August 9, 1987

8/9/87 Matindoni

last night in Matindoni

What can I say, more rain. Captain Athman decided he could take us into Lamu for the day if we wanted, which everyone did. It looked like it was clearing up. But no such luck. I’m glad I brought my umbrella even though only my head stayed dry. Just as we got close to Lamu, the wind picked up and it started to flood down. Captain Athman beached the dhow and we walked the rest of the way to Lamu.

The water was real warm but waist deep. By the time we all made it ashore, it stopped raining. Our luck. In Lamu, a lot of the shops were closed because it was Sunday and because it was around lunch time. I couldn’t find a wood shop that had chairs like I had seen before. Finally, I stopped back in the shop where I had bought my sarong and sandals. The woman there was so nice to me before. She recognized me right away and asked how my trip was. She saw me looking at her chair and asked if I wanted to buy it.

There was no way I could lug the whole thing back to the US on a plane, so I asked her if I could take measurements in case I wanted to build one myself. She told me to go ahead and even supplied me with a tape measure. The open spaces were woven with cotton string. The seat and back made a little more than a ninety degree angle. Around the opening in the back was a carved border.

We met up with the rest of Fosa’s crew, Sa’ad Kidogo, Sa’ad Kubwa, Arimani, Bacari and Abdula. The dhow trip back to Matindoni was just as wet. After awhile, you just gave up being dry and just tried to enjoy the rain. Felt like a summer rain back in Kansas City. As soon as we got back to the shamba, it was clean up time to get ready for the big farewell banquet.

We covered the common room with mats. Slowly, one by one, the crew began arriving. They were dressed as we’d never seen them, all clean with their best kofia and whitest robes. They were a sight. We all sat down together, students, instructors and crew. The food served was beans, rice and beef, and spiced tomatoes, all eaten Swahili style. We gathered around large serving plates and ate with our right hands. Ali Sha showed us one eating technique. Take a handful of rice, squeeze making a more solid piece, then pop it in your mouth using your thumb. It looked just as messy as any other way.

Omari Bob taking center stage.

After a very relaxing meal in which everyone was stuffed with food and chai, Lisa brought in some desserts than Captain Athman’s daughters had shown her how to make. One was a custard, and the other was a cake. Merle gave a "thank you" speech to the crew and added a farewell because this was his last course at NOLS Kenya and the coast. Charlie gave a small speech on behalf of the students. And Captain Athman spoke for the crew. They were paid with much ceremony and then the musicians were brought in. Two drummers, a tambourine and a hand-pumped organ, who sang and played an assortment of Kenyan, Swahili and Indian songs into the wee hours of the night.

One of the crew with his sisters.

Best dancing must go to Abdula and his belly dancing routine, receiving a little cash from a happy patron. That night it rained some of the hardest it had in the past several days. I was glad Dave and I opted to sleep inside the shamba instead of setting up the tent.