Adaptation in Kenya…A required must…We’re learning…

Partial view of the yard from the second level.
Different view of the veranda than yesterday’s posting.  With a huge room upstairs without frniture and no living room on the main floor, we’ll have no choice but to spend most of our idle time outside both day and evening.   Finally, it was appropriate for me to wear my Africa pants last night, just spraying my arms and feet.  Gee…those pants work well!  Wish I’d known about BugsAway clothing while living in Minnesota. The bugs are bad.

If we thought for a moment that life in Africa would be comparable to life in other countries we’ve visited since leaving the US last January, we’d have been fooling ourselves. As we’d mentioned in a past post, we came here with no delusions. We’re working hard to adapt.

The sink in the galley style kitchen.  I should move Tom’s bottle of Courvoisier out of the window so the monkeys don’t knock it over when he comes to visit.

Our house in the resort community of Diani Beach, although vastly more convenient and comfortable than many other areas of Kenya, has limitations and peculiarities for which we must adapt or we’ll be miserable.

This stove and refrigerator are much smaller than they appear in the photo.  Here, we’ll grocery shop once a week with the reasonable price of cab fare.

In itself, there nothing wrong with the house or the grounds, which are maintained constantly and thoughtfully by various staff members on the premises 24 hours a day, provided us with considerable peace of mind.

The master bedroom.  The mosquito netting is very secure around the beds leaving little opportunity for any flying insects. Bugs that walk may find their way to the bed from below. Let’s hope not!  The bed was comfortable and we slept well last night.
The guest bedroom with two beds and two separate mosquito nets.

The gate entrance to the small collection of homes is guarded both during the day and at night. Plus from dusk to dawn, we have a guard, Jeremiah, who canvasses the grounds between our house and the owner’s house next door. Last night, our first night of sleeping, we heard the comforting sounds of quiet conversation among the guards, lulling me back to sleep.

Partial view from the upper level veranda.

After Hans, the owner, warned us about possible scorpions in the house, which he sees from time to time and may be deadly, we’ve become careful of watching where we walk wearing shoes in the house except when in bed.

This spiral staircase to the second level is very steep with the steps far apart. There’s no reason to go upstairs when there’s no furniture except on a second veranda. 

There’s a red button above the bed that goes directly to a manned security company that we’ve been instructed to use in case of any emergency:  intruder, health, animals. With guards on the premises, they’d have called for backup had there been intruders. But we’d also push the button.

The vanity area of the single bathroom in the house.

The bugs: Surprisingly so far we’ve seen no flies or bees. Yeah to that! The mosquitoes are rampant day and night.  Strange crawling things are everywhere, mostly spiders (some dangerous), many lizards of varying sizes, numerous centipedes, some small, some huge. Most aren’t dangerous and don’t bite. Many are dangerous, so we’ve heard.

Yesterday, when visiting next door without my camera, my hand brushed a giant insect appearing to be a wide Praying Mantis. It didn’t move when I touched it. I didn’t scream.

The interior of the shower.  It works better than the shower in Tuscany which had poor water flow.  We flip a switch in the entryway for hot water.  Fifteen minutes later the water is hot.  We’ve were instructed to turn off the switch as soon as we’re done showering.

The monkeys: There’s a local baboon that hangs around this property that is known to get into the kitchen via an access through the thatched roof, making itself at home munching on non-perishable foods sitting out. Hesborn, our houseman, suggested we keep the kitchen door closed at all times, since that’s the first place he’ll go. He said to expect to see him inside at some point during our stay. OK.

The coconut trees: We’ve been instructed not to stand or sit in the lawn chairs directly below the coconut trees due to a high risks of being hit by a falling coconut. Makes sense to us. We’ll find other spots to lounge to recover our now lost tans. (The horrible amount of bees on the patio in Tuscany kept us away from lounging in the chairs after trying for the first few weeks). Hesborn  will crack open the coconuts using the machete upon our request. Natural coconut is allowed on my strict diet.

The weather: Right now, it’s spring here, close to the equator. Summer begins on December 21st when we’ll be in South Africa (we arrive on December 1st depending on our soon-to-be booked flight). Its warm, mostly in the 80’s but is seldom above 90 this time of year. Without air conditioning and an overhead fan in the bedroom, the bed covered in only a sheet, we’re fine both during the day and at night, so far but it will get hotter as each day passes..

The floors: All the floors in the house are stone, including the bathroom and kitchen. With the sand blowing from the ocean at about 300 feet away and the residue from various trees and plants, the bottoms of our feet were black last night. Before going to bed, we washed them once again then scooting our feet on a towel toward the bed.  This morning, I asked Hesborn to wash the stone every few days. Going forward, we’ll be wearing shoes until crawling into bed.

The Internet: Having asked Hans long before booking our stay in the house as to the WiFi situation, he assured me that he’d provide Internet access at no charge. Little did he know (and we have no animosity about this) how much usage we actually incur on a daily basis. 

Plus, the MiFi from XCOM Global hadn’t worked since we arrived in Boveglio, due the proximity of the mountains surrounding the house.  With the help of tech support via email, we never were able to connect in Italy even after we arrived in Venice on September 1st.

Partial view of the ceiling in the second story.

Last night, Hans informed us that he’ll provide us with a SIM card to use to “by the kilobyte.” With our usage, this would end up at twice the cost of the use of our MiFi at $395 a month, a figure we’d incorporated into our budget. 

Unfortunately, the use of XCOM Global‘s MiFi prevents us from downloading videos and perhaps, Tom ability to watch the NFL’s weekly videos of the Minnesota Vikings game for which he recently paid $167 for the season. 

Today, after utilizing downloaded software XCOM Global had sent us in June, miraculously, I got it going, much to our surprise. During the night last night, I found myself waking from time to time worrying about how we’d have Internet access.

Now, we wait to hear back from XCOM Global as to our ability to Skype with video, continue to download TV shows along with Tom’s ability to watch the Vikings. With literally no TV on the premises, we’re dependent upon watching downloaded shows on our computer in the evenings. 

If the event that XCOM Global‘s responses to our inquiries affects our ability to download TV shows and movies, (including Tom’s Vikings games), we’ll have no alternative but to use Internet SIM cards for those purposes only. No doubt doing so will quickly burn GBs requiring us to  pay accordingly. We do accept the possibility.

The upstairs veranda is much smaller than the main floor but a lovely breezy spot where we’ll very little time due to the steep spiral staircase.

The water: The water is not potable, although Hans explains that he drinks it. After living here 20 years, most likely he’s developed an immunity to the various parasites in the water. With no reverse osmosis or purification system in place, we’ll use bottled water including when brushing our teeth and for drinking. This morning we made coffee using the huge jugs of purified water we’d purchased yesterday at the grocery store.

The trip to the grocery store will be told in tomorrow’s post. The grocery stores are very different from the US and even Italy. To our delight, we did find a few ingredients we’d been searching for the past seven months. 

There’s much more to follow, many more stories to tell and photos to share. Soon, we’ll book our safari and look forward to sharing the experience and photos with you.

How are we doing with all of these adaptations required of us thus far? For Tom, who normally takes a little while to adapt, says “So far, so good.” 

Window in the second level.

For me, I’m fine, not worrying, especially now that we’ve safely arrived, that the MiFi is working, enabling us to reach family and friends and to write and post photos for our readers. (No video, though. Besides, I wasn’t good at making videos anyway. I won’t miss that). 

The bugs that don’t bite don’t concern me a bit.  Those, that do bite? Screaming may occur.  I’d better learn my bugs so I’ll know when to scream.  The monkey, we’ll keep you informed if it comes inside the house.

With these two beds on the second floor is the only furniture upstairs other than on the veranda. With this space, the house has room for a total of six guests with a possible two more sleeping on the sofas on the 2 verandas.  This is the railing at the top of the spiral staircase. 

Remember the movie, “Out of Africa” and the living conditions?  Its not unlike that living here, simple;  water we can’t drink, bugs everywhere, creatures around us, sounds new to our ears, limited hot water, dirt and dust everywhere and on and on. 

Partial view of the yard from another second story window.

In the near future, as we learn more, we’ll share the joys we’ll discover in Kenya which we anticipate without a doubt, will be many. Please stop back tomorrow for more house photos.