Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back in Nairobi

So I left Johannesburg this morning, as always, with more stuff than I should be trying to take on an international flight. It doesn't help that the weight limit on flights from SA is only 30 kg (about 65 lbs). Try bringing books back on that limit. And treats you can't find in Kenya. Plus your normal luggage. Fortunately, I didn't take a lot of clothes to SA, but still.

The attendant who helped me check in asked, "What do you have that's so heavy?" OK, so I brought a cast iron pot with me (which by itself is 22 lbs). In Kenya, you cannot get cast iron pots. Kenyans cook in aluminum sufrias. In South Africa, probably every house has a potjie (pronounced 'poy-ki) . . . or three. Cause a cast iron pot cooks stews (or soups, or whatever you'd like to toss into it) like nothing else can.

Anyway. So I got the pot on the plane. And everything else. Without having to pay extra. Long story. Partly grace. Mostly connections, for which I am infinitely thankful.

Hardly four hours later, we landed in Nairobi. Kilimanjaro was greeting us beautifully as we approached Nairobi. The city looked normal. Taxis still cut in line. But there was about one third of the usual traffic. There were also fewer vendors on the side of the road. Many shops still aren't open. Things just aren't quite normal yet.

I ran into a friend at Mayfield. She's been stuck here visiting doctors after a really bad cycling accident in Sudan which left her with a dislocated shoulder, and two-pins-and-some-wires-wanting-to-poke-out-after-really-bad-surgery later, she's in Kenya for new surgery to remove the hardware which apparently wasn't necessary to begin with. Poor girl! (You'll enjoy reading her blog, I bet. Interesting life in Sudan.) Anyway, I kidnapped her for the afternoon so she could get out of Mayfield a bit. It was good to hear of the work she'll be doing with a division of AIM. They're looking for positive stories coming from the events in Kenya. It challenged me to do the same. Look for the stories of life among all the pain and devastation.

It's hard, sometimes. Reality is, there's still a lot of pain. One could see it in the faces of some of the people I always run into in Nairobi. You could feel it in the air, the uncertainty. In the city, things truly are better. On the surface, at least. Last night, new violence erupted in Nakuru. (Nakuru is halfway between Nairobi and Eldoret.) I am told things are calm in Eldoret.

Kofi Anan is in Kenya, and he said he had witnessed "gross and systematic human rights abuses."

Obviously, I won't be driving back to Eldoret. (One would have to pass through Nakuru to do so.) I'm flying tomorrow, and should land in Eldoret around 2 pm, at which time colleagues will pick me up. I'm looking forward to being back in my little home, seeing Flannel, seeing my friends in Kipkaren. It will be a while before I can go to Ilula to see my friends there, but I'll let you know how they all are once I get there.

So, for now, I'm going to crawl into my bed here in Mayfield. And pray for peace to come to this land. True Peace. Deep Peace.

And tomorrow? I'll have to try getting my pot onto the next flight again... Among other things the day holds.


  1. Adele,

    You brought a cast iron pot back?!! That's an awesomely average, woman's trick! I'm soo proud of you!

    US researchers have linked cooking with aluminum to alzheimers--apparently those particles have shown up in autopsies of the brains of alheimers patients. I wish I had been a fly on the wall as that security person watched it go through the scans!

    Good job Sister!