July 19, 2017 End of Karen Blixen’s and visit to Kazuri 

We finished up the interior tour of the Blixen’s House, and then were off to view the Ngong Hills in the back of the house. This is also where Karen would sit and tend to any sick workers or villagers.  TheNgong hills were where Denis Finch Hatton was buried.  You do remember that tearful scene from the movie, don’t you? Very sad.Ngong means “knuckle” in Swahili.  The trees have obviously grown since Karen was here. You can see just a bit of them in the right side of the photo.Then we were off for a short stroll through the woods to see some of the coffee machinery.  I was delighted that it was actually a short walk and not one of those killer hikes in Patagonia.  I can’t remember what this machine did, but it was under a metal shed. This is the area where the fire was.  Francis our guide told us that the fire that destroyed the coffee sheds was likely due to fires that the Maori started.  The Maori used fires to clear land.  Unfortunately for Katen, her coffee bean barns got in the way of the flames.  My snarky comment of the day is that it must have smelled wonderful.  Good bye Karen Blixen’s House on to Kazuri! Kazuri means ” small and beautiful ” in Swahili.  The Kazuri Bead factory is famous world wide for the beautiful jewelry.  Any unwed mother can get a job here. They will find a place for you.  If you remarry you can still stay.  Here is rock from the hills of Mt. Kenya.  Mixed in are pieces of fired clay that were imperfect and was ground up,with the rock to make new clay.  The ground rock is mixed with water to form a slurry which is formed into sheets and hung, and the water squeezed out.  You can see the clay hanging on the top right. Gradually enough water is removed so the clay can be used to make the famous beads.  There are men who work at the factory, this is one of their jobs.

Another job is the making of vases.  It takes them a year of apprenticeship before their vases are good enough to sell. Here is a potter in action.Here I am demonstrating one of the round bead making techniques.  Here we have a selection of beads, a necklace of unfired beads and then a picture of the kiln in which the beads are skewered and then fired at extremely high temperatures. Here we have a group that was touring the bead factory.  Our little group was so happy we chose not to be in a big group.  We had more flexibility, and didn’t have to wait for anyone but ourselves.  

Singing always makes the job more fun.  The ladies would break out in sing every few minutes.  Then wee were off to the next building where the beads were painted.  This is the order board for the jewelry.  You can see that the demand in Scandinavia is quite high!  Here are some finished beads, ready to be strung, into necklaces, bracelets or earrings. I was curious to find out if there was a song leader.  As you well know, Linda always finds out the answers.  Here is our song leader!  

Karen Blixen’s House Part 2

Let’s enter the house now. IMG_5105.JPGThis is Francis our driver attentively listening to our tour guide. We are in the living room and you can see the fireplace in the background. Karen would create stories for her guests based on the images on the folding screen. In the movie Denis, played by Robert Redford,  would give her goo goo eyes and dream of making love to her.IMG_5106 Here we have the famous record player.  IMG_5107Here is the bed where all the action happened!  Accordingly to museum guide Karen also spent a lot of time on the day bed as she suffered from syphiliis. In the movie the Baron was the foooler arounder, but we were told that she strayed first.IMG_5109 Here s the bathroom. Originally there were doors to the outside where the house boys would enter and remove the contents from the commode. IMG_5111 This is a picture of her good friend, Berkeley  They did a great job of casting him in the movie. Robert Redford was handsome but the real Denis Finch Hatton was not an American! Denis was horribly miscast! IMG_5108.JPG  These boots were in the closet of the Baron. I thought they were worn by Robert Redford in the movie, and was looking to see how high the heels were! In fact, they were actually worn by Meryl Streep!

IMG_0153Here is a picture of Karen Blixen’s. It was a special favorite of hers. I thought I did a brilliant imitation. I think I just needed a touch less pop of lipstick and more brown eyeshadow!