I do not like having to start off my first post on a sad note, but circumstances dictate otherwise. There was a deadly explosion in Nairobi today. While the initial report that we heard blamed it on some sort of electrical problem, Kenya Power has ruled that it could not have been. The Prime Minister of Kenya, Odinga, has blamed the explosion on Somali terrorists. As of this writing, the explosion has not been officially ruled a terrorist attack and no group have taken credit. Please be in prayer for those who have lost loved ones today, those are injured, and for the nation of Kenya as they sort through the details of this tragedy.
It seems that I have, once again, let trouble find me. However, I am currently more than 30 miles away from Nairobi and was not directly impacted by the explosion in any way. I left Nairobi yesterday morning and drove by the place where the explosion happened. My group from Emory was schedule to return to Nairobi early next week, but I do not know if that will be possible. Either way, I’m fine.
Up until today, the trip had been relatively easy. All of my flights went smoothly. I easily met my ride at the airport. There were some small excitements. A child decided to kick the back of my seat for 8 straight hours on the flight from London to Nairobi. I had to break into my own luggage using a multi-tool and a doorstop. My hard case has a lock that can be opened by TSA. I never lock. TSA, when they inevitably searched by bag, did lock it. So, instead of catching up on sleep and recovering from jetlag, I sat on my hotel room floor at 11:00pm Kenya time and after an hour and much grunting, prying, and cursing, broke the lock (but not the latch). I do not normally do product placement, but if you are looking for secure luggage, I recommend Samsonite, “The Luggage so Secure, You Can’t Open it”.
Beyond that, it was smooth sailing. My initial persecution is mixed. Nairobi and the surrounding area is a strange mixture of European advertising, modernish building surrounded by compounds, and tin shacks lining the rode. I am currently staying at a conference center and participating in a seminar at St. Paul’s University, which is adjacent. The classroom that we work in is fairly basic, and out the classroom window, there is a tea plantation. However, the students and faculty from Kenya that we are working with are all in perfectly pressed dress clothes that would not look out of place on the streets of Washington, DC. The discourse is on the same level as one would find in most US universities. I’m the one in Converse and jeans. I am not surprised to see a modern side to Kenya. The stereotypical primitive Africa has long faded into the pages of myth and history. What I find jarring is the contrast. In one turn of my head, I can take in a modern university and a traditional plantation, a global bank and a beggar, a tin shack and a Range Rover.
I’m sorry that it has taken me so long to get this blog functional. However, expect another post tomorrow talking more about the work that I’m doing here in Limuru.
Mungu (God) akubariki (bless you),
P.S. There is a monkey being chased by a cat in my hallway.