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.

CharlesO
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.”

OH. ONE MORE THING:

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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baldilocks

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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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Answer: All three of us think Zack Greinke should win the Cy Young in the AL if there is any justice in the Baseball world.

His ERA is 2.08 for a last place team. He has won 16 games for a team with 63 wins. That’s greater than 25% of the teams wins, or lets put it another way. His winning percentage is .652. He improves the winning percentage of his team by .235.

If that doesn’t remind you of Steve Carlton circa 1972. (27 wins for a team that won 59. ERA below 2). If this was an era of 4 man rotations he would have 7 more start and likely 20 wins.

The greatest stat?

Greinke has allowed just one earned run over his past 35 innings pitched (0.26 ERA), and he’s posted a 1.23 ERA in 13 starts against teams with winning records.

That has Cy Young all over it.

Carlton’s 72 season preceded the Phillies first resurgence, will that be the case for the Royals?