Kilimanjaro time-lapse

I’ve had the chance to go out and capture a few time-lapse sequences of Kilimanjaro, usually at sunset, since that’s when it’s most often the clearest. So I put three of them together into a short video.

I’ll also take this opportunity to admit to a secret love of dreamy synth/electronic music – ever since I was a kid in the 80s and early 90s, when synthesizers were making their way into canned elevator music. In fact, I have a very distinct memory of swimming in the pool at my Grandma’s golf club in Arizona and hearing what we then called “New Age” music being piped out of the poolside speakers. I’m sure I had heard that style of music before, but maybe the setting was just right for it to find a place into my heart – bright sun, shimmering desert heat, cool water, navajo flute and electronic drum sequencer… can you blame me?

But I digress. All that is to say that I added some dreamy electronic music under this time-lapse video, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Strange creatures in our backyard

For about a week, we had been hearing squeaks and squawks coming from one of the trees in our backyard. Neither of us could pin down the sound. Maybe a bunch of baby Silvery-cheeked Hornbills? We happen to have between 2 and 5 of the adult version in our yard on any given afternoon, and they make an almost pre-historic squawking sound. But why did they only start up at night? Maybe a large group of baby Bushbaby’s? We have a couple of adult Bushbaby’s that live in the trees in our yard, as well. But if I listened carefully, I could hear wings flapping occasionally. And the strangest thing was that it sounded like there were hundreds of them!

After a few nights of this, we finally adventured out with a strong flashlight, and it took me about 5 seconds to realize it was a colony of fruit bats! There are small fruits on the tree (it’s some kind of indigenous fig tree, i think), which they come to feed on for about 4 or 5 hours right after it gets dark. By midnight, they’re gone.

I spent the rest of the evening observing them from our kitchen window and trying to capture some video of them. The video isn’t the best, but it’ll give you an idea of what I was seeing, and it definitely captured their sounds accurately.

I didn’t realize fruit bats had faces more like dogs. You may disagree with me, but I think they’re kind of cute! Funny, Steve won’t let me keep one as a pet…

Children of Promise

Well, this post doesn’t have much to do with Moshi, except that I spent a considerable amount of the first month or so of my time in Moshi finishing up this documentary, titled Children of Promise. So I thought I’d include the video in this blog for those of you who have not had a chance to watch it and who might enjoy or appreciate it.

The synopsis:

Dan and Lori O’Brien decided to start adopting sibling groups out of the foster care system after their children approached them with the idea. Fifteen years and 7 adoptions later, with 3 more foster kids awaiting adoption, and a house bursting at the seams, their community began to notice that the O’Brien family needed a bigger, better home. And so, starting from scratch, with a handful of people and an overflow of love, this small community in Wisconsin came together to undertake the monumental task of building the O’Brien’s a new home.

Underneath it all, Children of Promise is a story of adoption. A family adopting children. A community adopting a family. And for many who are a part of this story, there is the overwhelming sense of a God who has adopted them, calling them to be part of a broader, deeper family. This sense of ‘Forever Family,’ a phrase Lori O’Brien likes to use when talking about adoption, is transformative on many levels, and its ripples extend outward, as those who have been shown love, in turn, reach out in love to others in need.

Children of Promise from Esther Sumner on Vimeo.

Safely across the Atlantic

After packing, weighing, re-packing, shopping (forgot about those last minute items!), packing, weighing, re-packing, driving to the airport, weighing, re-packing, and shedding a few pounds (from our bags, that is), we and our 6 checked bags have made it safely to Nairobi, Kenya! My mom likes to say that our belongings propagate when we’re not looking. After this experience, I’m convinced she’s right.

Tomorrow we do some shopping around Nairobi, and on Tuesday, will drive the 7 or 8 hours down to Moshi, where we will be for the next 7.5 months. Steve will be carrying out a research project related to motorcycle crash prevention, which he developed when we were there last year. During that time we also put together a video introducing the issues surrounding road traffic injuries in this area.

Motorcycle Injury Research : Tanzania from Steve Sumner on Vimeo.

It is my plan to update this blog semi-regularly in order to update you on life in Moshi, as well as hopefully give you a glimpse (albeit limited) into this part of the world. Please email or comment with things you would like to know more about – that will no doubt make for more interesting posts!

If you are like me and like reading blogs but forget to check for blog updates, feel free to subscribe to this blog via the link on the right. That way, you will receive any new blog postings directly in your inbox.