: I can do anything. There’s nothing I can’t do. Nothing. But I’m not supposed to. Ripples, tidal waves, rules. I’m not supposed to. Oh. Oh!
Clara: What? What’s wrong?
The Doctor:: My face.
The Doctor:[Flashback Deep Breath]: Who frowned me this face? Why this one? Why did I choose this face?
Clara: Doctor, what’s wrong with your face?
The Doctor: I think I know why I chose it.
The Doctor: [Flashback Deep Breath]: It’s like I’m trying to tell myself something.
The Doctor: I think I know what I’m trying to say.
Donna Noble: [Flashback The Fires of Pompeii] Just someone. Not the whole town. Just save someone.
10th Doctor:: [Flashback The Fires of Pompeii] Come with me. [reaches out to Lobus Caecilus who bears a striking resemblance to actor Peter Capaldi]
The Doctor: I know where I got this face, and I know what it’s for.
Clara: Okay, what’s it for?
The Doctor: To remind me. To hold me to the mark. I’m the Doctor, and I save people. And if anyone happens to be listening, and you’ve got any kind of a problem with that, to hell with you!


The Doctor: Immortality isn’t living forever. That’s not what it feels like. Immortality is everybody else dying.


Final Verdict: 5 stars. Don’t miss this one.

Ranking of Season: 1st of 5. This one was tough but I really don’t care much or the Daleks so I rate it above the Witches Familiar but it could have gone either way.

1. The Girl who Died
2. The Witch’s Familiar
3. The Magician’s Apprentice
4. Before the Flood
5. Under the Lake

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: 3rd

1. Last Christmas
2. The Caretaker
3. The Girl who Died
4. The Witch’s Familiar
5. Mummy on the Orient Express
6. Into the Dalek
7. Dark Water
8. Listen
9. Flatline
10. Robots of Sherwood

One other point concerning Thursday’s debate.

It’s fair to say there were several solid blows landed on Donald Trump.  Ted landed a few  but Marco Rubio clamped onto Donald Leg and like a hungry Dog simply didn’t let go.  He did this at a Debate that got record ratings and followed up the next day making fun of Trump because the one thing the Donald can’t abide is ridicule.

So if you are Donald Trump and the media is now talking about Rubio’s insults and laughing about it, how do you change the subject?

Like this:

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey endorsed Donald J. Trump on Friday, a major turn in a wild race and one that gives the New York businessman a significant boost as he heads into the pivotal “Super Tuesday” contests.

Mr. Christie was a candidate for president himself until he came in sixth place in New Hampshire’s primary. Seeing his political career facing an abrupt conclusion after his failed presidential campaign, he expressed his anger Friday at Senator Marco Rubio, whom he was said to be upset with, blaming the “super PAC” backing the Florida senator for halting his momentum in New Hampshire with a string of slash-and-burn ads.

Suddenly every cable TV network was carrying Chris Christie endorsing Trump

and returning to repeat the one thing he had success at: beating up on Marco Rubio.

Now while Allahpundit saw this coming weeks ago and notes this is the path to something more AG perhaps?

But if you want to understand why this was done at this time, Ann Althouse nails it

That vastly overshadows Marco Rubio’s bad comedy routine this morning

and I suspect Christie’s ability to swing at the media as a Trump surrogate will be even more valuable in a general election, presuming Trump closes the deal

But no matter how you slice it, Trump knows how to play the media like a fiddle. Now if that’s still the case when they are playing video of him contradicting himself a few weeks apart on a daily basis (and I guarantee you that will happen if he’s the nominee) that’s a different story.


Busy Day My son is moving and the Governor is in town so I’ll be out a bit but our $61 daily goal remains. We hope to make it and lessen and $1274 behind our annual goal (Just under 21 days) till we get it fully up to date for the year to keep the mortgage and the writers paid.

To those who have kicked in (particularly new subscribers of which we need 114.5 @ $10 a month more to guarantee our goal daily), thanks ever so much.

If however you have not & are both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us close that gap by hitting DaTipJar.

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Please consider Subscribing. 114.5 more subscribers at $10 a month will get the job done for the year and will get you my weekly podcast emailed directly to you before it goes up anywhere else.

Choose a Subscription level

Either way thanks for reading and don’t be shy about letting us know what you think. One can’t improve without critique.