St. Patty's Day 2011: Nairobi Edition

I was a bit sad to think that I was going to miss one of my favorite events this year: Dallas' St. Patrick's parade down Greenville Ave. filled with floats, beads, live music, and green beer.  So I went on a quest to find something St. Patty's-esque to participate in over here that evening.  You wouldn't think that Nairobi would be a hot spot for Irish celebrations but happily some of my favorite restaurants embraced the western holiday and even indulged our happy American/British tradition of green beers.  Of course no Kenyans I work with knew of this holiday nor did I see any non-Americans purposefully wearing green in honor of the day, but no matter, what do expats love more than celebrating and explaining holidays that are meaningless to other cultures?  (Case and point: conversation at St. Patty's Day ball pre-party explaining to non-Americans why we celebrate Thanksgiving when we in turn wiped out the native population we were supposedly appreciating.)  Sadly, even I have no idea what the significance is behind this boozy holiday, other than purportedly someone named Patrick was at some point sainted by the Catholic church.  Would any Irish readers out there care to clarify for us the meaning of this green day?

World Water Day

While I can't stop thinking of World Water Day as Waterworld Day now (thanks a lot, Jon); it is actually a huge initiative to raise awareness about for improving water, sanitation and hygiene provision issues and highlights a specific aspect of freshwater each year.  The UN adopted a resolution to create a world day for water beginning in 1993 with events to be held annually worldwide as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.  You can click here to find out if there is something going on in your neck of the woods.

This year's theme is "Water and Urbanization" and the official event is being hosted in Cape Town, South Africa with a conference and side events.  For those of you in Nairobi, the Kenya Museum Society is hosting a World Water Day celebration at the Louis Leakey Auditorium and the organization I work for, GHARP/KRA, will be in attendance to display information about our rainwater harvesting and management technologies.  If you are interested in joining us for this evening to reflect on rural-urban water issues please contact the National Museum at:
0724 255299, 2339158

The evening will consist of a screening of the film, “Pumzi” directed by Wanuri Kahiu. It is the first sci-fi film from Kenya and winner of the Best Short Film award at the Cannes Independent Film Festival and was an official selection at Sundance and Pan African Film Festivals.  "Pumzi" is set in futuristic Africa, 35 years after WWIII, “The Water War,” where nature is extinct and the outside is dead.  The story is based around Asha, a museum curator, who lives and works in one of the indoor communities.  When she receives a box in the mail containing soil, she plants an old seed in it.  Seeing the seed germinating instantly, Asha breaks out of the inside community to go into the dead and derelict outside to plant the growing seedling and possibly find life in the dead world.

Pre-screening presentations will focus on emerging conflicts for rural-urban water use and demand management in Kenya by: Mr. Michael Thomas with Rural Focus and Mr. Kariuki Mugo with Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

Refreshments 6:15 pm, Doors open 7:00 pm
Non-Members Sh 500, Members Sh 400, Students Sh 200
Proceeds to fund the National Museums of Kenya

The Trials and Tribulations of Lent

As an evangelical Christian I have never participated in Lent as I have always thought of it as a Catholic holiday steeped in their church tradition.  However, as one of the members of my church home group brought up, giving up something or starting a new habit during this time is a good way to remind ourselves daily of the sacrifices Christ made for us and to remind us of the importance of this time of year leading up to Easter.

With that said, this year for Lent I have decided to start saying no.  Let me explain, I am a bit of a people pleaser and am also very social so when I get invitations for multiple events on the same night I will try to make everyone happy by accepting and then end up going to great lengths to attend multiple events at once.  Therefore, I have decided to use my words and turn down some social invitations in order to stop stretching myself so thin.  It's not that I will become a hermit during this time, it's just that, instead of trying to please everyone and saying yes to every invite, I will give myself more free time to devote to other things rather than socializing.  (Yes, Mom and Dad, that does include finishing my paper.)  So wish me luck and productivity for the 44 days (which by the way, can anyone explain to me why this year's Lent is 46 days instead of just 40?) and I'll see you all at the end of the tunnel with hopefully a more sane and less hectic schedule.