don't worry matt
11.02.2007 24 °C
My dearest twin, Matt, commented to me the other day that he likes my blog and finds it quite interesting, but he can’t tell whether I’m enjoying myself here in Africa.
Recently, I suppose I’ve been commenting more on things I’ve seen and how they’ve challenged me, rather than focussing on the fun stuff.
But, I think its quite safe to say that although its not everything I’d wanted, YES, I am enjoying myself in Nairobi.
Why is it not everything I’d wanted?
Well, I still feel like I’m not really experiencing Africa. Nairobi is a town that is crowded with Aid and Development workers. It homes the headquarters of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), UN HABITAT (focussing on city issues), several big regional offices for other agencies, coordinating offices for emergency missions in Somalia and Sudan and lots of NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organisations – or in Britain, charities like Oxfam). I spend most of my spare time with the international community and still feel I don’t really know many Kenyans. Sure I work with them, but the work relationships have mostly stayed at work. I haven’t visited homes or really engaged with their lives… I wonder if it’s my fault for not trying enough… but in other countries I’ve managed much more easily. I think its something about Nairobi. Perhaps also the security in Nairobi – always having to be a bit more careful about giving banter on the street or inviting people home or accepting an invitation to go somewhere.
The fun is very fun though. Even though I’m frustrated by the slow pace of work and the beaurocracy of the UN agencies, I know I’m lucky.
Where else can I get up and leave at the end of the week and look at Zebras, Giraffes, Elephants? It is totally amazing!
Two weekends ago I visited a Giraffe centre with two friends I met in Rome (Caitlin and Stefano who work with UNESCO) who have recently moved out here.
We walked along a nice country lane to get there
Giraffe’s are amazing!
We also walked around a nearby wood and found this guy in our way
Last weekend on the Saturday I met up with an Irish friend, Hugh, and we took a Matatu (public transport minibus) an hour out of town to visit the Thika falls. I had imagined something special… it was actually pretty crap. But it was still an adventure. Just going out and finding a new place.
Then Saturday night I got chatting with a couple of friends at Casablanca. They told me at 3 am that Sarah had rented a car and there was to be a trip starting at 9am tomorrow morning to visit Mount Longonot. So after few hours of sleep we got up, made hummous and drove off. We passed some stunning views of the rift valley which the camera really doesn’t do justice to. The ground suddenly falls away below you to a huge flat floor that goes on for … far.
You can see Mount Longonot (a volcano crater) in the distance in the photo. The pointy one.
So we drove to the bottom, climbed up the side and planned to walk around the crater
However, it started raining very hard and we got a bit wet and cold and went down happy after just some jaunting on the crater rim.
Sarah is the short blonde British girl who works in HIV/AIDS journalism. Kirsten is the tall blonde Canadian girl who I spent Christmas eve with. One of the guys plays for the Kenyan football team and is her boyfriend. He’s also a part-time model.
The fourth guy sells clothes and reads 10 newspapers a day and filled me in about the complex political situation in Kenya as we walked.
This week I was out in Havanas (a Cuban bar) for the Birthday of a great Italian guy here called Vincenzo who makes documentaries. Thursday was the regular Salsa night at The Pavement, which is a big social event where you can meet everybody in the international community. Friday night I went out for dinner with some international scientists from the International Centre for Research in Semi-Arid and Tropical Crops (ICRISAT) before going back to Casablanca.
Then last night was the big bonanza.
We had about 70 people in our flat from at least 21 nationalities… many of them known. Many not. Like I said, it is a small international community here. Everybody knows everybody… so many people turned up who I knew who had been invited by a friend of a friend of someone and it was great.
The community is a bit like being University students who never quite grew up. Lots of people who aren’t ready to settle down with no or dysfunctional relationships. People from all over the world. Mostly interesting. Mostly fun. But being slightly older there isn’t so much agro, and nobody being sick from too much alcohol.
I don’t know if you can judge a party from the debris left over in the morning but
Red wine 10 bottles
White wine 3.5 bottles
Vodka 8 bottles
Gin 2.75 bottles
Famous Grouse 1 bottle
Tusker beer 103 cans + 7 bottles
Tusker Malt beer 7 bottles
Windhoek beer 1 bottle
Stella 1 bottle
Smirnoff ice 1 bottle
Red Bull 2 cans
Krest (bitter lemon) 1 bottle
Tonic 13 glass bottles (200ml)
Sprite 6 x 2 litres
Coke 6 x 2 litres
Plastic cups 100
Hummous (home-made) 3 empty bowles
Guacamole (home-made) 1 empty tub
Salsa (home-made) 1 empty vat
Cookies (home-made) 3 empty trays
Samosas (50 not there)
I think it was a good party.
Photos below were us clearing up this morning... the water has been off all day and I still haven't showered.. ugggh!