Saturday, May 28, 2011

Master of the market

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Last day in Africa? Could that be? It doesn’t quite seem possible. Although, at the same time, it feels forever since I crammed in my finals before boarding a plane nearly a month ago. What an incredible experience this has been, I can’t quite describe how I feel about it, other than I am incredibly lucky to have been able to live it! Before I get too deep into my gratefulness of this experience, let me tell you about our very last day in Kenya.

This morning, as I mentioned yesterday, the Church Army hosted a children’s program in the middle of Gettina (one of the 60 some slums in Nairobi alone) at a place called the “Light and Power Center.” It made me miss the CYEC and the kids there very much. This center had a similar idea, but was totally different. We met the Christian mission group Dave has been working with for the past two weeks. They all seemed very nice and had prepared various activities for the kids. These included a puppet show of David and Goliath as well as a skit portraying Daniel and the Lion’s Den. They were very creative. Staff members of the center played various games with the children, which of course we participated in. I wish the staff/older students at the CYEC would play games like this for even an hour or so on the weekends. The kids would absolutely love it! Following the games, puppet show, and skit, some professional dancers arrived with their full set of bongo drums. It was so fun to watch and the music was quite catchy. At points they had everyone up and dancing, it was lots of fun. Lastly, each child was provided with a cup full of Kenyan porridge before they headed back out to their homes or residences elsewhere in the slum. It was a great morning and I’m glad we went to participate!

We took our first matatu in Nairobi downtown to meet up with two of Andi’s brother’s close friends, Lillian and Suzette, to brave Masai (sp?) Market. We first stopped to grab a quick bite to keep us going. First, let me preface our market experience by saying it was not nearly as traumatic as some had made it out to be. To me, it seemed extraordinarily tame and totally manageable… aside from the slightly overwhelming size of the selection. Hardly anyone followed us around or really called for us. Mostly, the art was in bargaining. Apparently, I have the gift. Lillian thought I was hysterical and couldn’t get over my bargaining tactics. She said I am a Kenyan. Just call me Muthoni ;). Needless to say, we killed it at the market and got some great deals. It was more fun than stressful and I’m so happy we went! We were each able to buy a few things to remind us of our trip to Kenya… mission accomplished.

Finding ourselves hungry yet again, Lillian and Suzette took us to Andi’s brother’s favorite restaurant called The Big Chicken Inn. It was essentially fried chicken and fries. Healthy? No, but greasy and delish! As the sun set and Nairobi transitioned into a Saturday night, Suzette kindly offered to accompany us on the matatu back to Dave and Lucy’s place on the other side of town. Thankfully she did, as we experienced some travel complications along the way. All is well, we just ended up having to exit our initial matatu to navigate through some questionable areas of Nairobi to locate another transport. I was not afraid, but I did find myself rehearsing my plan of action should I get into any trouble. It was full proof – no way was anyone going to mess with all 5’4” of me! They would have been in major trouble. Lucky for them, I never had to whip out my master plan ;).

So, safe and sound at Dave and Lucy’s… all packed and ready to head to the airport early in the morning, we head to bed for the last time in Kenya. What an unreal experience this has been. I find myself unsure as to whether or not it actually happened the way everything worked out so beautifully. What an incredibly lucky girl I am. Lala salama Nairobi. See you tomorrow, NYC!

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