Saying it’s been “a blur” is true though maybe undescriptive. Emily and Chege picked me up from the airport, and as soon as I saw Emily, I said, Do you remember me? And she was quiet but said yes, although I didn’t know her that well from before. Sophie was at the guest house–the best at cooking, and always smiling. She definitely remembered me and I hugged her and she continued to smile at basically everything for the few days I was there in Nairobi.
Nairobi is still loud and intense and not the most navigable place with luggage, and this is what Brenda was talking about the day she kept telling us over and over again in class, “Uwe mwangalifu!” be careful!, but at the same time people can be helpful in a way that’s memorable and a little piercing, and then you get where you need to go. Like these two guys on the matatu to Nakuru, one kind of mzee, a bit older, who bought apples and grilled corn and then shared them with me, so I gave them some almonds, which they were a little suspicious of at first but eventually ate.
Arriving here was action- and waiting-packed, waiting for Brenda’s sister Purity and her friend and Brenda’s friend Matthew, who drove us to my new place and then to the bank and then to dinner. It was surprising but at the same time not suprising that we stopped with the real estate agent at a restaurant where I had eaten before, despite having only ever spent 1.5 days in Nakuru in 2012. “Like” the beginning of BR when Charles reaches “C” company lines, although not as poignant, but I could at least say, “I have been here before” and laugh, seeing an orange and white tent which confirmed it. I had been there with Dr. K and others for this UN Conference on Women & Peacebuilding, which was so interesting even though I was dead tired at the time, like everyone else. We ate lunch at this same place with some women from the same NGO I will be working with this time around; and one was telling us about how Kikuyu women had started referring to the new constitution by a name meaning “protector or mother,” in Kikuyu, I think “Wambũi.”
Thinking about being here before, I’m excited to visit Meru, especially to see little Mutuma (although at the same time everyone) because he cackles when he plays cards and wins without even trying. (Daddy really liked that anecdote, remarking that it was so good, that that kid had such a memory and was so resilient (and beating me at cards).)
The next day we went into town again so I could pay my deposit and I had a good reunion with what is probably my favorite Kenyan food, mukimo, seriously, it’s amazing.
I am living a little outside of town near a primary school, where all the kids are freaking out so far, so I can’t talk to them yet, but hopefully we’ll get there. It’s stark already in comparison with Zanzibar, remembering how there were so many tourists which made all of our relationships so shaded and at times constrained by those dynamics. It feels easier already, though of course it’s also hard to adjust to so many people, usually young women, not making eye contact with you and then at times the opposite in town, the boda guys asking where do you want to go?
The scenery is beautiful, overlooking Lake Nakuru, and as I walk downhill towards the lake, which is beyond some trees and hills, I wonder how far I can go without reaching the game park??? Hopefully there is a reasonable way to find out, but I see no fences, and I think you reach it from the other side.
My furniture’s a little ridiculous, but at least I had no furnishing to do.
So now the dust settles and I pick back up again. It will be getting cooler and rainy soon…and after 2013’s endless summer, I feel I either want or deserve cooler weather.