I’ve Arrived

10400789_79461905170_5641_nTook a couple of days, but it finally happened. After spending the whole day in the house on Monday, and not having any Kenyan money to take public transportation anywhere, I decided to just get out the door and walk. There are always stories of muggings, how walking isn’t safe, and I decided, I’d take my chances today, I didn’t quite feel I was back here. Overall i just felt sleepy, disoriented, and happened to have a few nice trees out the window.

Speaking of out the window, a family of hawks found their home in a tree, at eye level with my sisters balcony. Every once in a while they swoop by, gliding right past my face, and wink, as they fly off to make a kill. Remember the sea turtle in “Life Aquatic”? Kinda like that.

I put on my shoes, and I hit the streets, and let me tell you, it brought me back. I arrived. The sounds, the smells, the red clouds of dust as my foot would occasionally hit the side of a rock, crossing the street by looking right to see the oncoming traffic, re-learning the rhythm of Nairobi jaywalking, and of course, the sounds of the matatu (micro-bus) reverberating their reggaton and hip-hop, as they transported more than the maximum capacity of people in their sometimes lavishly colored and not-so-cleverly sloganed plastic frames. 

The matatu of Nairobi do not compare to those of the coast, both in color, speed, and their ability to both bless and diss with their graffiti painted sayings on their rear window. 

Don’t take sidewalks for granted. They are a beautiful thing. We have sidewalks here in Nairobi, but mainly they’re in town. Out here there are foot-paths. Think of it like hiking. The streets are fine, but the sidewalks are in parallel with open air drainage systems, one wrong step, and not only are you wet, but most probably infected with a parasite.

I walked maybe 3 miles to the Coptic Center, where I did my first volunteering stint, back in 2006. Wow, so many old faces greeted me with hugs, and smiles, and more hugs. It was nothing but hugs if you wanna know the truth. It was humbling, and it brought me back to a simpler time. I found out a few things

1) I’ll be going back to Kibera on Thursday to see MaBoyz!
2) A few folks have moved on to pursue their futures. Makes me so proud!

The questions I was asked went in this order:

“So are you here to stay this time?”
“So is Obama going to win?”

They kinda like Obama over here, he’s “the prodigal who left Kenya”, who they hope will return someday.

I was not so adventurous to walk back at sunset, so I took a taxi back home, got freshened up and met a few friends for sushi. Not only did we go to sushi, but so did Jason’s monkey.

It was embarassing as Grace often set it off the screaming monkey at the restaurant, at very opportune times, which brought nothing but smiles to the people around us. I had the same reaction as I did back at the office in Boston, whenever that thing would go off. A big but somewhat embarrassed smile, and just kinda shaking my head, but internally enjoying every minute of the disturbance.

Jason, your monkey is in good hands.

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