Back in Action

     Sorry for the blog hiatus – I will try my best to get back on the once a week train
after my amazing trip to South Africa!
     I’m not sure how to summarize my trip, because really I could write quite a bit
about my experience – it was great to see family and friends from home, we saw some
amazing football, ate some great food, and saw impressive natural features and
wildlife.  And, yes, the vuvuzelas are REALLY loud and REALLY annoying in person. 
After watching some people in action, blowing them in restaurants, in malls, on public
transportation, really there was no limit, I decided it’s like giving a loud toy to a
child – it’s just so satisfying to some people to personally make such a loud noise,
they can’t stop! 
     One of the true highlights was watching the USA beat Algeria in stoppage time.  I was
feeling ill with anxiety before Landon Donavan FINALLY put one past their keeper to
secure our passage to the round of 16 (not that it went well, haha) and provide a
moment of pure, unadulterated joy for those of us in attendance and every American
watching around the world.  I even caught myself feeling momentarily pleased when I saw
an Algerian kid crying – I mean, wow, who am I?  I’d actually had a run-in with a large
crowd of Algerians on one of my smaller flights when I first arrived in South Africa. 
I felt terrible for the flight attendants who were trying to get them to sit down and
cease their cheering and clapping and singing so that they could listen to safety
instructions.  Once some of them realized I was American (I was wearing my USA jersey
for travel purposes, and I think we were playing that day) they were smiling and
pointing and jabbering away at me…I can only guess they were doing some friendly trash
talking, though I can’t really be sure since I couldn’t understand a single word.  I
realllly wanted to beat Algeria, and thankfully the boys came through!  It was also so
cool to see soccer fans everywhere we went, from all different nations – Even if you’re
not a huge soccer fan, it’s such a fun experience.  Maybe everyone should pencil Brazil
2014 into their calendars…
     In addition to watching great soccer, we also went on a safari in Kruger National Park,
where we saw tons of elephants, giraffes, hippos, and zebras (among many other animals),
plus were treated to the rare sight of a leopard hunting an impala!  We visited the Cape
of Good Hope and rented an old motorcycle with a sidecar to round out our journey.  It was
a great trip, and now I’m glad to be back in Kenya and spending another month in Africa!
     This week my work goal is to delve a bit deeper into Muswahili’s IBJ JusticeMakers work from
the past year and write another blog entry for IBJ (my first one is up on their website


It’s a little more challenging than I anticipated because he’s actually
technically done with his IBJ project and it’s no longer the focus of his daily work so it’s
not really the focus of my daily work either.  I’ll just need to locate and interview people
who were positively effected by his JusticeMakers project, and identify some of the specific
issues that he was able to tackle within the community.  In addition to (hopefully)
completing another writing assignment for IBJ, I’ll continue to help Muswahili with his day
to day work of establishing “People Forums” for people to discuss current human rights
violations and justice system problems within their communities.  I’m also hoping to meet
with another JusticeMaker in the nearby city of Kisumu sometime soon to learn more about
the project there and possibly attend court.