MarkChristopherTN (5k image)Clearing out the junk in my home directory I just found this pic of me and Christopher.

Christopher is the groundsman at the wonderfully named “Nice View Academy”: a private (run for profit: teachers get next to nothing) primary school that is next to Holy Rosary College. We had this pic taken because:

**a)** He, like most Kenyans, loves having “snaps” taken and getting a mzungu into one is good form. Particularly since its a given that the mzungu is going to pay (20 Bob) for the print. Actually we have always got on well and he has taken care to warn me against “being free with people” (inviting strangers into my home) and to be back home by dark becuse the area is not entirely safe.

**b)** We both were childishly amused by the huge difference in our heights.

Developing and printing here always produces dodgey results like this (see the top of my head is missing) though it might be that the films are too fast and get overexposed.

MarkChristopher (24k image)

I think this must have been taken around this time last year because I have a tie and a long-sleve jumper on. July is the coldest month. I don’t know what the actual temperature is today but despite the sun, its chilly and I have three layers on (though short sleved). I’m making the most of it: December is bloody hot!


  1. Mark Says:

    Son second thoughts I dont think it was July because there are puddles on the ground and out there today it’s definitely dry. :O

  2. Chris Says:


    Come out come out wherever you are!!!! :doze:

  3. africanbeautie Says:

    Hey!Hey what do you mean???

    ….like most Kenyans, loves having "snaps" taken and getting a mzungu into one is good form. Particularly since its a given that the mzungu is going to pay (20 Bob) for the print.

    In my opinion Some wazungus in kenya are not even affording that 20Bob!Some have left their countries of origin to seek comfort in our land!there is plenty and pretty in KENYA and you all know that.
    Remember gone are the days of the White man Boss tis a new generation who cant even view a mzungu as a source of income!

    here is another one"area is not entirely safe"Has there been bomb scare?Thugs/thiefs etc are everywhere at least they are not qualified like the wazungu hackers!!!!so be encouraged the much they can do is cut your head off!

    So ones again an illustration of attitude!!!

    Couses me more worry!

  4. Mark Says:

    First I appologise for misrepresenting the source of this information here. I should not have written "like most kenyans" because I have not met most kenyans so I do not know. I ought to have said "like most kenyans I have met". The qualification "like most kenyans" applies to "love having snaps takan".

    The judgement about how safe my area is was made by Christopher himself. I don’t know what standards he used to come to that judgement. I don’t think he was comparing walking home from Tala market after dark with riding on the Tube during rush hour.

    The issue about the implicit expectation of my paying for the D&P was a bitter reaction to the manifest expectation that I experience all to often here: that I will pay. One afternoon, after spending a whole day locked in my house hacking in the psychologically comfortable company of my computer, I ventured out to the small shop at the road near my house. On that journey no less than three people asked me for money. I don’t know whether or not its because I have white skin. I am one of only a handful of wazungu living in this area of whom I am well known locally to be a volunteer rather than a resident. Volunteers like me are comparatively wealthy since I am paid a local salary roughly equivalent to that of a teacher in the city so by local standards in Tala, I am certainly wealthy. Those who know me know that, but some of those who asked were (to my knowledge) strangers. On first sight my local village seemed friendly. People are keen to make contact with the stranger. But they are also quick to follow that up with a request. My experience since I arrived has lead me to treat friendly strangers with indifference.

    so be encouraged the much they can do is cut your head off!

    :O Well I’m **not** encouraged. If that’s what’s in store for me, let me leave today, why should I stay? Surely I have enough money to pay for D&P, when it suits me, I do so. I also have enough spare cash to pay for sweets, pencils, cups of tea and the other things that random people ask me for. I will not do so.

    Right or wrong, I do not consider it my role here to exfoliate small amounts of money. From the perspective of VSO, who paid to send me here, my role is to share my skills and experience which, African Beautie accurately observes, are a kind of privilige for me. It would be very difficult for even the brightest and most wealthy Kenyan to gain the experience I have been fortunate enough to have. It is the busines of VSO to send people with this kind of personal assets to places where those assets are in short supply. I have my own selfish reasons for being here; I have never claimed to have volunteered out of generosity. Neither of these parties (myself and VSO) consider it my role to distribute money. This could have been done much more effectively* without getting me involved: my air fare and the cost of my training in the UK before I left could have been added to the cost of my health insurance and my monthly allowance. If the object was to disempower Kenyans who qualify by international standareds as "objectively poor" this could be done much more effectively with food aid or the kinds of random, unsustainable handouts I’ve seen made by CCF.

    * note the value judgement based on utility

    Finally, of course this is an illustration of my attitude. The whole purpose of this website is for me to illustrate my attitude. And the reason I allow anyone to make comments is because I welcome your reflections of that attitude.
    Your comments on this entry and the next have made me think and I thank you very much for them. I intend to continue to publish my opinion here as long as the Internet remains a forum for free speech. I hope you will continue to read my postings and to add your observations on them. Welcome to

  5. africanbeautie Says:

    I appreciate that i have permission to make comments.

    Thanks for understanding me,ofcourse this what makes life interesting knowing how others view you,their reactions when they receive a mosquito bite,their culture,how much they are worth etc.

    Pherhaps i had not known the aim of your site,now i know and appreciate the illustration of your negative (sorry to say)attitude.

    I can do nothing about it.

    Any time i make an observation i shall gladly comment!

  6. otherafricanbeauty Says:

    africanbeauty needs a reality check…mark i am kenyan and dont feel offended at all by your comments. infact they are refreshingly honest
    i too love taking snaps, and i know lots of ‘countrymen’ who will look at a ‘mzungu’ as a kind of bank account…
    and yes not all parts of kenya are safe (duh).
    africanbeauty GET REAL,…mark keep blogging.

    ps:thanks for voluteerimg in tala, not many people would bother.

  7. Mark Says:

    Hey, this is a very encouraging comment too. Where are you located Otherafricanbeauty? Welcome and thanks! 🙂

  8. otherafricanbeauty Says:

    i live n work in nairobi n like to read blogs…and comment sometimes.

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