Saturday, October 23, 2010

First Full Day in Nairobi

Kibera, in Nairobi
It's 11 PM Nairobi time. It has been a very full day! Here are some bullets...
  • Awoke at 8. Slept well.
  • Called Steve Lichty (U of Florida Ph.D student & Fulbright scholar who is working on the relationship between African religion and African politics.
  • Steve picks up Al and myself and takes us to a Java House - very, very nice place! We ate breakfast outside.
  • I loved talking with Steve and listening as he shared the stuff he's working on and briefed us an all things Kenyan. I took notes. This was for me a wonderful time, and I learned a lot!
  • Steve dropped Al & I back at our hotel. Then we walked to downtown Nairobi. It was warm, and at times hot - felt like 85 degrees, and lots of sun.
  • We went to a bazaar. I bought some very cool and indigenous jewelry for Linda. Yes, Al and I bartered. I'd like to describe Al's bartering experience but it would take way too long. I witnessed it. You would be proud of Al.
  • Steve picked us up at 3, and toured us around Nairobi.
  • We went to Kibera, a slum of 170,000+, and the second largest slum in all of Africa.
  • Just around the corner from Kibera are the neo-colonial polo fields where the wealthy play.
  • Steve said, "I'll take you to Karen." "Karen" is named after Karen Blixen, whom the movie "Out of Africa" was about. It was beautiful! As we pulled into the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden I called Linda - I was wishing she could be there with me!
  • Jacaranda trees, with their purple petals, are in full bloom all over Nairobi. As I sipped a cappucino in the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden purple petals were falling all around us.
  • We sat and drank coffee and talked with Steve and listened and greatly enjoyed the time. Al pulled out his GPS and said, "We're 7500 miles from Ann Arbor, 6100 feet above sea level, and 1 degree from the equator."
  • A pouring rain then fell.
  • We drove back towards our hotel. All the while Steve is pointing out things. He's more than your basic tour guide - he knows a lot about the socio-political-historical background and always brings it in, which is really helpful to me.
  • Went to the Nairobi version of Super Walmart - it was very big and very modern. Then we ate at another Java Joe's.
Tomorrow morning Cliff Msioki picks us up at the hotel at 9. I'll preach in Nairobi to his congregation - the three services will combine. Most of the people understand English, but Cliff will translate for me in Kiswahili since not all speak or understand English.

Then we'll have lunch, and Cliff will give us his tour of Nairobi.

I think I'll sleep well tonight. Already the jet lag is not nearly as bad as when I went to Bangkok a year ago.