Terri (AKA Tee) is one of our many ‘extra’ kids we have in our family. We’ve known her since she was 4 years old, she is now 25. It was only a few weeks ago that she said she was coming here for 3 weeks, so we adjusted our calendar, planned some outings and finally got our guest room ready.
Until then the guest room was empty and we had always planned to furnish it, but didn’t have the funds for it. Just after we got the message that Tee was coming some New Zealand and Aussie friends gave us enough for a mattress and bed. When she arrived, another friend gave us the funds for some bedside tables. So now all we need is a BBQ, vacuum cleaner, solar backup and we are pretty much set up!
The great things about having visitors is that I get a chance to get out of the office. Not that I mind working with our team (they are the best) but endlessly looking at a computer screen gets just a bit much. So I’ve abandoned our team for the 3 weeks that Tee is here, keeping in touch online and going in only on Monday mornings. It means working at nights or sneaking in time like now when she is getting her hair braided – Kenyan style. We absolutely love having visitors and showing them that Africa is more than war, famine and poverty.
I always get amazed by what peoples reactions are to Kenya and everything it holds. Most are intrigued that we pretty much have all the modern amenities, that we drive in crazy traffic and don’t have a heart attack and how good the food is. I feel sorry for Tee because I told her that the weather had been cool, but by the time she got here it was quite warm. She came from 15 degrees in New Zealand to 25 – 27 degree heat. The other day I suggested we walk the 15 minutes to the mall – bad mistake. She has constantly reminded me and anyone we meet about how she nearly melted. Won’t be doing that one again.
The thing I love about Tee is her laugh it’s infectious. This is especially so when we’ve driven for hours and start quoting movies, Swahili practise and songs to suit the situation. That’s when we know we’re all tired and Tee’s laughs keep us going. She was only here for 2 days and we went to Kalambya in the Kitui District, around 3.5 hours from Nairobi. We left early in the morning and didn’t get back until after 9pm. It was to look at one of our new water projects but it was preceded by a 2 hour tour through a primary and secondary school. It was hot, dusty and I am sure we met everyone in the community. But, we had lots of fun along the way.
While we like to show people the touristy places we also like to show them another side of life in Kenya – where people live in poverty. We took Tee into the Kibera Slum where we were meant to take a food parcel to a needy family but their child ended up vomiting for hours and was rushed to hospital. Instead we visited some young men who are sponsored to attend school. Here we discovered that at one of their boarding schools they have to get up at 3.45am, every day! The boys were inquisitive about Tees tattoos, something happening more and more here. We also visited a school in Kibera where the little kids are so cute you want to take one home.
While you can go to some great places here, it is the people you meet who leave a lasting impression. There’s Mariam who gave us a Kenyan cooking lesson (Tee still doesn’t like ugali), Ayub and his family who came for dinner and Lucy who we took to dinner on our way back into Nairobi. Sure you can kiss a giraffe like Tee did (and who doesn’t!), feed a baby elephant or tour through a bead making factory. But it’s the incredible stories of joy and endurance that stay with you forever.
Tomorrow we take Tee to Nakuru with us to visit a school where we put down a deep bore well. It’s only a few hours drive from here but we are staying overnight at someones house so the next day we get up at 6am to go to the national park. That afternoon we’re also out on a boat to see the animals from a water perspective.
Both Tee and Pete are big coffee drinkers. They are about half the price of what Tee would pay in New Zealand so she’s happy to stop several times at the local coffee shop. This morning I had to steer her away from Dormans, which she has come to know really well.
However, I may have to take her there later for her caffeine fix!