Going to the Movies

I’ve been to the cinema twice here in Nairobi, once to see The Hobbit and then the latest Die Hard movie. When we are in a new country we go and see a movie just for the experience.

It all started with watching 2012, showing in Arusha Tanzania. Pete hated going especially since there was an outdoor cafe outside and he despises those types of movies. After 8 weeks on the road I told him he owed his kids that much. He survived.

In 2011, Liz and I were on our almost solo trip to Uganda as Pete was holed up in a very nice hospital in Kenya with a broken leg. Since we were staying in a $15 a night motel we splurged out and went to see Rise of The Planet of the Apes. We thought it was a bit risky to leave our bags at the security desk but had no option. But for $6 we got a movie and a Coke. A pity there was no air conditioning but since we there were only 3 of us in there I ripped off my hiking boots and rolled up my pants. There’s not many fun things to do in Kampala, but I do suggest the cinema.

As soon as the Hobbit arrived in Nairobi, Liz and I jumped on some motorbikes and headed up to the local mall. Actually, bodaboda’s are a really cheap way to get around town, all of $1 to get to our mall. I hadn’t read the book so it was kind of vague and I didn’t know the movie was a trilogy so I was a bit of a let down. Also, the teenyboppers behind me were like “OMG is that for real, if it were me…” the whole way through the movie. Really wanted to turn around and slap them silly but you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t. On the upside, we didn’t fry because of a lack of air conditioning and then we accidentally bumped into some fellow Aussies in the cafe next door.

There’s a small but nice waiting area where you can buy some snacks and wait for the doors to open, there’s a flat screen TV playing previews and there’s even some toilets. Here’s the sign outside the lift:

theatre 2

Roll forward to 2013 and Die Hard. Liz was keen as mustard to see it. Me, I like the action, hate Bruce Willis’ language, I just want to get in there with some soap and a toothbrush to wash out his mouth. Seriously, there’s no need for every second word to be the ‘F word’. We dragged Pete along under the guise of a dad/daughter date, with me as the tag along. I was seriously surprised at how little swearing there was in comparison to his other Die Hard movies (or it’s been so long since I saw them that I’ve forgotten). Entry was a whopping $5 each and for another $5 we all got a bottle of fizzy and the most delicious caramel popcorn. Because it’s been here for so long there were only 7 of us in the theatre, all adults and although the air con wasn’t on, it was quite pleasant.

theatreHere’s one of the theatres, there’s 4 in the nearest cinema.

I’m looking forward to May when a whole bunch of decent movies come out. The TV shows here are really old and if you choose to buy DVD’s on the side of the road (we don’t) the sound can be terrible, the movies don’t work or they suddenly stop halfway through.

I’m not sure if I can convince Pete to come again as he’s not a big theatre fan, but Liz and I will definitely take some time out from all of our work here. There’s nothing quite like zoning out of reality for a couple of hours and having a breather. While most people here can’t afford the $5 to go to the movies, it’s something we can do every few months that doesn’t mean eating ugali, corruption, dealing with poverty or avoiding potholes bigger than the car.

Why I Hate Glee

Millions worldwide are glued to their TV screens each week that Glee is on. When it first came out I thought it was a fantastic show, until the morals started sliding and anything and everything was permissible.


Everyone is entitled to their opinions so I thought as a different type of blog I would express my thoughts and some of the things we can actually learn from the show.

Why I hate Glee:

1. Addiction to it by millions is an understatement

Enough said on that one. Anything young people plan their life around, they have to move their schedule for, or you can’t skype them during that time, is annoying.


2. It’s so unreal

Think about it, these guys never go to the toilet, look way too old to be in school, have to do jobs at home or have to do the dishes. It’s escapism to the max! Mostly though, that’s why we like to be entertained, to take us to a totally different place from our every day lives. It would be interesting to see the ratings for National Geographic compared to Glee. I wonder if Sir David Attenborough watches Glee after spending years out in the freezing cold with the penguins?


3. The kids rule the parents

There doesn’t seem to be any sort of boundaries put in place or repercussions for when the kids play up. It gives the kids watching the show the impression that’s how life should be. People actually believe that what they see at the movies and on TV is real. Just ask my students.


4. Teachers have no self control

Either they are complete Nazi’s like Sue Sylvester or a total walkover like Will Schuester or the flaky Emma Pillsbury. There doesn’t seem to be any balance in between. They’re busy dealing with manipulation, affairs or break ups. If the teaches have no self control how do they expect the kids to. What happened to teachers specialising in education to ensure a good future for our kids?


5. Kids have no self control

I know the show is about the kids and not their parents or lack of them, but my goodness, if every single child in the world acted like these kids, I might as well give up my job. It’s true, the average age for a young person to have their first sexual encounter is 17 (for many, much younger) and we all know how hormonal driven young people are but do we really need to relive it on the screen? With all the sexually driven advertising, pre-schoolers being sexualised and full on sex scenes in movies, do we need to hear about it all again? Why can’t we be talking about commitment, sticking in there when times are tough, give and take, relationships and strong marriages?


6. The writers wanted to have something for both adults and kids to watch

You must be kidding? Sure, as a parent I really want my kids watching a teenager losing his/her virginity and a whole show dedicated to it (NOT). The show is so well packaged and marketed we have to ask ourselves – what values as a family do we hold? Does what we’re watching support those values?


Lessons Learned

  • Parents, keep an eye on what your kids are watching
  • Talk to your kids about their choices in life, in a Biblical perspective
  • Your kids might not tell you, but they feel safe when you put in boundaries and keep them
  • Limit their TV time (when was the last time you read with them?)
  • If you’re an educator, you need to carry yourselves responsibly because young people are looking up to you


Why I like Glee

  1. They sound great when they sing

The actors do really well at fitting in their lines, choreography and songs that go into the show. The sound good, they look good. That is it.

Lessons Learned

  • We should learn to sing more, enjoy life more and hug our kids more

Each episode costs 3 million dollars to produce with 22 episodes per season. I leave it up to you to decide if this is the best investment of that amount of money.

Yes I am filthy rich!

Last week one of our co-workers made a statement ‘it’s okay for you guys, you’re rich’. They didn’t say it to me (which is just as well) but to Pete. It really bugged me. There’s always the assumption that just because you’re white, you must have loads of money.

I suppose, when you live in a country where the majority work for $5 a day or less, then what we make does make us magnificently rich.

Richness goes far beyond the money you earn.

I know of people who live a lavish lifestyle, drive the best cars, fly first class all the time and where cash is never in short supply. In this sector there are those who are the most miserable and there are those who are happy as anything.

I also know people who have absolutely nothing, live in a shack, looking for work and struggle to survive from day to day. In this sector there are those who are the most miserable and there are those who are happy as anything.

Pete went back and asked our co-worker what she meant. I mean, here we as missionaries in Kenya, totally reliant on the generosity of our friends and family to put food on the table. But people let you down, their business goes down the toilet or they change their minds and go on holiday instead. Ultimately, our reliance is upon God, we just pray that He will touch peoples hearts to partner with Him, via us.

We don’t have a car, our own place to live in and our stuff is still in boxes 4 months later. Thankfully some friends bought us a motorbike, and we are house sitting for our team members for a few months.

I wonder whether this HIV + grandma in Kibera will see her grand daughter grow up?

I wonder whether this HIV + grandma in Kibera will see her grand daughter grow up?

So, I’ve re-evaluated the statement on being rich and I can tell you I’m filthy rich!

  1. I’m married – we’ve just celebrated 25 years of being together. Amazingly we haven’t killed each other yet, in fact we love each other more than ever before!
  2. We have the best kids – okay, there were times I wanted to give them away, but they are awesome. I wouldn’t swap them for anything.
  3. I’m in a job I love – heck, daily I’m involved in bringing positive change to young people, able to help our diverse team reach their potential, and I even have my own desk!
  4. I’ve travelled the world – okay, not to Europe or South America and Antarctica is still on my bucket list. But I’ve been all over the place from backpacking in Tanzania, palace hunting in India and in one of the best hotels in Dubai just to mention a few. I’ve lived in one of the most beautiful countries in the world (New Zealand), lived and loved Aussie and now live in Kenya.
  5. I know who I am – I had the privilege of coming to know Christ when I was 14. Man, I’d be a mess without Him. I know I’m a child of God, I know I’m Heaven bound one day but until then, there’s the adventure of life. So even though it sucks sometimes, I know He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Sure, I’d love to have an endless cash supply to increase the effectiveness of what we do here in Kenya. I’d love not have to scrap together a few dollars so our teachers have better resources. I’d love to be able to take a long weekend off and travel 9 hours to the beach.

All those things will come eventually, but if we are always looking at what we don’t have, then it blinds us to all the magnificent things we have right in front of us.

Things come and go. Our faith, our friends and family, they are the real things that make us rich.