Kisumu, better known as the town that gave us Obama

So after much traveling and (too) many terrifying prop plane rides around East Africa we made it to Kisumu! Located in western Kenya on the banks of Lake Victoria, Kisumu is actually Kenya’s third biggest city. You wouldn’t know that if you ever came here though because it feels like a sprawling town. It’s fairly sleepy and quiet compared to Nairobi and a nice change of pace. The weather is quite a change as well. The average temperature is in the 80s and its humid as hell. Every afternoon or night, like clockwork, a big ole thunderstorm rolls in complete with lightning and torrential rain. And then somehow every morning comes with bright blue skies and sunshine, as if the world was reborn again. Tonight we watched the clouds roll in and cover the fading sun, replacing it with flashes of pink-white lightning, from the top of a rooftop bar, it was gorgeous.

I think Kisumu is on the map for many Americans because it is the birthplace of Barak Obama’s father and the current residence of his paternal family.  We’ve already spotted much Obama paraphernalia including: an Obama t-shirt on a Kisumu resident, a “Happy Birthday Barak Obama” example cake at a bakery, and, the cherry on top, an Obama poster in an Arab owned restaurant that was playing Al Jazeera broadcasting the death of Osama bin Laden! Apparently you can visit Obama’s grandmother somewhere in town, but we haven’t yet confirmed that she is taking random mzungu* visitors.

The nice thing about making it to Kisumu, besides not having to take any more prop planes, is that we are staying in an apartment that is reserved for the visiting clinic staff. The good news is that we have a permanent place to stay, it has a private balcony overlooking the street and its way bigger than our apartment in SF. The bad news, as we found out recently, is that we are surrounded by bats.  You could call it a bat cave.  We found this out the hard way when I was making dinner last night and got nearly dive bombed by a bat coming out of a hole in the ceiling. I was dicing avocado at the time and was so startled that I started swinging my knife around haphazardly and, I’m not ashamed to say, shrieking at the top of my lungs. It wasn’t pretty. I’m not sure if it was my piercing screams or a left hook from the knife but the bat collapsed onto the counter and, as Ray put it, appeared to be mortally wounded. We had to ask the building manager to remove it.  Don’t worry though, we’ve duct taped that hole and hope to have no further bat-human interactions apart from watching them fly around when we come home in the evening.

*Kiswahili for “white person”

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Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Rae and Ray!!! Looks like a fantastic time. Dad and I looked at your baby animal/Zanzibar pictures in his condo in Winter park, CO. We read about your bat experience. I hope you are having a wonderful time, I have to say I’m jealous. LOVE YOU GUYS! Be Safe! M

  2. Holllly crap! I almost just peed my pants reading that bat story. That sounds like when I went into my hut in tsavo east in Kenya and there was a tarantula sized spider on my pillow.


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