Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Afternoon At The Movies

"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"

Yes Ms. Blixen,Baroness, Isak Dinesen..Africa has a song for you.

Staying in the suburb of Nairobi,"Karen" named after the late Karen Blixen, would not have been complete without a trip to her former home.

It was lovely.

But the visit was even more special because of the movie,OUT OF AFRICA, based on her time there.A place she called home for 15 years.A place that never left her heart.

I stood there and took in the history of the place, and all it had been to her. To stand in her bedroom and remember that kiss. The clothes that Meryl Streep and Redford wore. The phonograph that Denis gave Karen as a present. The cuckoo clock. The fireplace where many a story were told. To walk along the porch where they danced in the moonlight one last time...


Winner of 7 Oscars.

There is no other movie quite like it.
John Barry's score , David Watkin's cinematography,Kurt Luedtke's script,Stephen B.Grimes and Josie MacAvin's set and art direction,Milena Canonero's costumes, Streep and Redford's acting,Sydney Pollack's direction,and the true star of the show,God's beauty,the Masai Mara.

It is pure romance- of body,of spirit, of beauty.It is one of those special "go to" movies for me.One of the ones that I watch again and again and again.Andeach time is as good as the first...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Safari on the Mara

I was like my mom when it came to safaris. They sounded great but it wasn't a big priority in my life "to do" list.

Boy was I wrong..

Imagine waking up at the Oolonana Camp at 4:30 AM to the sound of hippos chatting outside your luxurious tent as they discuss which grass tasted best that night.
Imagine then falling asleep a little longer to the sound of the Mara River hushing you back to Lala Salama.
Finally you are woken gently by a "Good Morning" outside your tent with a pot of hot tea and muffin.

It's then off to one of two game drives with your guide, Masai Warrior and Junior Elder Joseph, in your VERY OPEN Land Cruiser.

You watch Wilde beasts cross the river..

Your heart skips some beats as you watch the lions chow down on the meal for the day..

You whisper as you observe a family of elephants who have very sensitive ears..

You hold your breath as you look at a cheetah, the fastest animal on earth,sitting regally,staring back at you from 20 feet away..

You sit by a roaring fire and watch the sun go down overlooking the vastness of the Mara...

And blink in awe at the most extraordinary sunrise..

And you say farewell to that magical place, that place you have heard time and time again from those that have been that it is the experience of a lifetime.

And you know

it is...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Mary

50 is a big number.

I know it -I'm 50 years and 16 days..

Did you know that new BFF Mary has been indoctrinated into the Kikuyu tribe??
More on ALL THAT next week...

But for now Happy Birthday Mary...

You have brought so much to all of us here on vacation with you and all the girls at Hekima Place and the children at Mama Tunza's

As they say on Kenya,
God is Good...All the Time

and that is surely true if you are one of the lucky ones to call Mary a friend..

Friday, August 21, 2009

Massai Mara here we come...

We are off to the safari RIGHT NOW on the Massai Mara.
After spending a week of joy at Hekima Place and a bit of a resbit at the Karen Blixen Cottages its off to Olonana, the Mara River and the continuation of the trip of a lifetime.
The last few days were very busy entertaining the girls at Hekima Place.

and supplying Mama Tunza's with some much needed essentials such as toilet paper, toothbrushes,toothpaste and soap..

Here's Mary with our dearest Eunice who has stolen all of our hearts.Hasn't she stolen yours as well??

the new Tunza's

The beautiful land that Faces of Kibera purchased with the generosity of our generous friends and family..we all think it looks like Little House on The Prairie

We took the young ones to the Giraffe Center

The bubbly Danielle with one of our Little Women

Ill be quiet whilst on safari.. no phone or internet service..but I will be posting a few pictures of the Birthday Girl tomorrow, my new BFF Mary..

Kwa Heri for now..

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009


Hello from Kenya...

The other day was the 4th anniversary of Hekima Place and we were lucky to be there for the moving celebration . The day began with a Mass under a tent on the property.

The little ones danced the priest up to the altar with their traditional dress.

2 of the girls that were originally from Kibera were baptized.

Of course there had to be a little something to distract us from the moment,

Those would be Safari ants...

For those of you who read the POISONWOOD BIBLE, you would recall, as I did, the horrible scene when the entire village fled their homes, which had been invaded by them. When they returned, the chickens were skeletons, eaten alive by those blasted ants!

I , on the other hand was jumpy the whole time, looking down at my feet, which were,for the most part up in the air- in a Pilates move, the entire time, as were my friends.

They decided to intrude the Mass but Kate and Father were real troopers and stood amidst being bit while handing out Communion.

I was told if they did start to attack, that one must take off your clothing immediately and get them off of you because they bite and do not let go.

I got to say,even with that horrible distraction it was one of the most moving, memorable Masses I have ever been to..

Thursday, August 13, 2009

God Is Good

is a familiar Kenyan saying…

Kenya is a beautiful land of heartwarming people and heartbreaking poverty.

We arrived at 5:35AM at the airport in Nairobi.

No wonder the Kenyans are the best runners in the world. Everyone walks here. Fast. On the side of the road. On the road . In the fields. The Masaii cows roam the grass.

Then it was onto Kibera, the second largest slum in the world. I million people living in a 1 mile radius...
A little angel on my hip- beautiful,pure..but hungry and needing her own bed, parent and a bath desperately.
What a contrast that slum in Kibera is to Hekima Place,the home for girl scholars.

Trying to get used to the smells, the sounds-of unfamiliar birds, dogs and children’s laughter.

The color of the earth is a golden brown- soft and lightweight.
Water is precious here. I am now so thankful for the strong warm morning shower of home.

The people are joyful.
They greet us with firm handshakes, hugs and bright smiles.

I am surrounded by good friends-


and new..

Laughter fills our hearts and our minds.

Tears do too- tears of joy…

What will tomorrow bring?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Afternoon At The Movies

I've got a little secret...

I'm off to Africa.


Not to see those..

but to see them....

with the organization Faces of Kibera... I'll be staying with my great friend Kate Fletcher and her girls at HEKIMA PLACE

I still can't believe it.

I've loaded up on Flip Flops,Games, Popcorn,Clif bars and Saltines and Cheez Wiz (oh yeah)...

Thinking of Africa on this Sunday has brought back to me the vintage treasure THE AFRICAN QUEEN with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.

This scene is SO ROMANTIC...

I will try to post from there so keep an eye out for Granny Kass and her African Folly.

First photo courtesy of FLICKR
Third photo courtesy of FLICKR

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Afternoon At The Movies

I've been at the Jersey shore this week and I've walked past my favorite house many a time...

GrandGirl is very upset that it is my favorite.
She calls it a spooky house and says that a witch lives there.

I'm pretty sure it's not a witch.

But just a nice older lady or man who won't part with their lovely home but don't have the energy to keep it up.

It must have been magnificent on the old days.

It has a portacachere and a big old carriage house in the back.

I told GrandGirl that's the house I want to buy.
We can all dream now can't we?

Grand Girl thinks I'm nuts.

But boy, if I had the money, I'd love to fix it up and live there and be the old woman living in there down the road.

But for now it's Spring Lake's Grey Gardens..
Only much more well kept.

Thinking of spooky houses has gotten me to think about spooky movies.

One of my favorite's, and my kids too, is THE BAD SEED.

It's a classic.

Perfect to share with someone on a stormy night at home.

Someday when GrandGirl is older, we'll do just that.