Visiting my Moiko family …

For the past 9 years, I have made a point of visiting the Moiko family who live just outside Nairobi on wonderful piece of land that has a panoramic view of the Ngong Hills. imageI have watched their family grow up and grow in size. Last January when I was at their home, Liz was pregnant and hoping that the baby would come along any day. Little (actually not so little) Charles was born in mid-February and so this past weekend was the first time that we were able to meet. He is a robust, happy, curious child that is well loved and cared for by the extended family that lives at the Moiko compound.

Sandra and CharlesSandra. a toddler when I first met her, is now a tall 10 year old in Class 6. She goes off to school, six days a week, taking the school bus at 6 am and not getting home until 7 pm. And then there is homework to do. African students spend many more hours acquiring their education than Canadian children do. Education is seen as an important responsibility and opportunity to get ahead.

Another tradition is to hike through the hills to a cliff above Kona Baridi where I soak up a spectacular view of the Rift Valley. There are two trees that I visit there every year and a few minutes spent sitting quietly listening to the wind and the birds and the j angle of distant cow bells is something that I look forward to am would not want to miss. This year I hiked up to the hill with Daniel, Stephen’s nephew who has matured into a responsible young man over the years I have been visiting.

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imageThe four generations of this family all living in the compound – from Stephen’s elderly grandmother, Gogo, who still milks the cows to young Charles splashing in a bathtub in the sun in the yard, make me feel right at home. I am privileged to be part of this traditional but progressive and modern Maasai family.

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A visit with one of my “kids” …

In blog post in December, I told you about my Maasai goat, Veronica. (My goat, Veronica – December 8, 2012) Well this weekend I had the opportunity to revisit V2, Veronica’s daughter. Veronica is apparently off with the larger goat herd grazing somewhere more removed from the Moiko farm but V2 was a bit too young to make the trek so is still at home with about ten other goats and the sheep. I think she had had sons as well since I inherited her but they have likely ended up in a stew.

Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

I can now recognize V2 easily in the flock by her speckled face and the eyebrows inherited from her mother (which led me to name the mother Veronica after Veronica Lake, a movie star from the 1940’s)

The Massai mark their animals for ownership by making distinctive cuts in their ears. My goats have my own branding which is two cuts on either side of the left ear and nothing on the right ear. So if they get lost or when mixed with the other goats it is always clear that they are mine.

John, Dennis and V2  - 2013

John, Dennis and V2 – 2013

Me, Dennis and Veronica - 2005

Me, Dennis and Veronica – 2005

A bonus was that I also got to visit with Dennis, who gave Veronica to me in 2005. We got our photo with V2 who happens to be pregnant. Dennis promised to send me a photo of my next grand-kid so stay tuned to see the next member of the Geddes ole Moiko clan of goats.

You can notice, as well, that I am wearing the  same Maasai beaded bracelet that Dennis gave to me in 2005.  An enduring friendship .