Last night, the advance team of Gail, Trish, Lynn and Dawn arrived in Nairobi at 11:30 pm. If you asked if the trip becomes easier, the answer would be no. We flew 8 hours to Brussels, had a 3-1/2 hour rest then flew 10-1/2 hours to Nairobi via Bujumbura, Burundi. At the end of the trip, our driver, Evans, and Jerri, our good friend from previous years, met us at the gate with smiles and the Kenyan greeting of “welcome, welcome”.
As we taxied to the arrival’s gate, the original Kenyan airport arrival’s building was visible through the darkness-an abandoned building with no windows. As you may recall, the airport burnt in early September. The new arrivals area appeared to be a newly renovated building which had been pressed into service. Immigration and customs presented no problem for us, although they must wonder why we travel with a lot of luggage. I sometimes wonder if they think all westerners carry this much clothing with them when they travel. Security at the airport was adequate but not over the top. We asked Jerri about the terrorist attack at the mall, and he said it something that happens all over the world. And that seems to be the Kenyan way, accepting but still hopeful.
After a night at the Rosa Mystica, a convent turned guest house, we stopped at the Junction Mall the next morning to pick up some water and to purchase the modem needed to access the internet for blog posting. Security personnel were at the doors and everyone was searched along with their bags before entry was allowed. The same process was in place at the communications store.
Our trip to Kismu was somewhat eventful. The journey is approximately 300 kilometers in length and it took 7 hours to complete. The first half of the trip was smooth and then we hit construction and poor roads. The Chinese are building roads all over Kenya but instead of digging up a few kilometers and replacing it, they tear the whole road out and force the traffic to use what is called a diversion-a roadway that resembles a ditch with a rock and dirt filled bottom. After an hour or so of pounding along various diversions, it started to rain.
At first, the rain and the heavy breathing inside the vehicle (caused by our sudden intakes of breath as our driver wove his way in an out of traffic) created so much fog on the windscreen the front passenger’s job was to use tissue to wipe the fog away so the driver could see the road. He finally stopped and poured powdered soap on the windscreen. Guess what happens when the rain contacted the soap and the windshield wipers were used? No, not bubbles but a solid white paste was created and it stuck to the screen…more intakes of breath….and a bottle of water poured over it created a solution. With rain comes mud. As the rain slowed down, the windscreen became a solid mass of mud. Now you and I would simply wash it away using window washer…another item that appears to be optional in Kenya. Needless to say, we arrived safely in Kisumu.
Please keep watching for blog postings. I will do my best to post as often as possible.