Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Taste of Nairobi

Saturday, December 17th

We safely got into Nairobi about 9:40pm after two 8+ hour flights. I must admit, two 8 hour flights are much better than a 14 hour flight and then a 5 hour flight. Kennedy {our driver} was at the airport, ready to take us to the Presbyterian Guest House. Father and I had to share a bed and last night’s sleep was minimal thanks to his snoring. I believe I got a total of one hour.

Kennedy showed up bright and early to take us shopping in the markets. Because we did not convert US Dollars to Shillings in the airport last night, that was the first stop on our itinerary. I trust him and don’t think he’d do anything to put my life in danger, but this morning was a bit on the unsafe side. He took me into the downtown Nairobi market where we walked through it to a place that sold fresh fruit. In the back corner of the booth, there was a small closet, only big enough for two people to stand in. Inside the closet was the man who was going to convert my money into shillings. I stepped into the closet with him, gave him $800 in return for 64,000 Shilling. He lifted up his left pant leg to reveal a sock bulging with a lot of money. Definitely a shady deal, but I made it out of there safely.

We went shopping in the supermarket where we purchased 50 bowls, 50 spoons, 50 cups, 3 knives, a sharpener, 2 large serving spoons, rice, flour, corn, cooking fat, maize and candy for the kiddos. In total, we spent roughly 30,000 Shilling. Kennedy was such a sport. After we packed our groceries in the already over packed car, daddy and I ordered a 12 inch ham and mushroom pizza- I liked it, he didn’t…imagine that. I ate 2 small slices and he ate 1, we took the rest with us for Kennedy to eat.

Finally we were off to Tumaini, but that doesn’t come without a stop to the Great Rift Valley. I bought some souvenirs and Kennedy bought us some roasted corn. Back in the car we went with even more stuff. It wasn’t shortly into our journey, about 20 miles from Naivasha that our back left tire went flat. We pulled over at a bridge so we could have more room to change it. This small car that we are in has not another square inch of space but in order to get to the spare tire, we had to unpack it on the side of the road. There was an old man standing right where we were changing the tire and his granddaughter. He watched very intently as daddy and Kennedy changed it. When it came time to repack the car, I grabbed the box of pizza and handed it to the man and his granddaughter. He replied with a huge smile and mazuri sana (Swahili for thank you very much). He’d never seen pizza before and scarfed it down. The little girl took here two pieces and ran down the hill to back to tending the flock. She kept looking back as she carried the box down the hill smiling at me. Such a blessing to be able to offer something like that to them.

Once we arrived at Tumaini, it was a much different feeling that I remembered it and reuniting with the children was nothing like the scenario that I played out in my head. As we pulled into the home, for the first time I saw it as a real life orphanage. Maybe it was the torrential rain that we’d been driving through that made the day look sad, made the driveway incredibly muddy, or maybe it was that there were no children running towards the car in anticipation of seeing Mora and Carl again. There was no one around…no one.

Cecilia {the house mum} came to greet us and it was a warm one. The children are not here. There are only 4 girls staying here. The rest went to be with family and will return on the 22nd. Major letdown. Daddy is disappointed and I am sad and upset that this has happened. Now, instead of 8 full days with the children, we will only have 3. We are going to make due until they arrive living life here at Tumaini doing things to help like milk cows, chop wood, clean up the classrooms. Even though this trip hasn't gone perfectly since we left, we are making the most out of it.

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