Day 6 + 7: Kwa Heri Kenya

March 21, 2009

Upon leaving the safari, we continued our journey back to Nairobi. The Great Rift slowly crept up on us and all of a sudden we were at the top looking out over miles and miles of valley.

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You could see this distance better in real life!

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There were some tourist shops at the top where I got a few funky animal print necklaces!

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From this nice man (who just happened to blink at the wrong time!)

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We’ve seen quite a few Obama signs, including a huge mural that looked nothing like him and this funny sign Michiel snapped of “Obama’s Joint Bar and Lodging.” We think the real message is that you can drink and lodge in the same location – not anything to do with smoking!

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We were covered in dust and sweat upon returning to the hotel and I was so thankful for a shower. I went down for a goodbye dinner to the crew and had one last Tusker. 

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We got the buffet for dinner and the following bites, including a papadum (tortilla-corn chip hybrid), avocado, rolls, smoked salmon, cheeses, grilled veggies.

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I had more Indian inspired food from the buffet. I am loving the curried veggies (at the 2:00) and want to try to replicate them at home. The turkey (7:00) was also really good with a raisin chutney.

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A few desserts: Pecan Tart and a chocolately mousse thing with a white chocolate rose (that’s a salad plate – not the huge dinner plate above).

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Bear Chat

I was finally able to successfully chat with my family back home!!! We had lots of fun playing with the video – bears too. I was able to show Matt all of the souvenirs I bought as well, including a little rhino that liked popping up in front of the camera.

 Bear Chat IIBear CHat

I slept like a rock last night thanks to Advil PM, which I haven’t taken before this trip, but it really helped me sleep the two times I took it this trip. I was so groggy this morning though – maybe because I haven’t gotten 8 hours all week?!

I met Kelly for breakfast. We’re the only ones left!

This was a delicious bowl of plain yogurt, dried fruit, a few nuts and seeds, some pears + mango and granola + All Bran.

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Plus papaya, pineapple and a small piece of dark bread with PB+J.

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And of course mango juice. I’ve got to live it up while I’m here! It’s really more like a mango smoothie it’s so thick. I am definitely going to try to make one at home, although I am sure it won’t be nearly as divine. 

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Coffee -

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After breakfast I went to a 90 minute hatha yoga class that was free for hotel guests. The spa here is also used by members of the community, and I think most of the attendees were local. There were about 10 women and we were led by a male instructor. I could barely understand his English, his accent was so thick, but the class was very interesting and fun!

First we started with 20 minutes of breathing exercises, including:

  • Lamaz style puffing (for about 5 whole minutes without stopping; hand on stomach, suck in abs on each breath)
  • Nostril breathing (Close one nostril with finger, breathe in one, hold breath, out other = weird)
  • Some breath-heavy chanting (20 minutes was a little too long for me, but most of the women were deep in concentration!)

Then we started a flow:

  • Tadasana, forward bend, low lunge, plank, chataranga, updog, downdog, low lunge, forward bend, hands to heart center

We must have done that same flow over and over for about 20 more minutes. And every time we inhaled or exhaled he would say “exhhalllllllllle” in this strong voice. It helped me breathe more though.

Then we moved on to some other poses:

  • Shoulder stand
  • Plow (I think it’s called?)
  • Fish
  • Bridge
  • Sit ups with straight legs
  • Legs at 90* and move them up and down
  • A funny spinal twist with legs straight but to the side
  • Pigeon
  • Savasana (I almost fell asleep!)

It was very cool to be doing yoga in such a different style and environment.

After yoga I had some complimentary carrot + mango juice

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And then went for a swim before lunch! Just about 20 minutes because of the mean sun.

For lunch I decided to order off the menu so I could have authentic Kenyan food one last time.

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I ordered the Mukimo, a dish made from maize, beans, corn, spinach and potato, served with a chicken stir-fry in cilantro, tomatoes, and onions (!!) and a side of sukamo wiki – that ubiquitous green! This was the best meal I had all week!! I ate it all (sans the onions!) and it was all really delicious. I definitely want to try to make the Mukimo too. It’s got a lot more flavor than ugali :)

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Kelly let me try her mutton stir-fry and naan. It had hints of tamarind (which I thought tasted like clove) and was excellent.

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[Add 2 small rolls to this meal]

We’ve got just a little bit before we have to head to the airport, and tonight I”m off to Amsterdam!

Reflections

Thank you for the insightful and intelligent thoughts in the comments yesterday! This trip has been eye-opening, informative and meaningful.

Lipton could just write press releases and advertise in magazines about their efforts towards responsible operations, but instead, the company put itself out for examination by inviting 18 outsiders to come see the estate, its workers and its operations and report back to the world what they see with their own eyes. If Lipton’s leaders weren’t proud of their actions toward corporate social responsibility, I don’t think they would encourage critical journalists to tour their schools and hospitals, to walk through their factories and most importantly, to engage in one-on-one conversations with their workers. To me, talking to the people was the most significant part of the trip. Keeping in mind cultural relativity, the (priceless?) free housing, health and educational benefits, and the contrast of the areas outside of the plantation, I truly feel that Lipton is ambitiously attempting to treat its 20,000 workers, their 80,000 dependents and Mother Earth with the utmost respect. Does that mean they are doing everything right? No. But it’s a giant leap in the direction that more companies should be headed. I don’t think the purpose of my trip was to come home and say Lipton is either “good” or “bad” but to see, experience and participate in some of the actions they are taking to improve the future of their company, the earth and the future of tea. Aren’t we all always striving for improvement?

You’ll be happy to know that some of the more experienced environmental journalists did ask some critical questions throughout the week, and I hope to be able to share their work with you when it is published.

It is true that you can’t see everything in just a few days. That’s why the Rainforest Alliance is important. The certification is objective and thorough and examines all parts of operations through a third party evaluation (see their page on Sustainable Agriculture for more of the criteria). And the work doesn’t stop there: part of the certification includes a plan for continued improvement.

My biggest takeaway from the trip is this: sustainability is not a one way path. Lipton cannot grow tea in a sustainable fashion without the rains from the Mau Forest. And if the company were to use up the earth’s limited resources to operate, in time, there would be no Mau Forest, no company, no tea, and no jobs. The rain makes the tea grow, the eucalyptus shoot up, and the hydroelectric power flow. Seeing this part of the earth has made me even more interested in environmentalism and more aware of our place in the ecosystem as one of many different species. Fortunately, we humans have evolved to have the ability to think critically and figure out ways to protect our planet.

My favorite quote from the week:

We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children. – Antoine de Saint-Exupert

Thank you all for reading!

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) March 21, 2009 at 12:48 am

What a great post!

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2 Moran March 21, 2009 at 1:17 am

I loved your reflection Kath! And as always, the picture say so much about your trip! Thanks for sharing!

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3 michele March 21, 2009 at 1:19 am

Hey Kath- they did show you how to eat ugali, right? You use it to scoop up the meat & veg items. That’s why it’s kinda tasteless itself, b/c it’s used as a conduit and must go with any flavor accompanying dish. So did you try it?! Eating with fingers is so fun:)

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4 Sarah (lovINmytummy) March 21, 2009 at 1:33 am

Incredible!

I have so enjoyed your posts all week. You should be proud, not only of how intelligent and thorough your posts have been, but also for all of the bravery you’ve shown in trying the local foods, customs, etc. You know how to travel, girl!

Have a safe journey home. I’ll know you made it when I see the oats.

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5 Alice in DC March 21, 2009 at 1:50 am

Awesome, thank you for your reflections. I bet you and Matt would make an awesome Peace Corps volunteer couple :)

Safe travels home.

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6 Juli (Peanut Butter and Juli) March 21, 2009 at 2:36 am

Great post. Your reflections were so valuable. That Obama sign is hilarious :) And that breakfast, yes please!

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7 Michiel March 21, 2009 at 2:45 am

great post Kath. And thanks for the reflections.

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8 Beadie @ What I Ate Yesterday March 21, 2009 at 6:05 am

Thanks for taking the time to write these posts, kath. We have been able to go on this journey with and it has been memorable.

Safe travels!

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9 Lisa D March 21, 2009 at 6:08 am

haha I loved the side note on the Obama sign. All the people do look so friendly and you have only made me want to go to Africa even more! That green dish looked great I hope you can recreate it once you are home. Save travels!!

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10 VeggieGirl March 21, 2009 at 6:40 am

Your photos and ESPECIALLY your reflections are beyond compelling and spectacular.

The bear chat?? TOO CUTE!! :-D

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11 Meg March 21, 2009 at 6:41 am

Thank you so much for taking the time during your trip to update us…it has been interesting and enjoyable. Love that quote.

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12 haya (living and learning) March 21, 2009 at 6:53 am

that is a beautiful quote. it’s amazing that now we are pushing sustainability but Saint Exupéry was onto it early last century.

what an amazing trip. one of my friends just returned from a 3 week visit to several african countries and after seeing your experience, i have definitely pushed it up on my list of awesome places to go, which wasn’t what i expected.

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13 Jessica March 21, 2009 at 6:53 am

I love hatha yoga, that’s what I was trained in and I think therefore always my first love in yoga. It’s just as much about mental relaxation as it is the strength, stretching, and balance.

I’m looking forward to your creations of Mukimo and mnago smoothies so that I can try them too. I’m trying an authentic African restaurant in Durham this week, The Palace International – http://www.thepalaceinternational.com/

Have a safe journey back home!

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14 hk March 21, 2009 at 7:31 am

so amazing! I’ve loved reading your posts this week, its really cool to enjoy KERF via Africa! I’m glad it’s been a great trip, the initiative seems very cool!

thanks for all of your hard work documenting it for us back here :) and safe travels!!

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15 Liz March 21, 2009 at 7:36 am

Hi Kath,

I saw that you ate a lot of Indian food on your trip. Here is some info for you though: Chapati is not naan. They are cooked in two different ways. Chapati is cooked on the stove and naan is cooked in a tandoori oven. Also papadam is more like a fried wafer that can be crumbled up into your rice dish. Glad you enjoyed the Indian food (even though it’s full of onions:) and I’m really happy you had a wonderful trip.

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16 Nicole March 21, 2009 at 7:44 am

Kath, your trip looks amazing! I am so glad I got to read all about it on here. I have definitely learned a lot through your posts. Thank you!

I do think it is really cool how Lipton has the guests plant trees there.

Have a safe trip!

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17 WEEKLY BITE March 21, 2009 at 8:00 am

Great wrap up post! Hope you have a safe trip home!

-Weekly Bite

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18 Sarah (Tales of Expansion) March 21, 2009 at 8:02 am

this has been an amazing series of posts, and again, i so appreciate all your photos, descriptions, and reflections.

have a safe trip back,kath!

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19 JENNA March 21, 2009 at 8:05 am

This was such a touching post Kath. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us!

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20 Heather March 21, 2009 at 8:40 am

That is so amazing Kath! Thank you so much for sharing this trip with us! I honestly felt like I was there myself. And such great information – UNBELIEVABLE! :D

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21 adrianna March 21, 2009 at 8:41 am

what an amazing trip! you are so lucky, and i’m so glad you showed such admiration and appreciation throughout your posts–which were top notch this week! and you definitely took full advantage of ‘being in the moment’. really enjoyed reading, and am so glad you had the best time ever. thanks for such enlightenment :)

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22 Lori March 21, 2009 at 8:48 am

Thanks so much for documenting your trip and sharing your reflections outside of the food aspect.

It’s so important see see things from all sides of the globe.

Have a safe trip back!

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23 Lisa March 21, 2009 at 9:04 am

Great, well-written reflection. Are you sure you don’t want to be a nutritional anthropologist?

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24 K March 21, 2009 at 9:12 am

That last quote is so true! Thank you so much for documenting ALL of this – I really appreciate it.

Have a safe trip home :)

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25 Marisa (trim the fat) March 21, 2009 at 9:25 am

Wonderful job, Kath! I fully enjoyed reading about your trip and I am so happy for you to have had such an amazing opportunity to see this!

Safe travels!

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26 Alicia March 21, 2009 at 9:37 am

Hi Kath! I love your blog and have enjoyed reading about your trip. As for that mango juice- have you ever tried the Naked brand of mango smoothie- its called Mighty Mango? It looks identical to what you had there and is really good. They have it in most grocery stores in the U.S. You should look for it! http://www.nakedjuice.com

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27 Shannon (The Daily Balance) March 21, 2009 at 10:13 am

I have loved reading about your trip — thanks for ‘bringing’ us along ;)

Great reflection, thanks for sharing.

I’ve been a lurker on your blog for more than a year! Your blogs was one of the first I started reading and has been a huge inspiration for me in starting my own! When you get a chance, check it out ;)

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28 Bec March 21, 2009 at 10:19 am

What a great trip for you to experience, I loved all the photos and updates!

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29 Whitney March 21, 2009 at 10:33 am

I really love the quote at the end. It really is so true.

I am glad that you think Lipton is taking the right steps forward. Hopefully they showed you the entire picture and not just the picture that they wanted to show you (thats the cynic in me talking).

I really loved reading all of your Africa posts. What an amazing experience.

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30 zestycook March 21, 2009 at 10:38 am

A great wrap up Kath! Thanks for all your time and effort you put into your posts. It is great appreciated over here.

zest!

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31 Sharon March 21, 2009 at 10:49 am

Thanks so much for sharing!

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32 Priyanka March 21, 2009 at 10:51 am

Thanks a lot for your thoughts and the effort you put into the posts! I particularly liked the quote!

Travel back safely!

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33 thepinkpeppercorn March 21, 2009 at 11:07 am

Beautifully well said Kath!! And thank YOU for sharing your trip!!! Absolutely enjoyable read. (as always :) )

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34 DameNoire March 21, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I’m guessing that yoga move is called ‘plough’ not ‘plow’…
Love reading about your trip!

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35 jen March 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Glad to see that the guests are open to critiquing and complementing Lipton….nothing wrong with doing either.I still question on how real the whole interaction really was,but the company has the right to set up their place and plans the way they want to.
I am glad there is schooling etc,but I still hope they realize as such a wealhy company they could do so much more.I would rather see them have their guests fly coach and not stay in luxury hotels too.But perhaps that’s just not a reality with big companies.
But glad they are at least trying to show that they are doing something.It’s up to us all to investigate and find out it it’s enough,as we all need to try and do more to help our world neighbours and not support poverty wages and damage to environment.
Will I drink Lipton or support another company?
Not sure.For know I continue to be a bit dubious.
Ona positive note,thank you Kath for your lovely photos and detailed trip schedule.Very interesting reading experience,and of course what we see is different from what you feel from being IN the experience.
Happy to read your blog-hope you don’t mind my critical questioning of companies including Lipton!
Thanks again!!!Have fun being back home :)

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36 jen March 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm

PS Have to say that Lipton IS getting pretty amazing coverage by all bloggers/press on the trip…and I bet they know that kinda promotion is PRICELESS!They would NOT get that from press releases that’s for sure!So having them fly press there doesn’t make me believe it is not perhaps as commercial promotion….

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37 Oh She Glows March 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Awesome post…and I loved the video of the airplane ride too. Thanks :)

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38 Kara March 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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39 jackie March 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Very informative post Kath. Thank you for going on this trip and tsking the time to share it with everyone. Jackie

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40 carole March 21, 2009 at 7:19 pm

you have done a great job sharing your week with your readers. I think that was a charge you were given with this trip, and you sure were able to share the purpose of your trip in an informative and fun to read way! It gave me insight into something I was unaware of, so thanks for that! And true to KERF style, you carried on with your blog as usual…great pics and descriptions of the local food. So cool. It really does seem like an amazing trip. You are quite fortunate.

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41 Chelsea March 21, 2009 at 11:35 pm

I loved reading about your trip!!!! WONDERFUL posts this week.

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42 Marcia Compton March 23, 2009 at 8:15 am

Katherine, I love reading your blog, Each day it is one of the first things i do. Your trip to Africa sounds wonderful. Thank you for taking us with you. I would love to try the tea and win. I wear my Kerf t-shirt all the time working out. Thanks for all you do for those of us trying to live a healthy life. Marcia

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43 Jess March 23, 2009 at 10:39 am

I’ve made mukimo before and it is not difficult at all. The recipe I used didn’t use maize though, mostly potatoes, vegetables, and beans.

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44 Karim King January 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I visited Kenya in 2011 and I’m planning on going back January 2015. What hotel did you stay in? I would like to try their delicacies, looks real good!

Thanks

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45 KathEats January 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I don’t recall, unfortunately

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