Monday, May 11, 2015

My Nose! My Nose!

I am leaving Nairobi on May 20th.  Nine days from today.  The reality is beginning to sink in and I realize I don't know where this last year has gone or why it is gone so fast.  I have been blessed beyond belief with so many new friends and new experiences.  In the coming weeks I will introduce you to my new friends.  I've decided to keep this blog alive because I may go on other adventures, but for the time being, it will focus on trying to more adequately discuss this adventure.

I am sad about leaving Nairobi because it is a truly fun town.  It has a rhythm, a beat much like that of Atlanta.  You hear music everywhere, mostly Bob Marley.  I like that there is music everywhere.  The people are very helpful.  If they see you looking lost, they offer to help you.  And the vast majority of them do not expect money for helping you.  Love, love, love the nightlife!  I have been to some of the most fun clubs and bars.  When I get back home, I will tell you more about the bars.  Incredible, incredible night life.

I will not, however, miss the smell of Nairobi.  For reasons that I cannot fathom, people keep livestock in the city.  I'm not talking a rooster or chicken or two.  I'm talking herds of cattle and passels of pigs.  At the end of the day I scrub my feet like Lady MacBeth before going to bed.  I want to bleach them everyday not only because of the incredible amount of feces everywhere, but also there is a large amount of rotting garbage everywhere.  The stench of all of this, plus an inadequate sewer system makes for a smell that has a life of its own.

Nairobi is a city that grew much, much faster than its infrastructure did.  Consequently, there are problems with garbage and sewer handling and traffic.  The traffic is always horrible, but not because the drivers are insane like they were in Uganda, but because there are so many cars and matatus to be served.  I live about 6 miles from town.  On a good day with light traffic it takes over an hour to travel those 6 miles.  During rush hour, it takes 3 to 4 hours.  And there are many people who spend 6-8 hours 6 days a week going to a job there.  And the standard work day here is 10+ hours per day.  So much for family life.  I don't know how they do it.

But despite the smell, the traffic and the poverty, I love this city.  I discover something new almost everyday.  Yesterday, I discovered a blooming rose bush at a clinic near where I live.  Imagine that!  One of the sweetest smelling roses I ever smelled blooming in the middle of Africa.  And I had no idea you could grow roses in Africa.  While the Masters was going on back home an hour away from my house, an azalea-like bush that grows everywhere here was at its peak of blossoming.  It's just another of the many serendipities of Africa, like the pergola that I discovered a few weeks ago.

It goes to show me that even in the most unappealing of circumstances that if I keep my eyes opened and my heart ready for the unexpected and beautiful, it is there.  I learn and relearn this lesson every day of my life.  Thank you Africa for teaching me this lesson.