Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One year in the valley!

This week marks a year that we've lived in Keirio Valley, in Kenya. I've made up a few tiles of life here in this beautiful remote valley within the Great Rift Valley.
From top: flying into Kenya; staying over in the Sarova Stanley, Nairobi; a view over the Great Rift Valley; the 24km road into the valley; arriving at the guest house; last photo: the lane leading to my friend, Sue's house

Our house in the corner, bordering the African bush; a beautiful bougainvillea in my garden; a view over my garden; Ginger, the cat we inherited as we arrived; I celebrated my nth (!) birthday in that first month; a luncheon at the guest house

An avid gardener, I found a kindred spirit in my Kenyan gardener, Stanley. Together we changed the existing garden from primarily exotic to 80% indigenous. We also revived and revamped the neglected rose garden at the side of the house.

Stanley my loyal gardener and two of the many birds which visit our garden
The middle photo in the first collage in this post is my "before" garden. Above is our "after" garden
In May we brought our Sudanese cat, then living in South Africa into Kenya! Although he hunts lizards with a vengence, he has no interest in birds, which is a relief!
Company management flew into the valley for meetings during the middle of the year.  Sue and I helped the Guest House to cater for their stay. I also joined Sue for an ice-cream and soda party at school one Monday morning
In July a security officer arrived at my door with a bedraggled kitten. So now the Hedges have three cats in Kenya! In the photo bottom left, carpenters are attaching screen doors which were for our own account. This is to keep monkeys (of which there are many in our camp) out and to keep cats in!

In between during the week, Sue and I would go birding around the dams and in the bush on the mine

Over weekends Grant and I went birding on the mine property
Among other interesting activities we attended school functions
In October I held a formal tea at my home. All three the ladies on camp (at the time) attended!
Every five weeks we go up the steep, winding mountain road for monthly shopping. There is always something interesting on this trip: birds, large lizards, Black-and-white Colobus and Blue monkeys; new-born lambs, and runners (Kenya has world champions) in training
The last full moon for 2011. It was a lunar eclipse!
An important young man?
Stanley and I created a welcoming display of potplants at my front door
After months of training on a leash, (like I'm doing with Ambrose now) Shadow has the run of the garden
A week before and the Christmas weekend was spent in the Masai Mara, on Lake Baringo, at Lake Elemtaita and at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, Nakuru. Divine! 
 On the last day of 2011, Grant and I attended a wedding with a difference: the bride never arrived!
On the 1st day of 2012, Grant and I went out birding around the mine and I got my best photo of a Fork-tailed Drongo
Sue and I have been birding recently as well. Apart from this awesome heron and its reflection, I have several interesting photos. More about that tomorrow.

Anyone visiting my blog for the first time, you can scroll back over the past year and read about all I have spoken about and shown in collages above. And more... I can honestly say that this has been one of the best - if not THE best - year as an expat!
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  1. Firstly, let me say how thrilled I am to read that this is probably the best year you've had as an expat. I feel like a Kenyan myself so I am proud to read that from you.

    You've had a terrific year and you've given us a wonderful retrospective of it. May 2012 be an even better year ;-) Hugs and blessings. xx Penny

  2. what an exciting year it has been for you and us who follow your blog. In it your bird photography improved enormously, especially when you got your new camera. The one thing I did not like about that year were the bouts of malaria Grant suffered and that dreadful one that attacked you. I hope that stays firmly in the past.

  3. It's been a great year.

    Happy (upcoming) nth Birthday!

  4. Hi Jo, I cannot believe that it's been a year... Time is flying!!!! BUT--what a fabulous year you have had... I have been with you the entire time --and remember all of your pictures and stories... SO NEAT!!!!

    Thanks for sharing and congrats on your year.. How much longer will you all be there?


  5. What an exciting year for you. as you say the best as an expat. Your bird photography is improving in leaps and bounds. I still find them hard to capture well. How long will you be staying in your beautiful valley?

  6. Happy anniversary in Kenya! I remember when you took Shadow from Sudan to South Africa, and from South Africa to Kenya, and now he has two Kenyan brothers, and you've had such adventures.
    Just thinking about the Great Rift Valley and the Masai Mara is enough to make my heart race. I'd love so much to see both, but, if I can't, I can visit them through your photos and stories.
    Speaking of stories, you've even become an established writer since you moved to Kenya. I'm so proud of you.
    Very best wishes to Grant, and lots of love for you and the cats,

  7. Boy! Putting this post together must have taken great effort. It sums up the year beautifully. That wedding where the bride didn't show up must have been pretty interesting. You two sure stay busy.

    I have never learned how to do a collage. Got any tips for me....

  8. What a full and exciting year you have had, Jo! I, too, like Joyful, was happy to read that this was your best year ever as an expat! Your activities and adventures are such fun to read about. May 2012 be just as good a year as 2011!

  9. Oh, an exciting year indeed, Jo! I do love all of your photos! They're fantastic! I always enjoy reading about your adventures and the lovely people and creatures in your world! I hope you have another equally beautiful and wonderful year!


  10. Wow, so cool. How interesting it must be to live where you are :) thanks for sharing.

  11. WoW, Jo! It has been absolutely wonderful to ride/read along with you as you experienced Kenya in 2011. Every post has been good - but my very favorite one was your tale of the Kenyan Wedding. I am sure that my having experienced similar excitement several times over the almost ten years I served our church there is responsible for that being the most outstanding story of the year. May the Lord give you an even great 2012 and keep you and Grant well and healthy.

  12. HI Jo, I am just getting around to all the Our World post. What a great year you have had in Kenya. Some of my favorite photos are the birds of course and I love what your did with your garden. I enjoyed your stories from over the year and the wonderful photos, thanks for sharing your world.

  13. How do you get the green border around your photos in PhotoScape, Jo? The only color I can find for borders is black. There are loads of frames, but only black for simple borders.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo