For the past day and a bit, I've been trying something new in Nairobi: Taking public transport. I was supposed to have one of the vehicles of the guesthouse where I'm staying, but they had made a mistake with the reservation (put my name down for June), so I ended up without a vehicle. Taking taxis to all the places I had to go would've been pretty expensive, so I dared to take a matatu for the first time ever.
From Mayfield Guesthouse to downtown Nairobi it was a whopping 10 shillings! (A taxi ride for the same distance would've been 300!) After being at the NGO Board (and being told, "Sorry, we're only reviewing your case next week...") I needed to go to a mall north of the city for a haircut. I took a cab: 400KES! So the rest of the day, I decided it's just going to be matatus. My total cost for travel on various matatus was less than $1!
As long as you find out from someone (I ask a lady who's also waiting on the side of the road) which number will take you to wherever you're going, you're good to go. Then you just wait for one that still has a seat available. When they stop, you get in as quickly as you can. It's tough if you're carrying a big bag (like I was doing yesterday), 'cause more often than not, the only seats available are in the very back! While you're still squeezing through between the seats and people, the minibus is rolling again.
Each one has a conductor who sits by the door and bangs on the roof when the driver should stop or go.
No, I won't take a matatu at night. In fact, in Nairobi, I try not to be out at night at all.
Today I spent several hours working on our Sudan satellite e-mail, taking screen shots of every step Steven has to take in order to check e-mail, and compiling a step-by-step guide which I then saved on the desktop. It was a tedious task, but since our base is so out in the boonies, there's no-one Steven can ask for help if he got stuck. It was good to realize that compiling the guide is a way of helping to get our work in Sudan done.
I'm sending the computer back to Sudan with others since we weren't successful in getting the configuration done when I was in Sudan.
I'm at a local mall now just to check e-mail. In the morning, a team is arriving from California. I'll fly back to Eldoret with them in the afternoon. After picking them up from the airport in the morning, I'm set on spending the day at a coffee shop (while they're sleeping!) so I can get some writing done.
I'ts been wonderful spending these 2 days at the guesthouse in Nairobi. Mayfield is a guesthouse run by Africa Inland Missions, and mostly missionaries passing through Nairobi stay there. I've met some really neat people who live very far from where I am, but nevertheless, it's been good.
I might try and see if I can see Mission Impossible III tonight! Oh yeah!