Week 1 (cont.)
I had a very toned-down Christmas day. Probably the most toned-down of my entire life (not that I’m complaining). With my brother and his family, we went to Nairobi National Park. A few thousand other citizens and tourists had the same idea—there was quite a mass of cars and people trying to get in. The drive around the park was hot and dusty (after all, it was December at the equator), and we saw very many antelopes. The two warthogs we spotted were camera-shy: one disappeared in the tall grass, and the other under a culvert. One lone giraffe was kind enough to pose for us, as was a zebra (my niece remembers that giraffe very well; the rest was probably all a blur for her). And along the way, we adults taught each other the names of animals in other languages, my specialty being Italian, of course.
Back home, I got to hang out with my niece quite a lot, watching Teletubbies and other kiddie programmes. I still don’t understand how kids can watch the same thing 50 times and not get bored. The amazing human brain…
After one week in the capital, we packed up and headed to the countryside. On our way there, we drove through areas that were affected by the post-election violence almost exactly a year before. We saw a roadside memorial at the site where a Catholic priest was dragged out of his car and killed, simply because he belonged to the wrong tribe. We saw a number of burnt out shells of buildings, some standing next to intact structures. We drove past an IDP camp. I was saddened and angered at the sight of all that. Sad and angry that those responsible may never be brought to justice…
We reached our destination late in the evening. Seeing my parents again after over three years was wonderful. I’m sure the feeling was mutual :). I spent only a week with them, sadly. I wouldn’t have minded sticking around more, but I had things to do in the city. My week there was spent living a life bucolic—I fetched water from a well for the first time in my life, for example. I made friends with the dog (and her three puppies) and the cat. The chickens were scared of me for some reason. I didn’t bother with the goats— a mother and three offspring—they were big, had horns and knew how to use them.
During this time, we went to see my only surviving grandparent—my maternal grandmother. It was the first time she was meeting my niece, though I’m not sure either of them remember the encounter. We took lots of photos, so at least my niece will have to believe us. She also got to see photos of her dad as a youngster, and was surprisingly good at recognising him. My sister-in-law had a good chuckle looking at some of the more awkward shots.
(To be continued…)