Back "Home" in Nairobi
Kenya is starting to feel like a familiar place to me. I'm getting to know Nairobi like I've begun to know Kitale . . . and I'm really loving it here. I could see myself living here in Kenya . . . been thinking quite a lot about it. We'll see! I've even adjusted to driving on the other side of the road. If I do move to Kenya, you're all welcome!
I spent the weekend in Naivasha and will be going back there for about 10 days end of this week. Another beautiful place in the mountains looking down over the Rift Valley. It's about a 2 hour drive out of Nairobi, some of the land along the way is owned by the Delamere family. Those of you familiar with "Out of Africa" may remember Lord Delamere or "D" as he was referred to in the movie. Quite a lot of flower farms between Nairobi and Naivasha. Also, there is a large IDP camp . . . I'm hoping to have some interviews at that camp for my research. While in Naivasha, I stay in a round cottage - basically a great room which includes bedrom/living room/dining room with a fireplace, and a kitchen and bathroom off the big room. The view is spectacular. I have pictures, but haven't the internet time yet to download them. I hope to do that soon so you can see some of the places I've been.
Similar to my thoughts on Rwanda, I think about the juxtaposition between the richness of this place Kenya and the poverty that is here. There are parts of Kenya which still feel like off-shoots of England. There are roundabouts and people driving on the left side of the road, some of the buildings are so English in their design. I've met people who've lived in Kenya for 50-60 years, born in England or in Europe and have lived most of their lives in the bush. I'm not sure yet how I'm tying all this together - richness, poverty, colonialism - just noticing it right now.
For this week I'm in Nairobi - taking it easy, seeing people, setting up appointments, seeing some parts of the city I've not seen before. Sunday I went to the Masai Market . . .I'm extremely popular here (which is probably why I want to stay) - I'm a white woman, I have money. I've offered to show them my bank account but they're not buyin' it! I got myself a Masai blanket and some gifts. Markets can be a bit overwhelming - your arm is being grabbed all the time, "but madam I'm hungry" - you can feel like a real jerk sometimes. Some mzungus here never go to the markets - they shop in the Nakumatt (Kenya's answer to Target) and the supermarkets - mainly because they don't like the crush of the place. I can understand that . . .but, the craftsmanship, and the fresh vegetables and fruit!
Today I went to a beautiful glass factory which is part art gallery/factory/home/bed and breakfast called Kitengela Glass. Smack in Masai land - in the Kitengela Plains, the Masai Gorge runs alongside the factory. Vast spaces with thorn trees dotted here and there. Rutted roads - I can't believe my insides are still in the places they were originally placed - and it's absolutely beautiful. You can view for miles - I could see Nairobi from where I was in the distance. Turn a bit and I'm looking at the Ngong Hills. "Ngong" in Maa means "knuckle." It's said that God put his fist down and created the Ngong Hills. Again, "Out of Africa" starts out "I once had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills."
Tomorrow I have a massage at Karen Blixen's farm. Ok, enough movie references. Although, if you go to the Karen Blixen museum, you can see the pants Robert Redford wore in the movie. For some, that might be worth a trip to Kenya!! I am also meeting a counselor here in Nairobi who, among other things, wrote a book I used as a text for the Pre-Marital Counseling course I taught in June. I've been hoping to meet her to establish another contact here in the Nairobi counseling network.
I didn't think I had much to say this week . . .after reading this, you may think I didn't. But, here it is anyway! My uncle celebrated his birthday this past week - happy birthday, Ted. Of course, you know I put that in here to make sure you're reading my blogs :)
Life is good for me here - I'm so blessed to be here. My dad comes next week - I'm glad he'll get a chance to taste what I'm experiencing this summer. I feel your support and encouragement and love from home - thanks for that, and for keeping up with my trip. Talk to you later!