Sunday, February 28, 2010

After finalizing plans for our visit, Joshua and Dorothy, the two who oversee Pangea’s Kenyan projects, share the afternoon with us at a cafe in a local shopping center. Disappointingly, the weather is threatening rain so this seems our only choice. Clustered around a table there is talk of dreams and goals for Pangea and the women they represent, the possibility of offering literacy courses and even educational scholarships for their children. We learn of the triumphs and challenges fellow organizations are seeing.

I wander through the mall. Muslims, Christians, Hindu, Bui Buis, Sunday’s best, saris, and even the occasional military garb complete with machine gun is in view. Relieved though somewhat surprised, no one takes note of my pale skin.

Driving in Nairobi is akin to bumper cars. We dodge pedestrians, weave our way into traffic circles, and drive three wide though I only see lanes for two. Red lights are considered only as suggestions. Shanties are tucked between tall cement buildings; trash is tossed along the roadside while just beyond the curb are towering eucalyptus trees and fanned yellow flowering Jacaranda trees and Oleander. 

There is an enclosed jeep in front of us. White men, returning from safari, are crowded inside, appearing themselves as caged animals. We giggle at the sight uncontrollably.

Our day ends in the mahogany-rich dimly lit bar of our hotel with a long draft of rum, allowing us to nestle into bed before rising and entering Kibera.