Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How To: Get Gas

Living in the Mara provides countless experiences that elicit the 'Wow!' response, the pause to consider, "Is this really my life?" When a herd of elephants jostles you from your sleep at night, when you witness a gregarious lion-hyena interaction, when you watch a giraffe give birth, and when a storm rolls across the broad sky and open plains of the Mara. The fantastic, "Is this really my life?" comes from the big moments, but also from the daily chores and tasks we undertake. Take getting gas for instance...

Getting Gas in the Mara (Talek Edition)

1. Notice that you’ll need gas soon.
2. Go check the jerry-cans of gas at the back of the lab tent, to pour in just enough to get you through morning observations. Don’t forget to grab the funnel, and find someone else to help you with the process. (Because do you remember the last time someone tried to do it on their own?)
3. After morning obs, remind everyone that a town trip is needed. Does anyone need to go to town for anything? Do we have enough produce, eggs, and phone credit?
4. Put on town clothes and sunscreen; make sure you have everything you need: camp cash, petty cash receipts, water bottle, egg tray.
5. Shout around camp that yes, ‘we’re leaving….as soon as possible.’
6. Finally get in the car, and start the drive.
7. Arrive at Dick Hedges crossing. Get out of the car, lock the hubs, engage four wheel drive, wait for the cows to move out of your way, decide that maybe waiting isn’t the best use of your time, inch forward, practice hill starts until you finally crest the top of the steep embankment.

8. Get out of the car, say hello to the Maasai herders staring at the white woman driving a car, unlock the hubs, and disengage four-wheel drive.
9. Continue driving to town. Wave to the school kids 'whoop'-ing at the hyena car....and then yes, of course you whoop back!
10. Arrive at Tafiq Petrol Station. Look at your watch and realize that no one is there because it’s prayer time.

11. Wait. Hope that there is actually gas still left.
12. There is! Hand Ali the keys to unlock the tank. Talk to him about Talek and America while he fills the tanks; stand back at the end while they get every last drop possible into the car. (‘Topping up’ is not just accepted, it’s expected.)
13. Hand Ali the cash you owe. 110Ksh/L in the off-season, 115Ksh/L during high season.
14. Ask for a receipt. Enjoy watching people pass by and saying hello to the ones you recognize.
15. Take the receipt, give thanks, call other Fisi Camp folk to see where in town they’ve gone off to so you can pick them up. Can't reach them? Well then, go visit Mama Christie and buy a ndizi (banana) or ngumu (similar to a donut hole, only so much better) until everyone comes and finds you.

Getting Gas in Michigan
  1. Notice that you’ll need gas soon.
  2. Glance at a few stations’ prices on your way to work.
  3. Pull into the one that’s on your way home and one cent cheaper than the rest.
  4. Insert credit card, remove quickly, pick up pump, select grade.
  5. Pump gas mindlessly till automatically shuts off.
  6. Replace pump, close tank door, drive home. 

No comments:

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science