Monday, July 21, 2014

Bamba at Ferry

The past two weeks we’ve been pushing Bamba Water at the ferry and it’s been encouraging. Sales are going up and most people in the area know the product. I am happy to see some of the attitudes of our employees change, too. Change is hard so seeing a positive response over a few days’ time has our employees thinking yes we can! I am also impressed with Ben, I think he is the only manager in Kenya who is willing to work side by side with our employees.

Meet Christian our 18-year old intern for 6 weeks 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pregnancy Panic and a Day in Takaungu

Waiting for high tide
6 months!
Zinj Leather Shop
He ate all three meals with us and his only response was "poa" which translates to "cool"
Guard donkeys work just as well as dogs
Takaungu Beach
Mango pit stop on the way home

We are at the 6-month mark and it's been the most eventful week in the pregnancy thus far. I bought my plane ticket to the USA and then panicked on Thursday when my ultrasound report moved my due date up two whole weeks! This was distressing because it threw off mine and Ben’s individual plans on heading back to the States. Visions of giving birth without Ben consumed my mind. I already feel like being apart from Ben for a month was a gamble and then this objectionable report brought on some serious anxiety. Hours later I met with Dr. Mahesh Chudasama, thank goodness, and he eased all my fears. He explained my ultrasound was done an older machine that gave an estimated due date and doesn't take into account all measurements and timelines. Panic subsided and now we are all on schedule – baby, Ben and I. I'll be arriving in Hotlanta, Georgia on August 31 while Ben and baby should be joining me in October, hopefully in that order.

Also, this week Delta offered some of the best service I've had in years. I never thought I’d give a good review of Delta, customer services agents, or any airlines for that matter; but I'd be on hold for another hour as long as Delta rendered the same superior service. Everyone was so helpful and patient. I must document these unique events. They are great reminders that things work out and I should spend more time appreciating this pregnancy, and less time worrying about the details. As everything slowly falls into place I am so grateful for the support I'm receiving from loved ones and strangers.

Friday night we headed to Takaungu with our two new interns Jeff and Jess. I failed to get a group picture but we had a great time on the creek, ocean, and visiting the local leather shop

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bamba Water at Utange Primary School

We made the front page!

A few weeks ago (I am behind on blogging) we went to Utange Primary School and donated Bamba Water. The kids were so excited and couldn't wait to get their hands on some maji Bamba. Getting out of the office and spending time with the children was a great change of pace. The special needs class was my favorite, I could have spent all day with them. I'm looking forward to any future donation event because I love events and its fun sharing great products with people.

One thing I want to mention is our mission at Motiis and Bamba Water is to create and build for-profit companies in Kenya. Our products are seldomly donated because, at the risk of sounding like Jack Donaghy, we need to make a profit in order to scale. On the flip side, our water is top quality and the most affordable. At 10 shillings everyone has to opportunity to purchase clean water.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ari and Behrus Take Mombasa

Visiting and home teaching turned into a work out. One of our branch members built this gym beside his home.
My visiting teaching companions for the evening
Arches at Fort Jesus
Fort Jesus
Spice Market
25th birthday and the day I like to mark as the day the belly popped! 
Ari at sunrise outside our apartment
Monsoons - our favorite restaurant and more crab please

I realized I don't have a lot of pictures of Behrus because he took all of our photos. I promise he was there and an awesome travel companion. Thank you Ari and Behrus from coming out, I loved every minute of your vacation (and the schnitzel!). 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Takaungu, Kenya

Thanks to The Good Line, I won a camera a few months back, which inspired a great Bday gift
from Ben. A new lens! We had some fun with it this trip. Shouldn't this be an advertisement
for Naish SUP boards?!
Acting like children, pre-children
I begged Ben to take this photo that way in 20 years I can say "Remember when
we had matching swimsuits in Kenya?"
Worth it.
The waves were terrible, but Jason and Ben always give it a go

I can casually write about Ariana and her dad, Behrus, visiting us for 10 days; but the reality is, I was ecstatic and on cloud nine! I am so grateful to anyone who makes the long journey out here. It becomes a personal mission to make everyone's visit worthwhile and memorable. Thank goodness Kenya relieves some of that pressure with all it has to offer. Plus, the Fairbournes made it easy and were great hosts.

One weekend the Fairbournes organized a trip for all of us to visit Takaungu. Located 45 min north of Mombasa, the cottages we stayed at were on the mouth of the creek that lead out to the ocean. We spent the whole time on the water, paddle boarding up and down the creek, hanging out on the beaches, eating Swahili food and spending time with one another. We all appreciated getting out of the city and touristy places; the whole area felt untouched and picturesque. Although, I'm sure plenty of people visit Takaungu, it is too beautiful to be a secret.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Personal Updates

5 months now, I guess I better share some of this pregnancy experience. My body is at the point (maybe a week late on this) where, if I was in the States people would notice my body changing, but would be too scared to ask if I was pregnant. Not here in Kenya. The ladies are constantly keeping it real. The only people who suspected my pregnancy early on were the Kenyan women around me; they have a sixth sense. Comments about bigger boobies and getting fat are the norm, which is why my Askari Georgina was the first to officially find out. I appreciate their bluntness; it validates my laziness and back pain cause this belly is popping! 

Ben and I have said since our wedding day that 2014 would be our year, but this joyful pregnancy started with bouts of denial. Our story in a few sentences… In middle of February I took a pregnancy test cause my boobs were killing. It read positive. I showed Ben, thinking shouldn’t we be jumping or crying? Nope, Ben’s first words, "Once you throw up I’ll believe it." I agreed. I was convinced I would know if I was pregnant. 

We didn't talk or act on it for two weeks. Two Saturdays later we bought Canadian and Chinese brand pregnancy tests, just in case, and they both read positive. By that time we figured family would be visiting the next week and we'd start sharing the good news. 

First trimester I felt fine. Some foods sounded divine, while others I could do without. I was lucky to have the Stevens visit most of March and be here for the 12-week ultrasound. Pregnancy while abroad can feel lonely cause when I want to call or text my favorite moms I realize its 3 am their time and hold back on communication. I loved having family here in the first trimester because it made everything feel real. Also, their jet lag was convenient because it allowed me to nap almost every day.

I didn't know the pregnancy was affecting me until I hit the second trimester. At 13 weeks I felt like myself; more energy, cravings were not as dramatic and my mood leveled out. Now the pregnancy is over halfway done and it is still surreal. Don't know if it will hit me until the babe is out. Our plans are still a little up in the air: what state will the baby be born in, should we find out the gender, etc. One thing is for sure, the Fairbournes (Natalie, particularly) are the best thing/family to happen to our family. Ben is able to stay sane because Nat hears most of my complaints, makes amazing meals, and eases some anxieties. Ben has been great on this wild ride of emotions. I am lucky Ben and the future babe have treated me well these past 5 months.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Never Say Never, Stepping off my Soapbox

See the resemblance? 

It is embarrassing that I wrote this emotional post but it must be published. It will be a painful reminder in the future to never say never. A few months ago I would worry about future conversations I would have back home and (naively) thought, "How will dear ole me transition into life back home with car, 4G, feather pillows, church, etc?" I went so far as to write a list of things I would NOT do when I move back to the USA, a soapbox of sorts. Now I am pregnant, humbled, and ready to hop off this box. Ladies and gentleman, I am materialist and can live up to every American stereotype. Things I planned on never doing...

1. Never obsess over food, diets, and food trends... because only people in first world countries struggle with too much food variety and diets
2. Never complain about visiting teaching... because it won't ever compare with walking for 3 hours in the sun
3. Never complain about power bills... because reliable power is a luxury and it has a price tag
4. Never complain about American police officers... Ok, getting a ticket is worth complaining, but I won't afraid of getting arrested or having to pay a bribe
5. Never pay full price for designer anything... there are too many name brand items floating around Kenya for $5
6. Never complain about bugs... so many mental breakdowns over ants
7. Never spend unnecessary money on a baby

Alas, I am looking back on this list cringing. Being pregnant has warped me back to teenage Tash where I want brownie bites, my mom, and freedom. I want the freedom to choose whatever I want -- which is pretty darn first-world American if you ask me. Veruca Salt's got nothing on me with my desire to choose things like comfortable thermostats, underwear with no waistbands, ice, Thai food, baby carriers, organic, and more! Currently I search the hashtag #foodporn and stare at food. Ariana is visiting in a few weeks and she is bringing me 15 lbs of food! Food was #1 on my never to-do list and now I break it, all day, every day. Pathetic. Basically, I thought living in Kenya would be a humbling experience, but instead it was making me self- righteous. Pregnancy is a humbling experience and thank gosh I have Kenya to help keep me in line.