Monday, February 12, 2018

Adventures in Africa 2018: Week One, Nairobi

Annamaria in Nairobi

My luck has held!  Here is the evidence.

Day one: Getting settled in my digs for this week

Perfect workspace for the historical novelist and her research materials

Day Two: A meet up with my friend Shel Arensen - Editor and Publisher of Old Africa Magazine and writer of the Lakewood Birding Club international birdwatching mystery series.  Shel helped me research the local history in the most delightful way.  In the 1914 Vera and Tolliver book that I am working on now, my characters are establishing themselves on a farm.  Shel arranged for us to visit a farm that was established during the same time period--Kiambethu Farm in Limuru.

Good Morning, Africa

Scenery on the way Kiambethu Tea Plantation

On the road: bodaboda men waiting for assignments.
They provide transport for people and packages.

The historic farm house in its gorgeous English garden

I arrived early, not knowing how long the drive would take, so I got to spend
quiet time absorbing the atmosphere of the house.

Including a plaque for the Kenya Police,
the descendant service of the Protectorate Police of my Justin Tolliver

And an album of family photographs, including baby pictures
of the current owner's mother and her sisters.  Now I know what
Will Tolliver and his infant sister wore.  You can bet that in a
future book they will be riding around in one of the these.
A bird feeder with long-tailed fiscals
Fields of tea are evergreen and gorgeous

And a splendid lunch on the front lawn
A stop on the way back to Nairobi at the colonial church
And a visit to the grave of the eminent archeologist and paleoanthropologist,
Louis Leakey
That evening, Shel launched his latest book at the historic Muthaiga Club.  The book will now be a part of my research library.

Day Three: The Karen Blixen Museum

I had been here three years ago, but a return visit was in order, especially since in my WIP, my characters are building their farm house.  So I took a special interest in:

Period farm equipment

What sort of floors Vera and Tolliver might install

A period bathroom
and a closet
And the kitchen stove

Day Four: My friend anti-poaching ranger and conservationist Michael Lenamaido drove seven hours to introduce me to his wife Sarah Lesiamito.  Sarah and her work deserve their own post soon in the future.  Suffice it to say for now, that she is a warrior for the rights of disabled children and against female circumcision--a theme in The Blasphemers--and forcing girls into early marriage.  
She is exactly the beautiful, strong woman she looks to be!

There is already more to tell.  Coincidences and surprises are saved for next week!


  1. Wonderful inspiration for you! Hope it carries on. Have fun.

    1. I feel so blessed to be here, Michael. I Blogger actually functioned properly, there was good coffee and no mosquitoes, I would feel as if I were in paradise. SOON!

  2. Thank you, Michael. I am so blessed to be here. Now if only Blogger would let me open "reply," and the mosquitoes would go away, I would feel as if I am in heaven.

  3. See what I mean about Blogger!! I see the comment disappear and ten minutes later, it shows up, AFTER I the earlier response. WEIRD!!

  4. Very jealous, can't wait to read the next installment. Aren't I lucky that I travel all over the world while still here at my work desk in snowy Glasgow!

    1. Caro, that’s the beauty of MIE for me too. I feel so lucky to be where I am, and to have my blog crowd—writers and readers to share it with.

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  6. I love the way you make friends wherever you go. It's a blessing...for all concerned, including your MIE family.

  7. See you soon world Reno at Left Coast Crime!