Sunday, November 27, 2011


This isn't in order with the rest of the pictures that are on here. It happens to be in a folder that was started shortly after I arrived in Kenya.

These carts, mkokoteni in Swahili, are everywhere. They are a very common way for small businesses to get goods for their kiosks and dukas from Mombasa to the bush.

This particular cart isn't loaded anywhere near as much as it could be. Sometimes one cart would be piled up 6 feet high with goods and it would take 5 or 6 men and boys to push the thing.

The best part of the cart pushers' day was in negotiating the two approach ramps to the ferry in Mombasa. To get down to the ferry, the cart would try to escape by way of gravity on the way down the steep concrete ramp, with the pushers all forcing the back of the cart down to drag the ground. The back of the cart is equipped with a skid brake made of pieces of tire that will stop the cart by friction in case the puller lets go of the pulling bars. Once across the ferry, the pushers and the puller work the cart across the ramp back and forth, adjusting the course of each pass so that the cart worked its way up hill a little at a time just like a sailboat tacking across the wind.

In the scheme of the local transportation system on the Coast, these carts are the first level used to move goods in large quantities.

Friday, November 25, 2011


This is how I will forever remember Djibouti. The area I was in was hot, brown, and unfriendly.

There are many areas of this small country that are warm, beautiful, and welcoming, but I didn't see those. So this is the way I remember it.

Maybe the day will come when I can visit again with tourism in mind.

Speak the local English, not yours.

You must be positively understood in order to do your job. Just because the country speaks English doesn't mean that you speak the language. The English that you have been speaking all of these years is not the same as the English that you are hearing in country.

Listen to how the local people are speaking English and try to copy it. Speak slowly. Get rid of your Southern drawl. Get rid of your cool guy city accent. Speak the way the people around you are.

Listen to how the equivalent foreign language is constructed and form you sentences the same way. If the literal English translation of the local language puts words out of the order you are used to, then learn to spread that way. "What do you know about our language," may turn out to be "You know what of our language."

Speaking the local English will not sound macho. In fact, it may sound downright high-brow and liberal, but you have to do it. If you speak English the way you have been in the States, then no one will understand a word you are saying and then?

No one will want to work with you.

Deal breaker.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smile and wave.

The simplest act you can perform as a CA Operator is to smile and wave.

If you can't form a genuine smile, just wave, but don't sit there like a typical high and tight hard-ass staring at people.

Don't force a smile, either. You'll look stupid. Stupid people become targets quickly.

And don't wave big like a kid at the circus. Simply raising you hand deliberately and moving it a bit will let those you are greeting know that you mean no harm.

When in doubt, say nothing.