Thursday, July 8, 2010

Crossing Alone

Mambo readers?

(you say poa)

So I am finally back in Mulot after fighting for almost a week to get back. The thing about Kenyans is they love having visitors. They don’t care if they are busy; they want you to stay as long as possible and in an effort to be helpful will often impede you when you try to leave.

For example

I wanted to leave Laiktoktok last Friday. The seminarians convinced me I should stay until at least Sunday to celebrate the fourth (which consisted of them asking me how long we’ve been independent and then being told we should move the fourth of july so it wouldn’t be on a Sunday). On Sunday I was asked to stay until Monday so I could find a matatu (mini-bus) easier. Monday morning one of the priests suggests I stay until Tuesday to get a ride from his friend driving to Nairobi. So what happens next? You guessed it Tuesday rolls around and his friend is still in Tanzania forcing me to wait until Wednesday where at breakfast I had to put my foot down and announce I was leaving if I had to walk back to Mulot (which almost became the case).

As obnoxious as this sounds when I read it back to myself I do have to say I wasn’t really complaining. I really enjoyed my time there and it is nice to feel so wanted.

It was also nice to see Christy- an American ex-peace corps member)- and talk to someone who lives mere hours away from Chicago. Everyday I tried to leave she laughed with me while I made another futile plan. She says she always has the same experience.

The issue is around here you get so close to people so fast that it becomes hard to leave, even when you want to and you know you should. I feel just as close to the people in laiktoktok as I do to many of the people here and I feel closer to some of the people here then I do with people back home I’ve known for years.

So I was sad to leave.

Of course I had to forget about that sadness as I boarded my Matatu home because getting across Kenya by myself became quite the adventure.

It began at 8 am when I got onto my matatu. I sat in the front seat with the driver and another passenger who happened to be in traditional Masai clothing.

To paint a clearer picture for you I need to explain that there was really only enough room for two people in the front of the matatu but they always cram three so we were elbow to elbow with both the driver and I being poked and prodded by the masai man’s jewelry.

The driver only spoke Swahili, the man kimasai and I only English. Usually this would lead to a silent trip but not in Kenya- a language barrier is no reason not to make friends!

So we pantomimed conversation all of us exhausting what little we knew of each other’s languages well the masai man tried to sell me his jewelry.

Eventually we arrived in Nairobi in a completely unfamiliar part. The driver was nice enough to walk me across the city with my bags to the Narok stage (where the buses to Narok wait) but I had to think quick when he asked for my phone number- gotta love the I have no credit excuse.

Eventually I get on the bus and am on my way to Narok where I assume Father Patrick will be waiting to pick me up as the plan was explained to me. But it became clear to me father Patrick would not be picking me up when I sent him a text telling him I was on the way and he answered “safe journey” which is Kenyan for “your on your own kid”.

Alright no problem I’ll just find a bus to Mulot from Narok; I’ve done that before even though never alone but how hard can it be?

Well it suddenly became much harder when the bus broke down halfway to Narok. After sitting on the side of the highway for about a half hour all the passengers got behind the bus and pushed until it started. This is when I noticed that there was only about an hour left until the matatus stopped running.

So because I was under a time crunch I of course got lost in Narok. The bus dropped us off in an unfamiliar area due to the breakdown and left us to walk to wherever we needed to go. luckily I was only lost for 15 minutes and was able to hop on the last matatu in the park. Unluckily I had to sit with a small child in my lap the whole ride.

Now you can imagine after all this plus an hour of a small child kicking and screaming in my lap I was rather frustrated. So I was really not in the mood for the matatu driver’s vulgarity when I reached Mulot.

This is probably why when one of the drivers called out mzungu and made an obscene gesture with his tongue I exploded and proceeded to loudly explain to the driver where he could go, what he could do there, and what kind of animal he was (in case you are wondering the animal I called him was vernacular for Feline. Don’t get it? Just think about it for a bit. It will come to you)

But in the end alls well as I am back on the mission safe and happy except for the fact I accidently grew thin in laiktoktok and now must double my food intake. Which really means the animals here are going to double their food intake as I tend to hide the food outside and pretend I ate it.

Anyway I love and miss you all back home. sorry this one wasn’t too deep but I thought you all might enjoy the story.


1 comment:

  1. I like the non-deep posts :D it's fun to read!
    also, hehe mzungu is the one word I actually know (from watching the Travel Channel) hehe

    you show 'em girl! ;)