Monday, August 27, 2007

Kenyan Transportation/Farewell

I am sad to say that it is time for the finale de blogo de Cheetah Man. This won't be as glorious as I had originally planned, given that I got my camera stolen two weeks ago. No safari pics of lions mating, and no badass shots of me dominating the class 5 rapids of the Nile River in Uganda. I am actually really upset about that one because I know none of you actually believe I did that without solid proof. Anyways, enjoy what I have left.

Kenyan Transportation

1. Took Took- (lost picture with camera) basically a motorcycle with a carriage on the back

2. Boda Boda- (lost picture with camera) bicycle taxi. Boda Boda drivers, who I lazily refer to as Bodae, are pretty funny dudes. The funniest thing about them is that they are grown men riding around on bikes with pink puffy seat cushions on the back, and outrageous wheel spoke accessories that would make Pee Wee Herman cry in jealousy.

3. Matatu- Let me try to give you a glimpse into the ridiculous world of the matatu business. Kenya doesn't have a public transportation system, so here it is all private business. Where Philly has SEPTA, Kenya has matatus, bodae, and took tooks. And since most Kenyans can't afford the automobile, transportation is a highly lucrative/fiercely competitive business.

I have lived in both urban and rural sections of this beautiful country, and no place is safe from the wrath of the matatu. In Nairobi, matatus jam pack the streets all hours of the day, causing much stress for everyone. Yet, I believe the matatus in the countryside cause much more chaos, given that there is only one paved road (I use the term "paved" lightly. By "paved", I mean "not mud").

The word matatu is swahili for "decrepid old van used as a taxi."

Matatu Driver' Job Description:
- Operating matatu at highest possible speed at all times
- Barely dodging large potholes and small children
- Running Bodae of the road
- Honking horn every couple seconds for no reason at all
- In case of a horn malfunction, rolling down the window and cursing in your native tribal speak is both accepted and highly encouraged
- (Only in rural Kenya) Ending your work day at sundown to avoid being robbed and murdered by the bandits who lay on the side of the road at night waiting to pillage

But the matatu driver is not alone. He has a henchmen in the back, collecting money from the passengers. His job title is called the matatu conductor, as in "hey let's CONDUCT an experiment to see how many Kenyans we can fit into a (expletive) van!"

Matatu Conductor's Job Description:
- Wearing a maroon vest and pants
- Hanging out the open sliding door at 90 km per hour, holding on with one hand
- Paying off the corrput Kenyan police when they see his matatu is carrying triple the amount of people allowed in a vehicle by law
- Being unnecessarily loud and obnoxious
- Finding muzungus at matatu stops any getting them into the matatu by using any means possible (pleading, begging, grabbing/pulling)
- Once muzungus are in the matatu, rippping them off as much as humanly possible

If you consider yourself a fan of personal space, then you will absolutely rue the day you ever step foot on a matatu. The most people I have shared a matatu is 23. This ride included 3 people hanging out the sliding glass door, grown men lying across people's laps, and the child and the chicken of the lady sitting next to me placed securely on each one of my legs. Other favorite rides include one matatu driver being so drunk that he fell asleep at one of the stops, the drunk passenger who was simultaneously hanging out the sliding door and asking me why Americans think Kenyans are so stupid, and the time some lady's chicken was going so insane that the lady decided it would be best for everyone in the matatu if she ripped its head off. So that's what she did.

Here's a few shots of some gansta ish

But above of the bling.....

Praise the good Lord

4. Peugeots
This section of the blog is dedicated to self-proclaimed Chatam Park Dunkball legend Brian Kane, who has put up with my silly antics for too damn long. The symbol of integrity

For the lucky few in this country who are able to afford an autombile in this country, the brand of choices are limited. But if you want a car with the best combination of class, style, and power, there is only one choice my friend: the Peugeot. I am not positive, but the I studied French at the prestigious Penn State-Delaware County campus, and I believe the word Peugeot is French for "the greatest car of all time, ever."
Ok, so the last two sentences were complete lies. But it's true, Peugeots are very popular here. I took a bus to downtown Nairobi after landing at the airport, and I remember seeing a huge sign with a Peugeot emblem on it. At the time, I didn't know if I was actually seeing the sign for a Peugeot dealership, or was just hallucinating from jet lag and lack of sleep after spending a full day on a plane.

The reason I am writing about this brand of car is because I spent much time in high school riding in one. My old friend Brian Kane used to own a blueish- grey Peugeot station wagon. This car represented a rich history of dudes who went to my high school and drove horrendous automobiles: DiJulia's "Boardmobile", Bruno's "Blue Bomber", Sir Richard F. Crowley's "Battle Wagon", Lesovitz's poop-brown Dodge Aries that didn't even deserve a nickname, etc. Kane traded his cousin two McDonald's cheeseburgers for "The Peuge." Not even kidding.

I have no idea where or how his cousin acquired The Peuge. My guess is he lost a bet. I can still remember asking Kane for the first time where his cousin got that awful car from, and he replied with something like: "well my friend, it was a cold day, and there was a terrible storm approaching on the horizon. The sky was black and the winds were howling. Then suddenly, the clouds opened up and out of nowhere, the hands of God came down from the sky and gently placed The Peuge in front of my cousin's house." Not even kidding.

The truth is, God would've wanted nothing to do with this vehicle. I actually just looked up the word Peugeot in the French dictionary, and it is translated as "mobile dumpster." I used to make Kane happy by agreeing with him that The Peuge looked great, and the ladies really dug it. I would also act like I believed him when he would tell me there was no need to stop at the gas station when you are in the Peuge, because The Peuge only ran on love. Not even kidding.
In all honesty, I will always have much love for The Peuge. I was just saying all of those mean things because when Kane reads this, he will be very upset and angry, and that in of itslef will bring me great joy. The truth is, I have so many great memories of riding in the Peuge, most of which involve throwing trash/eggs/snowballs at people, yelling at the elderly, and terrorizing all of Fairmount Park.
Arguably The Peuge's most glorious moment came when Kane cheated death one morning on the drive into school. The daily no-holds-barred race to school usually started at the Mann Music Center at 52nd and Parkside, and by "started" I mean "turned from friendly little race into a life-threatening competition." I used to get rides in from all different kids to school, but one thing was constant among all the drivers: whenever they saw the Peuge in their rearview mirror, they would curse Kane under their breath and then say a silent prayer, because they knew they were going to go through hell if they were going to beat the Peuge to school.
So one morning, there was about a ten car race up concourse to Girard Avenue. I was in Bruno's supremely haggard "Blue Bomber", which looked and ran like it got caught in one too many acid-rain storms. We were waiting under the Girard Bridge at the light across the street from the Philly Zoo, waiting to turn left onto Girard Ave. I remember Bruno saying that he could care less about winning, he just wanted to beat The Peuge. But Kane had different plans. Sitting in last place and desperate to win, Kane gunned it when the light turned green and went the wrong way through the Girard Ave Bridge underpass, looking like Gene Hackman in "The French Connection," and survived without a scratch to The Peuge. It's still to this day one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. So cheers Bri-Guy, and long live The Peuge.
Look at that beautiful baby

This is a nice picture of Brian Kane's most-favorite automobile and least-favorite person

Alright folks, my days of blogging are now officially over. Ending this blog talking about Peugeouts and making fun of Brian Kane has truly been a dream come true. I compare the feeling to how John Elway felt when he retired right after winning two consecutive super bowls. I would continue to keep the blog going, but I doubt anyone really wants to see pics of me eating Jano's pizza until I get sick and going around Baltimore picking fights with Ravens fans.

I hope you have enjoyed the pics I have put on the blog. Kenya and its people make even a novice photographer like myself take some classic shots. Some of the stuff I have seen in the past 8 months has been literally mind-blowing. Half of this country's residents live under the poverty line. That's 16 million people in one country alone. After doing the work I have done since coming to Kenya, going back to work a desk job just doesnt appeal to me. I think I have found the profession I want to pursue. You guessed it: competitive bodybuilder/freelance romance novelist.

But I am going to use this last paragraph to actually say something serious for the first time on this blog full of silly pictures and unfunny comments. I recommend that, at some point in your lives, you travel to Africa and see how people live here. It will definitely make you think differently about your situation. Americans have a lot to learn from Kenyans, mostly in regards to what really matters in life, and where true happiness should be derived from. Take care of yourselves, look out for one another, and always remember:

"It's in the shelter of each other that people live"
--Irish proverb (thanks Kerry)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Street Boys

Before I start my next blog, I want to let you all know that I am actually coming home early. You can call it a case of the Ole Homesick Blues. No, that's a lie, I just want to be home in time to see the Phillies not make the playoffs. When I get back to the States, I'm going to finish out my year of service at the SND national office in Baltimore, helping with the new group of volunteers, and hopefully doing some work in inner city Baltimore. I actually just got my camera stolen yesterday (sorry mom), so I don't know how many more blog posts I am going to do. I am hoping at least two: Kenyan transportation and Safari. I'll do my best.

Street Boys
It is an unfortunate truth that there are many, many kids in Nairobi who are living on their own. They literally have nothing. Many of them don't have any family, in most causes due to abandonment or losing their entire family to the AIDS virus. The ones that do have family come from situations so bad that living on the street seems like the better option. Nairobi has many progrtams to help the street kids, but the need is so high that only tiny percentage of kids actually get help.

The kids in these next few pictures are part of the VIP project in South B, which is a program of the Mukuru Slum Development Project, that serves street youth by giving them a place to live in the slums, 3 meals a day, and guidance. Their lving conditions aren't the greatest, with 15 kids living in a two room house, a house made of tin an cardboard. But these kids are very happy to be off the street and being cared for. My roomate Helena works there, and she literally spends all day and night with these kids.

Kevin and Peter, striking a pose.

That's my roomate Helena. She hails from glorious Slovakia

Me and the crew

This next group of pictures are of kids from Mary Immacculate Rehabilitation Center in South B. It is run by the Sisters of Mercy and gives the kids housing, food, and a good education. Two of my Irish roomates were working there, so i went down on my free time to help out, most of the time playing permanent goalie during one of the heated 40 kid, every-kid-for-himself soccer match.
Did I ever mention that Kenyans love football? Here's proof. Samuel here turned his school shirt into a football jersey. The name on his shirt sayd DROGBA, in reference to Didier Drogba, the Ivory Coast-born striker on Chelsea.

Lunch time

Time for shamelss promotions. My man Jimmy is holding an Earthtone sticker. Earthtone is a band based out of Annapolis, Maryland. I saw their show in this past New Year's Eve and it was awesome. I told one of the the dudes in the band that I was leaving for Africa in three days and I will get him a cool picture with the sticker. I am a man of my word. I actually had some really awesome group shots with the sticker, but I didn't realize until after that the kids were holding the sticker upside down.

That shirt reads Jano's Pizzeria, Drexel Hill. Pa. the number is 610-259-4316. I can't recommend this place enough.It is the only place I have ever been to where no matter what you order, it is the greatest thingh you've ever eaten.

Micheal, Allan, Mostio, Me, Ephraim, and Paul

They all wanted pictures with my hat on. Needless to say, they were quite shocked when I took my hat off.

This is Brian. He is volunteer from Australia who came over for the summer months. He is teaching the kids Tai Chi


This is Dan the Man. He was doing wrestling impressions so I decided to take a pic. Here is doing his best "Stone Cold" Steve Austin impression, sans a Budwesier pounder in each hand

Here's Allan trying to wipe the dirt off my chin. I spend a lot of the time there just letting kids touch my arms and hair
Here are some kids from St. Katharine primary school, which is connected to Mary Immaculate

A couple of students and a homeless guy in a brown hat

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ice Skating/Best of Fan Mail Pt.II/ Swahili Lessons

Ice skating
So they have an ice skating rink in Nairobi. My Irish roomates were making plans to go, so I decided to join them. Stepping on the ice felt very weird. I haven't been ice skating since probably grade school. I haven't even been in an ice skating arena since I got kicked out of the last Bonner-O'Hara game I went to at the Skatium.

The crew: Tressa, Elaine, Ashleigh, Brian Boitano, and Lisa

Nothing flashy, just showing the ladies some skills.

This is a technique I mastered as a youngin. It's called "eating ice"

This pic here is of Tressa making fun of me for having to use Mr. Happy-Penguin-Ice Skating-Helper

Best of Fanmail pt.II
I now bring you some more excerpts from my favorite emails
1) "How long is your hair? Do you still wear sunscreen? If you got the movies, did you watch 300 yet? If so, did you think it was as incredibly badass as I did? If so, did you think the part when he kicks the dude down the hole was the most badass of all?"

-- Laura Murphy, Annunuciation basketball "B team" lifer

(long enough to be gross, no more sunscreen, I watched 300, it's incredibly badass, and I love it when the king kicks the Persian messenger down the hole. And I officially apologize for the "B team" shout out)

2) "."

-- John Kiely

(still no word from Kiely)

3) "Who is this??"

-- John Kiely, when I called him on Memorial Day to reprimand him for having yet to email me

4) "So I just saw that movie The Last King of Scotland. Anyway, the dictator tells the Scottish guy that Africans find red hair "disgusting." The nerve of thes people! We are unique Keller, we are not freaks. 60 year old women would kill for my hair, and their husbands want to commit adultery with me. Don't let it get ya down."

--Meg "Peg the Chicken Leg" Carrol

(Thanks for the support Meg. But while you hair is indeed the lovliest, I have to admit, my 6 month old quasi-mullet actually is quite disgusting)

5) "Keller, my adventurous-Kenyan-formerboozebuddy-nowpeoplehelper-hotredheaded-friend, I am obsessed with your blog. You almost inspired me to start a blog, but then I remembered that I got my digital camera stolen."

--The beautiful Virginia Genevieve Reardon

6) "I need to get myself a little shanty shack of my own like the beautiful one you came across. Question: do you now refer to yourself as Keller the cheetah shackman? Because I do."
--Chatam Park Dunkball Demi-God Brian Kane

(No Kane, I don't refer to myself as Keller the cheetah shackman. There is something about self-proclaimed nicknames that I find very cheesy. Dudes who give themselves nicknames are the same type of dudes who have web logs. Oh wait....)

7) "Do you have some sort of email address? I know, I know.......first mud hut on the right, 30 paces north of the watering hole, some village, Africa?"

--Havertown all-star Stephanie Campetti

(Your boyfriend TJ has my address, he sends me love letters on a monthly basis)

8) "I love that blog title man."

--Steven W. Shea: Man of the People/Social Work Extraordinaire/One Hell of a Model American

9) "Hey is this the email address where we can make fun of Andrew Murray and get it posted online?"

--Kevan "Baby Mullet" Iffrig

(This is indeed that email address. Spread the word)

10) "That Steve Shea guy sounds like a real class individual; on the other hand, that Andrew Murray kid sounds like a real loser."

--anyone who has read my blog that doesn't know Steve Shea or Murrdawg

(I couldn't agree more)

11) "Shea, what a great guy. Murray what a loser."

--anyone who has read my blog that knows both Shea and the Murrdiggitron
(once again, I couldn't agree more)

12) "Just writing you this letter to inform you that I was reading an article in Time magazine and I came across this essay about the Kibera slum in Nairobi. It talks about a 5'11, 160 pound redhaired demon with brown spots all over it that terrorizes the slum. I was actually thinking of doing some service after college like you, because you are my idol. Actually no, David Hasselhoff is my idol, but you are a close second. Actually no, it's David Hasselhoff and then Roseanne, but you're by every means a close third."

--Jimmy Byrne

(Hey that's really funny Jimmy. You should just bag college and hit the road as a stand up comic. Hey remember when we were younger and I used to make you eat dirt and then beat you up until you cried? Man, those were the days)

13) "P.S. Always remember the wise words of Patrick Swayze, 'Nobody puts baby in the corner.'"

--Pat McKeever

(Speaking of Patrick Swayze, if anyone wants to see McKeever's impression of Swayze's dance number from Dirty Dancing, go to the Ocean Drive in Sea Isle on any Saturday afternoon for happy hour and look for a pathetic loser either dancing by him self or grinding with Sean Heenan)

14) "Iowa pretty much sucks. But things could be worse, I could be LIVING IN AFRICA." --Mike Albert Frank

(thanks for the support Mikey boy)

15) "Guess what? Everyone still goes down to Sea Isle and acts like drunken idiots. It's like, 'hey guys you wanna relax with a few beers?' 'Nah, we'd rather drink until someone pukes, then throw McStravog through a plate glass window.' Ahh to be 17.... ooo wait we're 24."

--Delaware County Rock Icon Matt Johnsen

(I see Sea Isle hasn't changed a bit)

16) "I read your blog and was trying to think of something funny to write so you would put it up and people would be like, "I saw what you wrote on Keller's blog, that was really funny." And I would be like, "YEA THAT WAS FUNNY."

--Kevan "Baby Mullet" Iffrig

(2 shoutouts on one blog post? Consider yourself famous Brospeh)

17) "Yo Keller,
Schlegel told me about the blog this weekend so I wanted to toss you an email and see how you are doing. The blog has been hilarious and I can't wait to keep reading about your exploits in Kenya. Hopefully as an athletic instructor your doing your best Kevin Bacon and showing the trademark Jimmy Doolan Shake and Bake move that revolutionized the game in rural Africa. In the mean time, I thought I would fill you in on some happenings back home

1.The shore is pretty decent. Leo Muldoon is still dominating the happy hour scene, but without the random Keller and T. Nowlan sightings, Sea Isle just isn't living up to last year

2. They opened a McGillicuddy's in Manayunk. We go randomly on Thursday nights. They sell alrge bottles of Golden Monkey--which you need to remember for my next point......

3. Hepp and I found out that when Dijulia drinks and you remind him of wetting the bed, he will wet the bed 99% of the time. Needless to say, when we are out and John drinks, we will most certainly bring it up. This fact has led to him wetting Kelly's bed close to 15 times so far in 2007. Various Friday morning text messages include:
"April Showers bring May flowers, but Thursday nights bring Bed Showers"
"It's pouring outside now. It was raining in Kelly's bed last night at about 4am"

4. Hepp still looks great when reminding John he wets the bed....

5. Mayhew is moving to Boston for work and to go to BC for grad school. This led him to commit the idea of completely changing who he is. When in Boston, he will no longer be called Patrick, but will go by the name 'Boston Rick'. He will wear sunglasses, regardless the time of day. He will run marathons and do charity work--or at least tell people he does. He said that we can only visit if we refer to him as 'Boston Rick', so noody has any idea of his previous life.

6. McKeever loves to dance in Sea Isle.....especially by himself. He looks like an idiot

7. Finally, Keith has almost been arrested twice in Sea Isle in the month of July. First, for fighting bouncers at the Springfield after they wouldn't let him bring his drink into the bathroom (a long standing rule at the Springfield that has never been a problem before). Second, for kicking flowers off a grave by the Sea Isle library. Both times my roomates looked at him with unmatched disdain.

Seriously though, what you are doing over there is awesome. I wish I had the guts to do something like that. We're all proud of you back here. keep up the good work and keep living the dream."

--Tim "Shags" O'Shaughnesy

(That email was so good I had to put it all on. Shags, tell "Boston Rick" he will always be the third biggest slob of all-time, right behind Quinn and McCafferty)

Swahili Lesson
Here are some Swahili phrases that I have used regularly since coming to Kenya

1) Swahili: Jina langu ni Brian
Translation: "My name is Brian."
(I tell anyone I meet that my name is Brian. Most Kenyans don't know Ryan, so they either call me Brian or Riel. So I chose Brian)

2) Swahili:Ninatoka Marekani, lakini hakuna, si jui 50 Cent. Ndiyo, Ninapena Obama.

Translation: "I am from America, but no, I do not know 50 Cent. Yes, I like Obama.
(When I tell people that I am from the US, the first two questions usually asked is if I personally know 50 Cent, and if I am going to vote for Democratic candidate Barrack Obama, whose father is a member of the celebrated Luo tribe of Kenya)

3) Swahili: Polle sana, Si na pesa
Translation: "I am very sorry, I have no money."
(most often-used phrase)

4) Swahili: Mimi ni mwananchi Kenya. Si taki bei ya mtallee
Translation: "I am a resdient of Kenya. I don't want tourist price."
(This is used when I am trying to buy something and the vendor is trying to rip me off because
he thinks I am a Muzungu tourist)

5) Swahili: Tafadhali usinisumbue
Translation: "Please stop bothering me."
(I say this to that one guy who is hassling me no matter where I go. There is alwasy someone with something to say. You'd be suprised how many times it has worked. Usually the guy stops making fun of me because he is speechless at the fact that someone who looks like me can actually speak swahili)

6) Swahili: Usiogope!

Translation: "Do not be afraid!"

(second most-used phrase. I say this one to all the young children that I have made run away crying at the sight of my red quasi-mullet, which at this point has to number in the tens of thousands)

7) Swahili: Wewe ni mzuri sana, lakini mimi ni priest
Translation: "You are very beautiful, but I am a priest."
(I say this to the Kenyan girls who try to flirt with me when we go out. It's much nicer and easier than saying "polle sana, si na pesa")

8) Swahili: Hapana asante buana, niko sawa
Translation: "No thank you sir, I am ok"
(this phrase is used when I get asked, "Hey white man, you want to buy some Bob Marley cigarettes?")

9) Swahili: Mimi ni Peter Crouch
Translation: "I am Peter Crouch."
(Peter Crouch plays football for English Premier League powerhouse Liverpool. He is tall, gangly, lanky, oafy, and squirrelly. And every Kenyan thinks that i am him, so i tell them what they want to hear)
10) Swahili: John Kiely hawana warafiki
Translation: "John Kiely doesn't have friends"
(pretty self-explanatory)

11) Swahili: Rafiki yangu, Tommy Nowlan, hawapendi kuoga
Translation: "My friend, Tommy Nowlan, doesn't like to take showers."
(Ok, I don't really say this one that often, but it's definitely true)
And before I go.......
Happy Birthday Mom.
I love ya and I miss you very much

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Steven W. Shea: Man of the People/ Social Work Extraordinaire/ One Hell of a Model American

So I found out in late March that my buddy Steve Shea was coming to town for the whole month of June. He sent me an email first telling me that he reads my blog, and that it's the greatest website in the history of man. Nothing new, I get emails like that on the daily. But then he informed me that he was coming to Africa and wasn't leaving until we met up. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. It's been a while since I have seen someone I knew, especially someone as classy as Steven W. Shea.

I have known Steve for a couple of years now. He went to Fairfield University with my old friend, St. Denis Bulldawg football deity Adam Hepp. Steve is also an Avalon regular, hanging out with some of society's finest: John Paul "Boards" DiJulia, B. Mallon, Pat "the mayor" Nowlan, Hammy, and Matt "Nelson Mandela" Mullin. He even used to work at PJ Ryan's with all-star bartender Drew Zuccarini. He also knows Brian Kane, but they aren't really friends, mostly because Kane doesn't have any friends. (I am finished with the shameless shout-outs)

Steve is now taking classes atUPenn, where he is studying to receive degrees in both social work and non-profit leadership. He came to Kenya with a program that was funded and supervised by professors from the University of North Carolina. There were about 25 people in the group, most of whom either had social work backgrounds, or were in the middle of their studies. The purpose of the trip was to see how social work is applied somewhere outside the United States. The group got to experience what life is like for millions of Kenyans who live in inhumane conditions. They visited NGO's and non-profits that aimed to help street kids, slum dwellers, people suffering with HIV/AIDS, and those living in abstract poverty.

Along with the great work they saw being done, the group also took a trip to the coast for two days to see the Indian Ocean, and went on safari for a whole weekend. Steve's days were busy until about 7:30 pm every night, so I would usually meet up with him and a couple of kids from his group afterwards to hang out. And on Steve's free days, we did our best to see as much of Nairobi as we possibly could. We went to the Massai Market to get harrased by street vendors, and went to the elephant orphanage and the giraffe sanctuary. I let him sit in on one of my first classes as a teacher, and he let me crash on the floor of his room at the Hilton (fair trade). We even went out to a few clubs for cocktails and danced like only us unhip, uncool white boys can (to the horror of every Kenyan present).

After Steve's trip ended on the last week of June, he hopped on a bus and took a 13-hour ride to Kumpala, the capital city of Uganda, our neighbor to the west. He met up with another Fairfield alumnus named Tim Savage, who is volunteering with the Peace Corps. I actually met Tim at Hepp's graduation party, and we had a good conversation discussing our plans for the mother land. And then later that night, we were hanging out in the backyard, Mike Mailey fell out of a folding chair, which was probably the highlight of my summer.

So the last part of that paragraph was a little off the subject, but seeing a 230 pound beast fall backwards out of a chair is just too good not to mention.

Moving along. So when I labeled Steve as a social work extraordinaire, I wasn't exaggerating. For a term project at school, Steve helped set up the Kids' Zone Mentorship Program, which was designed to give tutoring, counseling, and mentoring to underprivelidged youth growing up in Germantown, Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, and other poverty-stricken/violence-ridden areas of Philly. A couple of days after Steve gets back to the States, he is moving to NYC to intern for the Arthur Ashe Foundation. In addition, Steve is also an mentor/sponsor at the Gesu School in north Philly, which sits right next to my old high school, St. Joe's Prep. Small world. Gesu is the first school I ever tutored at.

The Man of the People in deep thought. Here he is trying to comprehend just how good a football player Adam Hepp was in grade school

Steve Shea and Ryan Keller: arguably the most dominant tandem of all time

Here are pictures from the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage. The David Sheldrick Wildlfe Trust is an NGO that rescues baby elephants whose parents have been killed either by poachers or disease. The site is open to visitors from 11 am- noon everyday, for feeding time.

The stampede

That bottle was done in about ten seconds

Later enormous tree branch

I tried to think of something interesting to write about this pic. I couldn't think of anything. This is me touching an elephant's butt.

After visiting the orphanage, I came to the conclusion that no matter what species of life you belong to, if you live in Kenya, you play soccer.

Here are some pics from the Nairobi Giraffe Center:


This giraffe is actually 27,000 ft tall


My look of shock comes from both the size of the giraffe's head and the fact that I was about to feed a giraffe. I was scared it was going to eat my arm

Giraffe tongues are black, slimy, and smelly. But you'd be suprised how good they taste (see below).

Shea getting taunted by a mammoth beast

The kiss of death.
It's funny to think that this guy's profession involves showing visitors how to properly feed giraffes from their mouths. He must get tongued by a giraffe at least 25 times a day.Talk about working hard for the money.

Goin in for the kill


This is me trying to pretend I didn't love it

This is me showing Shea the ancient Kenyan ritual of drinking beer. Actually that's a lie. That's me trying to get the taste of giraffe tongue out of my mouth

Two happy nerds (side note: Shea grew that beard in 8 hours)
So June turned out to be easily the best month in Kenya so far. Steve got to go on Safari, ride the rapids down the Nile River, and got to see both the Indian Ocean and Uganda, our neighbor to the west. I got to see the first familiar face in 6 months, and Steve got to experience the craziness that is life in Nairobi, Kenya. Cheers Stevey boy, come back soon. And tell Sherwood I said hello.