I’ve been in Kenya for a little over a week now. So much has happened. I’m sure it’s just part of traveling and the time will start to fly when I get adjusted, but it’s been a long week. I’ve learned a lot of lessons and I’d like to share a couple right now.
Lesson 1: In Africa you have to be flexible
I’ve learned that plans change here rather quickly. Yesterday we were waiting for our shipment of stoves from Mombassa that were supposed to arrive on Thursday. They called and said they were coming when they were coming but they weren’t exactly sure when that would be. I got a call this morning (Saturday) at 7:00 saying they were here… Then yesterday my driver was taking me home yesterday when we ran out of gas. Apparently he is not in charge of putting gas in the car so he ignored the gas light until we ran out. We waited for an hour for another car to arrive before we continued on our way. All I can do is sit back and enjoy the ride though. I can’t take my American (or Japanese) standards of plans and time management into this place. I would only get frustrated and bitter and accomplish nothing. So, when I’m sitting in traffic for 2-4 hours a day, I just relax, talk to the driver (If he speaks English) and take in the sights of Nairobi.
Lesson 2: In Africa you learn to appreciate the little things
Yes I appreciate having enough money, and being able to eat well, and growing up with a lot of privilege. But the thing I appreciate most after spending a week in Nairobi is clean air. It’s really the simplest thing in the world but something that people don’t have. During my daily traffic routine, I come in contact with a LOT of air pollution. Because car regulations are a little different here and we always keep the windows down, we end up breathing it all in. It’s really bad when you see a big truck ahead of you billowing black smoke into the air and knowing it’s going straight to your lungs in about 2 seconds. Combine that with all the dust that’s kicked up from unpaved roads, and you have quite the respiratory cocktail. I subconsciously hold my breath half the time because the air is just gross. However, experiencing this does make me realize how important our work is in the developing world. Being able to breathe is a basic human right. A lot of people can’t because smoke is filling their house while cook. They need something that will substantially improve the quality of air they breathe and I believe that solution is efficient cook stoves.
Here’s a couple of pictures I’ve taken while I’ve been here.