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bizarre top five

One of the most entertaining aspects of writing a blog is seeing what internet searches ultimately brought readers to the pages of our blog. Some hits are pretty intuitive. For instance, multiple people have searched for dcm towels and wound up clicking on our blog; understandable given that the Deputy Chief of Mission at times graces our tales with his presence and that DCM is also a textile manufacturing company. Other hits are a bit creepy. At one point someone must have been internet-stalking one of our friends because there were multiple hits that corresponded to her name. For the most part, however, the searches are simply bizarre and amusing. Without further ado, here is our top five list of the wacky internet searches that have led people to click on our blog: Read more

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the missing congressman

A few weeks ago, D served as the control officer for a congressional visit that passed through Nairobi. Control officers are responsible for the schedule, logistics, and successful execution of the trip – a daunting task that was made far less so by the fact that the Congressman in question was merely flying through Nairobi. With no meetings to schedule and no hotels to book, all D had to do was to arrange for the DCM to meet with the Congressman at the airport lounge during the latter’s layover at JKIA. Sounds simple, right?

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VIP visits

Serving abroad, it is tempting to forget that the Embassy works for Washington and not the other way around. The local knowledge one develops at post is not infrequently absent from centralized decision-making inside the Beltway, causing some within the Embassy community to gripe when policies that make sense from the perspective of those at post are summarily rejected back in DC. Fortunately, policy-makers are not opposed to travel…there is nothing like a VIP visit to remind everyone at post that the tail does not wag the proverbial dog.

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nyama choma

 

the-meat-pot

More than just a food, nyama choma is a cultural experience. While most Kenyan cuisine is nothing to write home about, sitting down to choma affords one a real taste of the Kenyan lifestyle, as S found out on her first trip to Kisumu. Nyama choma literally translates to roast meat, though the nyama traditionally used for this Kenyan BBQ comes from goat. Read more

red tape

When one of D’s colleagues quipped that the most important thing he learned in training was how to fill out forms expeditiously, he was only half joking. In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks to the Foreign Service lifestyle is that by joining the diplomatic corps we have agreed to simultaneously submit our lives to the regulations of two different bureaucracies. Years of travel have conditioned us to expect incomprehensible rules, bureaucratic inefficiencies, and senseless delays from foreign governments, especially from those that consistently rank low on Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index. Encountering the same red tape from our own government, however, always feels like a letdown.

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new beginnings

Prior to our departure for Tanzania, S’s USAID contract was extended to run through the end of December. Unfortunately, her work was incredibly project-specific and the project on which she was working had ground to a halt around Thanksgiving, pending the outcome of Ambo’s consultations in DC. S’s immediate supervisors had also taken leave. With the holiday season upon us and her office mostly deserted, S was in real danger of having nothing to do at work. For a salaried employee, the December work lull is a blessing; however, for someone working on an hourly contract, not having something to do in the office is synonymous with not having a job.

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boat birding in Baringo

Car-camping in Kenya is not too different from what it would have been in the US: we pitched our tents by the lake and then spent the weekend hanging out, playing board games, drinking beer, reading books, and lighting campfires at night to roast marshmallows. Yet, this was unmistakeably an African camping trip, as the lake near which we set up camp was swarming with hippos and crocodiles. There was a Nile monitor calmly wandering around the campsite when we pulled up, and we saw crocodiles not more than a dozen feet from where we put up our tents.

our next-door neighbor

our next-door neighbor

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