Today was supposed to be the day I left for Masai Mara. I was going on a safari and was so excited I woke up at 6 a.m. I took a shower last night so I wouldn’t have to rush this morning but needn’t have bothered by 7 a.m. ju was packed, dress and ready to go. I are breakfast and then sat on the couch reading until 8:30 when Ian showed up. We chatted for a bit and then I went back to reading and he played around on his phone. Originally we were supposed to leave at 7:30, but the night before it changed to 8:30-9. By 9:45 this morning the van still had not arrived and it’s a 7 hour drive to Masai Mara. At 10 they finally showed up but at that point by the time we got there it would be dark, so Ian and I agreed with Barnabas when he suggested we delay the trip until tomorrow.
True to character, I was very upset by the turn of events. I had waited around for four hours only to find out I wasn’t going at all. So now we had to figure out what to do with our day. Like two kids in high school we went back and forth for over an hour, “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” became a common mantra. Each of us would suggest something before quickly retracting it.
Finally we came up with a mediocre game plan since everything we wanted to do was either too far away or would have required a 50-minute walk through the slums. Ian wanted to get his host family a microwave (yes I know, good Samaritan award) and we figured we would grab some food at the mall.
Walking up to the Nakumat yesterday and now today I’ve begun paying more attention to the people off the beaten track, those I wouldn’t normally notice. Every time though I’ve noticed the sad image of poverty as I see children squatting in the grass, going to the bathroom. It’s so immensely sad to me, and there is nothing I can do, no way I can help. The poverty is all around me but you stop noticing after a while. It becomes second nature here, the smells dont bother me as much as they did, or rather I just don’t notice them and I maneuver around the garbage lined streets as easily as anything else.
We continued up toward the Nakumat and once again, like two high school kids couldn’t decide where to eat. After a half hour of “Where do you want to eat?” “I don’t care, wherever you want to eat,” some coin flipping and perusing several menus we decided on the cafe we grabbed coffee at last week.
For the second time since I arrived I grabbed a beer and this time no Heineken for me. I decided to live on the wild side and try the Kenyan Lager. After watching my friends show off their drinking yesterday, a beer never tasted so good.
Two beers and a full meal later, Ian and I made our way to the Nakumat so he could buy the microwave before heading home.
Carrying a microwave through the streets of Kibera would probably have resulted in a repeat of the coffee incident from yesterday, so we determined it would be best to take a matatu (a mini bus) home.
Everything happens for a reason I suppose, so once I was home I ewes able to Skype my handsome nephew to wish him a happy birthday. He is 1-year-old today which makes it difficult being so far from home. I’m missing the little things, the birthdays, the holidays. I know it will be especially hard Thursday and Friday knowing I’m missing Thanksgiving. But there are worse things, like having to use the side of the road as a toilet or having limited food to eat and having to rummage through the piles of trash for breakfast. It is truly heartbreaking and I’m ashamed that I’m able to have a good time and enjoy myself when there is so much poverty around me.
The household here has gotten much better between last night and today. The normally quiet dinner table is much more animated and lively since Kristen arrived. She continues to have fascinating stories and information and a wealth of knowledge from all the places she’s been. I can’t wait to be that person, the world traveller who has intense stories from everywhere I’ve been. To have my life measured by memories, not things. I’m trying to focus on one dream at a time though. Africa is just the beginning.