Week 14: Dad’s Post

Hello from an internet café in Nairobi.  The lodging we are staying at doesn’t have internet access, so we have to go to an internet café to contact the outside world.  It charges 1 shilling per minute (75 shillings = $1).

From Family Visit

The weather is in the 70s.  Most of the buildings don’t have furnaces or air conditioners, so all the cooling and heating is done naturally.  You just have to add or take off blankets to stay comfortable in bed.

We had to sleep on the airplane twice on this trip.  Sleeping on the flight to London wasn’t too bad because we had enough legroom, but the legroom on the flight to Nairobi was very tight, which made it hard to sleep.  The dinner was good (three different meals to select from), and the Virgin Atlantic crew was very friendly.

In London the fire alarm went off, so we had to evacuate our part of the terminal.

When we arrived in Nairobi, it took a while for our passports and visas to be checked.  The traffic was bumper to bumper most of the way to our lodging.  The Kenyan’s like to drive very close to each other and honk their horns a lot.  The honking seems to work, since everyone was avoiding accidents as they merged in and out of traffic.

It is taking a while to get used to traffic driving on the other side of the road.  The first time I thought that we were going to have an accident.  Now the problem is walking, because you have to look the other way to avoid traffic.  We are mostly walking in the city (along with a lot of other people).

The best channels here are CNBC Africa and Aljazeera.  From what I had heard about Aljazeera in the States, I thought that it would have a slanted view about the world.  But from what I have seen, it appears very balanced and also gives news about the other side that we may not get in the States.

Thursday

The compound Robert works in is very nice.  It is a rural area of Karen.  There are many flowers and open spaces.  He has a room in a Quonset hut that is divided into several rooms.  Robert’s room is next to Cosmos’ room.  The walls don’t go all the way to the top of the hut, so they can talk back and forth.

From Family Visit
From Family Visit

Robert forgot his room key, so he had to climb over the wall to get into his room.  He tried to open the door from the inside, but was unsuccessful.  We were able to see the inside of the room by standing on a bed in Cosmos’s room and looking over the wall, or looking though the outside window into Robert’s room.  Because Robert is so tall, as compared to the average Kenyan (or average American, I guess), they have supplied him with two beds that he has placed next to each other.

From Family Visit
From Family Visit

Robert showed me the network wiring he installed, with the help of Rodgers, an employee at the compound.  The wire goes from the administration office, through the attic, along a fence (using twist ties to attach the wire to the fence), then up to a tree (again using twist ties to attach it to the tree), then into his room.  Robert then has internet access to the world.

Friday

Because Robert wasn’t feeling well and could not make it into Nairobi until Friday afternoon, Helen and I decided to explore the city.  We walked to the Sarit Centre, a large enclosed Kenyan mall.  We wanted to see what Kenyan stores were like.  It took us 30 minutes to walk to the general vicinity of the mall, and then another 20 minutes to find it.  Robert had taken me there earlier in the week, and I thought that I could easily find it, but all the other stores surrounding it made it difficult to locate.

There were a lot of Kenyan’s walking on the road from our room to the mall.  It was interesting to be among the general public.  When we did make it to the mall, there were many cars trying to find parking spaces, so it was easier to get around on foot.

The mall was four stories tall.  It had ramps between floors, instead of escalators, and wasn’t air conditioned, with the temperature in the mall being very pleasant.  We went to the food court and had lunch at “The Southern Fried Chicken” restaurant.  They also had several other restaurants there, including Chicago Pizza and Chinese food.  They had Santa Claus, having his picture taken with children.  After checking out several stores, we went to the super market in the mall.  The cashiers at the super market were allowed to sit down as they checked you out.  We found this at several stores, and they seemed to be as efficient at their jobs as cashiers in America, who are required to stand up to do their job.

After receiving a cell phone call from Robert and Patrick for food from the food court and baguettes from the Shell service station, we walked back to our room to find a sick Robert.  He was able to eat lunch, and then I showed him a video tape that his friends at the church had made wishing him a very merry Christmas, which he really enjoyed.  He rested some more after that, but was still feeling sick.

We all walked over to Henry’s apartment, where Patrick and Robert are spending their nights.  Helen made subway sandwiches from the food we had purchased.  Robert was still feeling sick.  He was starting to have chills and was shaking.  We had to leave because it was starting to get dark.  Robert thought that walking would make him feel better, so he walked with us back to our room and then went back to the apartment.

At 7:30 pm we received a call from Robert saying that he had chills, trembling, joint ache, and a fever.  He said that he was going to the emergency room to be tested for malaria.  His supervisor was going to drive him.  They said that they might stop by and take one of us along for moral support, but decided that that wasn’t necessary.  Luckily, after running a blood test, they found that he didn’t have malaria, but just a severe throat infection.

Well, we are off now.  Today (Saturday) we are going out with Robert’s host parents for a drive around Nairobi.

From Family Visit

Tom

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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