Thursday, August 28, 2008


also: our lawyer confirmed today that the land we want to buy is free and clear and rightfully owned by the person selling to us.

in other words, we are getting closer and closer to securing the land. it's not set in stone yet, but as I like to look at it, less and less things can go wrong at this point.

we're picking up a letter of agreement from our lawyer tomorrow and bringing it to the owner. then he has a week to sign...

ps: thanks Aunt Jackie for the knitting help. : ) and others...

mystery fruit.

I have no idea what this is called in English.

more close-up

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

every rose has its thorns i guess.

pretty trees pretty pretty trees pretty pretty trees trees pretty pretty trees pretty pretty trees

artsy photo

this is the point in the journey where my dad, Susan and Eric eye each other and make 'what on earth is this crazy girl doing?' faces, while I think to myself, 'I miss Ange, Rach, Zac, Dave, Emmy...'

I took a lot of these. Enough to convince everyone that I've lost it completely.


there has to be a compromise here: the flattest part of land is also the tree-est part. football field or forest?

the trustees: Ashby, Eric, Susan

we look Oh So American.

Quick update...yesterday we met with the land owner of 'plot A', or, our first choice. Dixon gave a really great speech (I'm WAY too emotional, and not so professional, so I'm glad he was there) and convinced the owner to give it at the price we wanted. Our lawyer is sending someone to the ministry of lands-placey-thing today to clear the title, meanwhile, the land owner invited us to his house to meet his mother (a very good sign!).

So this afternoon my dad, Susan and myself will meet the owner's mom. Once our lawyer has cleared the title, we will proceed with legal signage.

I am trying to upload pictures of the land, but this connection is pretty slow, so we'll see how far I get.

In the meantime- please continue praying that things fall into place. It's looking good right now but of course nothing is final. (Theoretically, if the title is clear, we'll make a down payment and sign a contract. Once the owner also signs, we're pretty much good to go. Our lawyer will mark the land so that we are sure it's ours.)

(okay, so it loaded. this is the land! It's in a very dry area...but very flat, beautiful, peaceful, safe, near the paved road, etc, etc)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

LIVE from the fancy-pants Hilton

And might I add that the internet here SUCKS. It's worse than the dial-up in the village; worse than the internet cafes in Ngong.

Anywho. Here is my dad. This picture is purely for Carlie.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


For heaven's sake.

not sure why I like this picture so much.

but I feel as if I've reached a new plateau of grownup-hood (or foolishness), because I WORE HEELS IN KENYA. (kitten heels- but still. heels.)

silapei and mama kui

I really love these women!

okay, fine. one at a time.

...the Ngong Hills. I'm obsessed with them.

you can see the hills clearly (but a bit more distantly) from our new maybe-home!

last night i had my nails painted hot pink. in Barbie-doll, bubble gum pink.

More importantly:

I really, really truly really REALLY think we're getting somewhere in this land buying process. And on that note: yes, everyone says they have at least this much trouble trying to buy land, and yes, I have people helping me, and no, I am not discouraged.

But I am afraid I'm starting to sound a bit girl-who-cried-wolf-ish. It's not that we're not serious about buying land. It's that Kenya is insane. And even with a broker and a lawyer on your side, you can still run into dead ends. And being white and a girl, few people take me seriously and MANY people try to take advantage of me.

But, so: We found 10 acres of beautiful, flat, tree-filled land. It is of COURSE a bit more expensive than we'd like- but still within our budget. And we actually met with the owner and obtained a copy of the title deed.

Monday we will meet with our lawyer and begin the process of clearing the title and ensuring that it is in fact for sale and rightfully owned by the rightful owner. From there it's only ('only', ha!) a matter of having our lawyer (my beloved Frank) write up a contract and negotiations with the owner.

Before I leave for the States (in 10 days!) I expect to be able to make a down payment and sign a contract.

Susan and everyone else involved with this project have agreed: though the entire thing will take time, this part is the hardest. From here, things will snowball. I hope.

I am trying to upload pictures but siwezi. Na sijui kwanini.

Miss you all!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

pressed for time, as per usual

um...I've never been this busy in Kenya before.

anyway, I only have about 4 minutes to update everyone, because Susan and I are supposed to meet someone somewhere in, like, 2 hours ago.

But I thought I'd make sure we're all on the same page here.

First of all, the beautiful, perfect land I first posted about? Too good to be true. It's not for sale. (I really don't understand WHY we are being shown land that is not for sale and it sort of makes me want to throw a temper tantrum, but anyway, that's for another day.)

So: we've been looking at a few other places. We've seen about 9 in the past few days. And even met with some of the land owners and even gotten as far as acknowledging that the land is a)actually for sale and b) within the right price range and c) owned by the person who says they are the rightful owner. Imagine that! (I now know how to say 'imagine that' in 3 languages.)

We are hoping to narrow down our choices in the next day or two. We are meeting with our lawyer again Monday (I think I'm in love with him, I'm serious) and will have a few title deeds, etc to show him. He will then begin the process of making sure the land is free and clear and actually for sale. From there we will negotiate.

In the meantime, Susan and I have made a bit of headway on things such as: opening a bank account here in Kenya, registering for electricity once the land is ours, and digging a well- which will prove to be a lengthy and expensive process, but we've AT LEAST figured out a budget and the proper, legal procedure.

So, in some ways I feel as if we've gotten NO WHERE but in other ways I feel as if we are making major headway. We're so, so close to breaking through on land-buying, and we've learned so many things- things which are now possible, because VISIBLE GRACE IS REGISTERED IN KENYA.

More later, my friends. Peace out!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

you know you're kenyan when... don't even flinch when you're 45 minutes late to a friend's wedding. can't get a single errand done without running into at least 4 people you know by name. are packed into a matatu (mini-van type bus) that is seemingly full- and when four more men want to get in you know there's more than enough room.

...people sit down for a meeting and begin discussing things in Swahili, without even asking if you need them to translate or switch to English.

The internet cafe is closing, so updates on land etc will have to wait till tomorrow!

Monday, August 18, 2008

there was a chicken on my bus today.

A live one. Just so we're clear.

Today Susan and I did boring grown up things such as: visit the Ministry of Water, visit the Ministry of Electricity, eat pizza, and buy syllabi at a bookstore.

Also, this computer won't let me upload pictures from my flash, and also also, I have one of those cuts on my tongue.

The end.

Friday, August 15, 2008

mimi nikohapa, na nahisi baridi sana

I'm here. And boy, is it fun to travel for 30 hours straight.

No, really.

Furthermore, Susan and I have already staked out The Perfect Plot of Land:

It's basically the same as everything else we've looked at, BUT:
~great location
~TOUCHING a paved road
~ALREADY has elec and WATER!!!
~full-grown trees, more space, less shrubbery (SHRUBBERY!)
~flat enough for a soccer field or, you know, for me to lay out my yoga mat.

The only catch is, it's more money than we have right now. (But far less than the Really Really Expensive Ones we've looked at in the past.) Susan and I are meeting with the land owner and his son and our mutual friend (better known as Baba Andrew) on Tuesday. So, IF the owner agrees to let us pay the remainder on, say, October 5th (ahem), then we're gonna go for it. We'll ask for the title deed, ask our lawyer to clear it, sign a contract, and so on and so forth. Pictures to follow, OF COURSE.

ALSO, GUESS WHAT: my daddy is coming to Kenya next week! For a whopping 4 days (don't tell him there's no wireless internet at Susan's house). I'm so excited for him to see my life here- and meet Susan- and see the land we want to buy- and whip us all into shape so we can get some work done. He gets here Saturday the 23rd...

That's all I've got for now. Miss you all. More soon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I plan to start packing ANY MINUTE NOW

I'm leaving in a few hours for Kenya again! I'm very excited. I'll be there until September 4th. Visible Grace is now officially registered in Kenya, so I will be able to secure land in some way. I'm hoping to make a down payment and sign a contract, as well as meeting with our contractor and getting a bit more of our budget figured out.

I'll be posting here when I have the opportunity, and will upload pictures when I get a chance.

Please leave comments or send me texts (rumour has it they cost a quarter)! I love hearing from you guys when I'm over there. My cell number is... 011 254 721 930508