Random Thoughts on Rest Day

When I wrote yesterday’s blog, I did not mean it to be prophetic. But so it turned out to be. Today we had an itinerary that included a visit to an orphanage and lunch with the lady who administers it. But the long day yesterday seems to have taken a toll on both Pastor Moses (stomach troubles) and Betty (headache). So all plans are cancelled and we will use today to rest before the return trip home begins tomorrow.

We are not going to drive to Nairobi, where my departure is scheduled near midnight. It is impractical because of the massive election demonstrations. Even driving to Kisumu an hour away carries risks, but that is certainly less risky. So the plan is to leave at 5 a.m. and arrive at Kisumu airport before sunup to avoid demonstrations there. We will then fly to Nairobi. The airports are safe because they are so heavily secured, so we should be able to bypass any troubles. Thinking through such issues is so new to me. I’ve not felt unsafe, but I feel as though I’ve been in Kenya during an unsafe time. Several demonstrators have been killed, even more injured in skirmishes with police. The leader of the Election Commission today resigned and fled to the U.S. saying she feared for her life. It is absolute pandemonium. And I thought the 2016 U.S. election was raucous! Depending on the outcome of the elections here, I may be telling my grandchildren that I was in Kenya during an historic time.

Since I’ve had a down day, I’ve written down some random thoughts:

KEITH – In Kenya, “ei” is pronounced as a long “a” (neighbor), and “th” comes out as a hard “t.” Thus, after introducing myself, I am typically referred to as “Pastor Kate.” Just a bit unsettling.

STAIRS – As with many things in Kenya, stairs are done by eye, not by precise measurement. The first step may be 12” high and deep, step 2 may be 8” high and 10” deep, and the third may be 4” high, 8” deep, and sloped slightly downhill. Watch that first step! Watch that last step! Just watch all the steps!

STREETS – It occurred to me yesterday that I did not even notice the menagerie in the streets of Kenya. City or country, it matters not. There will be some assortment of people, goats, cows, dogs, bota-botas (small motorcycle taxis) and chub-chubs (3-wheel covered motorcycle taxis) doing a rhythmic dance in the streets, and it falls to anyone driving a car to weave through. It was nerve-wracking on my first visit. Now … meh.

SPEEDBUMPS – Speedbumps occur frequently on every paved road including the four-lane “highways”, because of the above. They are big, too, about a foot high and 4 or 5 feet wide. I would worry that a Miata could get stuck on one, perched like a see-saw. For the most part, I think they’re unnecessary. The potholes are sufficient to keep traffic from gaining any real speed. The Miata would simply disappear in one of these. And that’s just the paved roads. Unpaved dirt roads? Not only would we not classify them as roads, we wouldn’t even call them cow paths. At times, when discussing how to reach someone’s house, the discussion turns to a calculation of where you have to leave your car and how far you then have to walk. We were driving on one yesterday when we came to a boulder in the middle of the intersection of two such roads. I called it a Kenyan roundabout. I guess I understand why they don’t scrape such roads as we do—they simply don’t have the grading equipment. But I do not understand why they don’t shovel the high spots down and use them to fill in the crevices that threaten to grab your tire and pin your car. No, that’s not true, I do understand. I’m an American, so roads matter to me. This is Kenya, so …. In my view, as long as roads remain a first-world concern, Kenya will remain a third-world country.

IMPROVISING – Africans improvise. They can build a ladder out of anything. They catch rain in anything. They fix anything broken, repurpose anything used up. I have tendencies in that direction myself, and so it is a trait I greatly admire. But I realized a few minutes ago that I was crossing the line. It is pouring rain. That’s a blessing for Pastor Moses, who is outside with a rag washing his car. It is a problem for me, though, because I had washed socks and cannot hang them out to dry. Solution: clothespin them to a ceiling fan! I’m either morphing into a Kenyan or I’ve seen too much Mr. Bean.

gkr1996 posted at 2017-10-18 Category: Kenya 2017