Breathing in Nairobi
Trip Start Feb 04, 2007
15Trip End May 26, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
So far so good in Africa. To begin with the obvious, there's really no way to avoid the contrast of the western world to Africa......Nairobi, Kenya
Whether it be the shrieking readings from the Koran at 545am on a PA system,
or having a conversation in perfect English with a woman seeing nothing but white of her eyes due to the full body burka covering everything, including hands,
or having a bus drive by and all 50 pairs of eyes staring,
or the fact that catalytic converters are not required on cars, hence not being able to breath properly due to the blackened smoke coming out of every vehicle passing,
or exchanging a smile with a Nairobian and having their face transform from a grim face where the past is all too present in their eyes, to an ear to ear smile, making me laugh at the warmth,
or the fact that I feel like the only white person in Nairobi
or noticing all security guards wearing Houston Astra plastic helmets for protection...
everything is different.
I feel like every 30 seconds for the past three days and three nights, the same thought has come through my head...."I can't believe I'm in Africa."
The coolest experience I've had in these three days occurred yesterday at a forex (foreign exchange) office. As I sat in the office, waiting my turn, a young man from Sudan turned to me and introduced himself to me in flawless English. We discussed the difficulties of adjusting to the jet lag, as he arrived the same day I did from Calgary, Canada. Puzzled, I inquired further as to how the Canada, Sudan, Kenya connection worked out. Vaguely, John explained to me that he was from Sudan, lived in Canada, but was here in Nairobi visiting friends. Something didn't add up.
As I finished, I returned to the waiting area where we met, and he had gone in for his turn. Now, there were two Canadians, one with a video camera, the other asking around where his 'friend' was. I assumed he was looking for another gringo, and when John walked out from the kiosk, one of the white Canadians said "oh, there he is!"
Again, not understanding what was going on, I asked for some clarification. As it turns out, John, was one of the original "Lost Boys from Sudan" featured in the 2003 film "Lost Boys from Sudan" featuring the journey of a group of boys from Sudan, first to a refugee camp in Kenya, then to various western cities across the world, including Los Angeles, Calgary, Philadelphia and New York City. John was one of those boys. I couldn't believe it, and I've got the photo to prove it.
Tomorrow morning, I start my 31 day overland safari from Nairobi, to Johannesburg.